Chantelle Houghton: 'I lost nearly 2.5 stone because people thought I was pregnant'
Chantelle Houghton has spoken candidly about how she lost nearly 2.5 stone (nearly 16kg) after being stopped in the street and incorrectly congratulated on being pregnant.
The former Celebrity Big Brother star, 38, describes this as the "turning point" for getting healthier and becoming more confident.
While she looks beautiful in both, the mum-of-one shared her before and after progress pictures on Instagram, wearing a blue sports bra and leggings, and one in a teal dress.
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"It's one of the best things I've ever done, the turning point for me starting this journey was being stopped in the street and congratulated on being pregnant," her caption reads.
"This journey has had a huge impact on my self-confidence and given me a spring in my step! I feel healthy and no longer feel lethargic and sluggish."
But it wasn't all plain sailing. “The questions of, ‘Are you pregnant?’ and ‘When is your baby due?’ have stopped now," she told OK! magazine in an interview. However, she adds, "It’s demoralising and hurtful when you’re congratulated on a pregnancy that’s not happening and it’s just fat."
"When I put on weight, it all goes to my tummy – and I'd put on three stone," Houghton explains.
It's important to to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all and receiving negative comments about the way you look doesn't mean you have to change anything, unless you want to for your own personal reasons, in a healthy way.
Separately to weight, bloating is also very common, with many women experiencing it. Symptoms may include your tummy feeling full or bigger than usual, tummy pain or discomfort, a rumbling or noisy tummy and passing wind more than usual.
The most common reason is having a lot of gas in your gut, which can be caused by some food and drinks, like vegetables and fizzy drinks. Or it can be caused by problems with your digestion, or in rarer cases ovarian cancer. See a GP if your bloating persists or you experience other symptoms with it.
Ways to reduce bloating include exercise, chewing with your mouth closed to avoid swallowing air, drinking plenty of water, eating foods high in fibre, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and massaging your stomach from right to left.
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"I actually weighed myself in Boots and my [body mass index] BMI showed I wasn’t a healthy weight," says Houghton, describing the moment she decided to make a change. "I literally said to my friend, ‘Oh my God, I’m obese.’”
Calculating your BMI can help you find out if you are a healthy weight for your height, however it's also important to remember there are limitations of the BMI, as it cannot tell the difference between excess fat, muscle or bone.
Other than pregnancy assumptions, Houghton also told the magazine she was always getting negative comments about her weight. "People would say horrible things like, 'She's a beast', but then at the same time I kind of agreed with them.
"My waist was 38 inches and it was as big as my bust. I felt vile and disgusting."
Body shaming can have a big impact on the way you feel mentally about yourself, when there isn't one type of 'fit and healthy'. It can be good to talk to someone you trust or a professional about this.
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After going on the Goal Getters plan and enjoying MuscleFood meals, Houghton has gone from a size 16 to a size 10 and has lost 10 inches from her waist.
Houghton says she is now having "proper meals" like Pad Thai noodles and mushroom ragu.
“There have been times previously where I’ve lost weight, but this time I do feel the best I’ve ever felt in my body. I feel absolutely amazing,” she says.
Houghton echoed this in her Instagram post with, "My confidence has gone through the roof, I have bought a whole new wardrobe of clothes and feel fantastic."
Many fans flocked to show their support. "Stunning at both sizes but well done!!!" wrote one, while others said she looked "amazing" and "beautiful".
Watch: Rumer Willis responds to body shamers accusing her of appearing 'too skinny'