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среда, 22 февраля 2017 г.

'Now, life is FABULOUS' And for these four women, we helped change their lives...

Over the past 100 issues we’ve featured some incredible stories.  
New body, new man, new life!
"I saw the photo and felt sick"

After losing almost 4st on a Fabulous diet, The Apprentice star Claire Young, 31, has found love.
"Wherever I go, whether it's a swanky London wine bar or a supermarket in my hometown of Wakefield, people always ask me the same two questions: 'What was The Apprentice like?' and 'How did you lose so much weight?'
The answer to both questions is sheer hard work. But the difference is that the second would never have happened without the help of Fabulous.
And shedding nearly 4st has not only changed my life, it's probably saved it, too. I know now that I was morbidly obese.
Until May 2008, I'd convinced myself I was just curvy. Who was I trying to kid? That month I was photographed on holiday in a bikini. When I saw the picture I felt sick.
I had huge wobbly thighs, a big belly, a huge bum and flabby arms. I was fat.
At 13st 7b and 5ft 6in, I needed to lose at least 3st. But having tried and failed at diets in the past, I knew I couldn't do it alone. So I turned to Fabulous for help. Soon I had a personal trainer, and was given a healthy-eating plan to stop me bingeing on cocktails and Krispy Kremes.
It was tough going. And sometimes I did almost give in to temptation. But 16 months on, I'm a svelte size 10 and weigh 9st 12lb. I'm so proud! I'm the same size as when I was an 18-year-old holiday rep. I feel like my old self - happy and healthy.
I've always been outgoing - being fat didn't affect my personality. But when I lost the weight I realised how much it had been affecting my life.
I couldn't run for a bus without getting breathless, I was always bursting out of my clothes and if I ever went to a posh event it was a nightmare finding something to cover my chubby arms. Now I can slip on any dress I like, know I look good and head out the door.
Discovering my weight could lead to health problems was a real eye-opener, and gave me added incentive to succeed. I come from a high-risk family - my mum Cheryl, 58, has diabetes and my dad, Richard, 62, has suffered two heart attacks - so it was even more important for me to lose weight.
And now I have so much energy, too. After The Apprentice I started my own wedding-planning business, and often work seven days a week, getting up at 6am and going to bed at 11pm. There's no way I could cope with those hours carrying an extra 4st.
Claire and boyfriend Stephen keep fit together
It seems that men love my new figure too, as they pay me much more attention these days! At events and conferences they come up to me with their business cards, pressing them into my hand, saying: 'Call me' But I don't, as I am totally loved-up with my boyfriend of four months, Stephen Kilby, a 28-year-old farmer. We met in a bar in Leeds and he didn't have a clue who I was. One of the best things about him is that he's really health-conscious, so it's easier to stick to healthy eating with him, as he's not the type to want to slump on the sofa with a takeaway.
We go running together, and when I'm not with him, I try to exercise at least four times a week by going to a step class, power walking or jogging. I'm even going to do the London Marathon next year! I'm really looking forward to it.
Next on the list is a boob job as my bust is the only downside of my weight loss. I've gone from a 36C to a 32C and although they're still a good cup size, it's like they've lost their stuffing - not a good look!
Every week I get 10-20 emails asking how I lost weight. It's amazing to think I'm inspiring other women to slim down. I tell them it's hard work, but worth it - I'm proof of that.
The truth is, now I've lost weight I feel like I have my life back. And that wouldn't have happened without Fabulous."
Sarah's feeling confident after fighting cancer
Sarah Curtis, 27, a building society accounts assistant from Orsett, Essex, was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus in January 2009. She appeared in Fabulous after taking part in a beauty workshop for cancer victims.
"Appearing in Fabulous, without any hair or make-up, was a very important part of my battle against cancer.
When you're diagnosed, you're told about the physical effects the treatment will have on you, like nausea and sickness, but no one can prepare you for the loss of confidence you experience when you look in the mirror and your appearance is totally different.
When I was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus in January 2009, I'd just become pregnant for the first time. My husband Michael, 28, and I were so excited at the thought of becoming parents. But our happiness was short-lived. I started bleeding at seven weeks and doctors told me I had a molar pregnancy, which means the placenta develops abnormally into lots of fluid-filled cysts. I was ¿told that neither the foetus nor the placenta would be able to develop normally, and that I would have to have an emergency termination.
Chemo caused Sarah to lose her hair
We were still struggling to deal with the grief when I was told that I had cancer. Around eight per cent of the 1,800 molar pregnancies in the UK each year are cancerous.
During chemotherapy, I lost 1st in weight, dropping to 6st 6lb, and my beautiful long brown hair fell out. At first, I wore a wig, but when my eyebrows and lashes fell out there didn't seem to be any point. I couldn't hide the fact I was a cancer victim. But I hated looking in the mirror - I looked so ugly, and I was paranoid about people staring at me.
I heard about the Look Good Feel Better workshops, which are organised by volunteer beauticians and teach women how make-up can be used to cover up the damage caused by cancer treatment. Desperate to get a little bit of the old me back again, I decided to go along.
The pictures in Fabulous showed me with and without my wig and make-up. Finding the courage to show the world what I looked like after losing my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes gave me a massive lift. And being taught how to apply make-up to give the illusion of eyebrows and lashes and then being pictured with a gorgeous wig on made me realise I can still look beautiful. I don't have to look like a cancer victim.
