There's no denying that she looks incredible, but the road to health happiness hasn't been an easy one for Josie. And unfortunately she isn't the only person who has succumbed to yo-yo diets in the past. According to recent statistics, a staggering 90% of British women diet at some point in their lives. But with the average diet lasting just five and a half weeks, and the average woman embarking on 61 diets in her lifetime (that's around 31 years of your life trying unsuccessfully to lose weight!), it's clear we're doing something wrong, and Josie for one is determined to make sure fad diets are kicked to the curb.
We caught up with the slimmed-down star to find out her diet secrets, her food weaknesses and her tips for successful weight loss that will last!
1. When you came out of the Big Brother house, what was it that made you decide to lose weight then?I've been big ever since I was six but I think what really opened my eyes is when I got with John James in the Big Brother house, because no-one believed that we were real. I was like ‘Why doesn't anyone believe that we're real?' and he'd say ‘Cause you're a big girl!' He'd say ‘You'd be so much better off if you lost the weight'. It really opened my eyes to it when people don't think your relationship's real because of your size.
2. Do you wish you'd done something about your weight sooner?
One part of me is so peed off that I spent so much of my life big and that it's taken all my best years away, but the other side of me is thinking ‘Well actually, I'm glad I was big because it's made me the person I am.' And I'm not being funny, but sometimes you meet girls who are thin and attractive but they haven't got a personality have they? I think cause I've been big I've always had to rely on a good personality!
'It's like someone's given me a brand new body and gone "here you go love, enjoy yourself"'
3. How much weight have you lost since then?When I started my weight loss journey I lost about three stone, and then I broke my ankle and put it all back on! And then I had to lose it again so if you work it all out I've lost stone! That's a child isn't it?
goodtoknow: That's a big child!
Josie: That's me when I was like two!
4. You look incredible! But do you feel better in yourself and fitter too?I feel like a brand new person. It's like someone's given me a brand new body and gone ‘here you go love, enjoy yourself'. I feel like it's just totally changed everything. The way I am about myself, I never had any confidence. It's not just the weight loss, it's not just being healthy - I've just signed up for Tough Mudder, imagine being able to do that!? I used to think people that did stuff like that were freaks of nature and now I'm one of those freaks of nature!
5. How has life changed for you since you lost the weight?
It's amazing, but I wish I'd done it earlier. Just being able to walk into a normal shop and buy things. I went shopping with my friend the other day and she's still quite big, and I said to her ‘Ooh can we go in there?' and she went ‘Oh there's the shop that makes big girls feel really fat - there's nothing in there that fits me' and I thought I can remember those days of going in a shop like that and it would make me want to cry. I used to walk into a shop and burst into tears. It was horrible! I would bring it up in every conversation, like if I'd just met somebody I'd say ‘Oh you know I'm going to go on a diet!' and always crack a joke about it when inside, I wish I'd just done it and sorted it out.
"People need to be educated on how to eat, not eating all these shakes and counting all these calories."
6. Why do you think quick fix yo-yo fad diets are so popular?
Urgh I hate it, it really winds me up. There are certain diets that I think are so unhealthy and if people look at what they're actually eating it's unnatural. And it's a waste of money, do you know how much fruit and veg £40 a week will get you? Loads! Go up the market! I have my new book the Josie Gibson Diet Book but do you know what, I wish I'd called it the Josie Gibson Lifestyle Change (but diets were the most searched for word in Google so I had to call it that!).
There are some diets out there that are good but the majority of them out there are just a fad.
7. Have you tried any fad diets?All of them, I've tried all of them. I don't think there's a diet that I haven't tried, apart from this 5:2 Diet - I haven't done that. I eat little and often but what I don't agree with is when you go into this starvation mode, like what the hell are you doing? Any diet that makes your hair fall out, makes you lethargic, tells you not to go and train at the gym because you won't have the energy, makes your skin bad, gives you digestion problems is no good for you! People need to be educated on how to eat, not eating all these shakes and counting all these calories.
8. Why do you think people turn to fad diets over sensible healthy eating plans?
The thing is people have got their priorities all wrong. When people come to me and train, I ask them what their priorities are. Is it your family? Is it your work? Is it diet? Is it exercise? And diet's always at the end. I say ‘Why is your diet at the end?' Because if your diet isn't your number one priority then you haven't got the energy to do all of the other stuff on your list - you've got mood swings and can't look after the kids properly, it's got a knock on effect. So diet should be number one. But it took me a long time to realise that! Only 27 years!