Loads of people saw me in Fabulous and told me how lovely I looked. All the compliments have been fantastic. I did it because I wanted other women to see that cancer doesn't have to rob you of your femininity.
A make-up lesson helped Sarah reclaim her femininity
It also helped my family and friends understand what I've been going through. I don't think they quite realised how low I'd been feeling about myself.
I've finished chemo now and gone back to work part-time. I wasn't worried about how I looked, because of the confidence boost I got from being in Fabulous."
  • For more information on Look Good Feel Better workshops around the country, or to order a Confidence Kit if you are unable to attend workshops, log on to
Debbie and Rhys were reunited through Fabulous
Our Cupid's arrow hit the mark when we paired single dad Rhys Williams, 38, a project manager from Luton, up with Fabulous reader Debbie Robinson, 37, a sales executive. One year on and they're still going strong.
Debbie says: "This time last year I was happily single. I wasn't really interested in sharing my life with someone.
Now I'm not just madly in love, I've also moved in with my new man and become an instant mum to a four year old. Sometimes I have to convince myself it's not all a dream!
It was one Sunday last February when I was flicking through Fabulous that I suddenly spotted Rhys' face beaming out at me. I almost choked on my wine!
We'd known each other as teenagers growing up in Luton. He'd asked me out lots of times - but I thought he was too cocky and turned him down. Now, here he was 20 years later, in a Date My Dad competition for single fathers.
Debbie loves being an "instant mum" to Ruby
Although we both still lived in Luton, we'd lost touch. I had no idea he'd got married and lost his wife, Ginny, to breast cancer in 2007 - when she was just 46.
He was raising his daughter Ruby alone and came across as a lovely, caring man. And he was absolutely gorgeous!
I got divorced in 2003 after nine years of marriage, and find it difficult to let my guard down. I never make the first move, so I really don't know what came over me. Maybe it was the wine. But before I knew it, I'd applied to date him.
I never dreamt he would pick me. But he did! Fabulous arranged a meal for us at a local restaurant. My hands were shaking as I put on my favourite dress that evening. But as soon as I walked into the restaurant and saw Rhys, my nerves vanished. The night flew by as we talked about our lives and the past 20 years. We met up again a few days later, and since then we've been inseparable.
In July last year, just five months after we started dating, I moved in with Rhys and Ruby. We were spending every night at my house or his, so it felt like the natural next step. I was a bit nervous, but I've settled in well and we've decorated the house together. I feel like it's our home now.
The Single Dads feature in Fabulous
I pick up Ruby from school every day and we have our tea together, then make necklaces and read stories. She calls me 'Fairy Debbie'. It's surreal to go from being a single woman to an instant mum, but I'm loving it. It feels like we've been together for a lot longer than 10 months, we're so settled and happy.
Rhys and I are off to Madrid next month for a romantic few days by ourselves to celebrate our one-year anniversary and Valentine's Day. I can't wait!" Rhys says: "When I entered Fabulous' competition I could never have anticipated the whirlwind year I've just had.
Picking Debbie from all the applications I received was the best decision I've ever made. I wanted to show her how much I'd changed from the Jack The Lad she once knew, and after all the years spent apart, she was worth the wait.
After my wife Ginny died, life was about surviving one day to the next. It taught me to seize every chance at happiness and that's what I've done with Debbie. We've had an amazing year and I'm looking forward to our future together."
Vicky after her Fabulous 'make-under'
Vicky James, 22, is a single mum from Wakefield. We challenged the make-up junkie to ditch her extensions and dare to go bare.
"When I look at old pictures of myself, I find it hard to believe it's really me. The trashy extensions, the thick foundation, the skimpy outfits... it's like staring at a stranger.
Boyfriend Paul loves Vicky's natural look
These days, I keep make-up to a minimum. And as for those extensions - they're long gone, and I now wear my hair in a chic, blonde bob.
Before I had my Fabulous 'make-under' last February, friends had told me I looked trashy and scared people off, but I didn't believe them. They'd point out that no man had looked twice at me for years, and other mums avoided me when I dropped my son, Elliot, three, off at nursery.
I arrived at the Fabulous shoot and the make-up artist began cleaning off my inch-thick foundation. I was horrified and could hardly bare to look at myself.
Vicky before the make-under
Then the magazine hit the shelves - family and friends raved about the natural me. They kept telling me how beautiful I looked without make-up. And as I studied the pictures, I began to believe them. That day I wiped it all off, promising myself I'd never trowel it on like that again. My extensions went in the bin.
It inspired me to revamp my wardrobe, too. I used to show off as much flesh as possible. I thought that's what men liked. And some men do, but not the kind I want to date. Now I wear more classic pieces.
Six months later, I met Paul, 27, a kitchen fitter, in a bar on a night out with friends. We got chatting and we've been together ever since.
I've shown him old pictures and he thinks my transformation is amazing. He's even admitted he wouldn't have glanced twice at me if I still looked the same way.
What's really great is that Elliot loves Paul being around. Before the make-under the few men I did attract couldn't have cared less about my son, but Paul absolutely adores him.
Another bonus is the money I've saved. I was easily spending at least £200 a month on my appearance before. Now I've been able to put that money in the bank, Paul and I are treating ourselves to a holiday to Egypt.
But the biggest difference is my confidence. I thought make-up gave me that. But I've got bags more self-esteem now I've learned to love what was underneath all that slap. And people take me more seriously, too. I was even asked to help out as a classroom assistant, which was amazing.

The last year has been an incredible time for me. Since that shoot, everything has changed for the better."

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