"They will never ever understand what it's like to be overweight and struggle with your body"
9. Do you think it's important to track your weight loss as you go?Every day. And people say ‘Oh no you shouldn't weigh yourself every day' but to me it was a mental thing. And I got pound weighers as well, because a pound is a lot. If you stand on the scales in the morning and you think to yourself ‘Right I'm this weight now, I don't want to be heavier tomorrow so I'm going to put good food inside my body today.' And what I always do is put my mirror in front of my scales in my bathroom so I can see the results for myself!
10. What are your weaknesses when it comes to food?You know when you go past those amazing cake shops with all the incredible cakes in the window? We have one in Bristol and I have to go past with blinkers on! Cakes, yes. I do like carbs, that's my problem.
11. What does your daily diet look like now?I eat loads! I probably eat more now than I did when I was fat! I split my food up into three categories. I've got the really bad foods which I call red foods, like sugary processed horrible fats, then amber foods like sweet potato, root vegetables, wholemeal pasta, everything gluten-free, and then green foods which is all stuff I can eat as much as I want of, so loads of fruit and veg. Then I make sure I have one of my amber foods every day, the rest green, and then I'll have one red ‘cheat' meal once a week.
So today I've had porridge this morning - that'll be from my amber foods - and then I know the rest of the day I'll have to have green so fruit, veg, meat and stuff, which I eat as much as I want of.
Try our Berry Blast Porridge - yum!
12. What do you struggle with when it comes to your diet?
Sometimes I have to watch myself with my portion control, I have to think to myself, ‘Do I really need all that?'
I'm one of those people that wants what someone else has got, so I'm always asking ‘Oh can I try a bit of that?' and sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it and I start picking at people's plates! They have to tell me to get off their food, ha! What bugs me the most is when their meal comes out and it's nicer than yours, I HATE that.
13. You're a personal trainer now, do you think the fact that you've been there done that will help you to help others?
I've had personal trainers in the past that ask you to do stuff, and I look at them and think ‘You're telling me to do stuff and I can tell you're looking down your nose at me, watching me as I get puffed out after five minutes' but they will never ever understand what it's like to be overweight and struggle with your body. Most personal trainers, they're born athletes aren't they, whereas I still have to work hard now to remain normal size. I think I can relate to people that have got weight problems.
"Don't do them naked, cause when my partner walked in once, well, it's not a pretty sight apparently!"
14. What would you suggest for people who feel like they just don't have the time or money to exercise?It's sounds like I'm trying to plug my dvd here, but the dvds are so brilliant! I know so many people who have lost so much weight on them. Or you can just build up circuits at home. You don't need any equipment to do a workout, you can just build a circuit in your living room using chairs. Use your own body weight - I think it gives you a better shape when you do that. What I used to do is if I'm just about to watch a film or get in the shower I just do 20 squats and then by the end of the day you realise you've done about 100 squats!
Although don't do them naked, cause when my partner walked in once, well, it's not a pretty sight apparently!
15. What advice would you give to others trying to break the yo-yo diet habit?I think sometimes it becomes a bit of a hobby for people doesn't it! ‘Ooh I tried this diet, I tried that diet!' But I'd try to stop following this fad diet dream because you need a diet that you can sustain. And all these fad diets that you just have shakes, or you're counting numbers all the time, you're not going to sustain that. It needs to be part of your life, it needs to be something you know you can go on with.
I wouldn't have bad food in my cupboards, and people say it's so expensive to eat well - no it's not. It's cheaper. Go to the butchers, the fruit and veg shop, it's cheaper. It's about not being frightened of food, embrace it, it's nutritious and we need those nutrients.
16. So what's next for you Josie?Well carry on with my fitness! What I would like to do is open up boot camps for people that wouldn't normally go to boot camps, so people that are really overweight. When I was overweight the thought of a boot camp terrified me so I would like to do that and show them that it's not too late, it's never too late. I thought it was too late, and look at me now!
Well Josie, we think you look amazing, good luck!
Josie Gibson Get Slim Stay Slim is available from all bookstores, Amazon and ASDA.
Where to next?
-We round up the best fitness DVDs so you can get fit at home!
-10 ways to reduce your cholesterol today
-How to reduce (and eventually give up!) sugar in your diet