In an exclusive interview with Now, Chanelle Hayes admits she may be unhealthy but she’s finally happy
She’s known as the queen of the yo-yo diets but now, Chanelle Hayes is convinced those days are in the past. Admitting she’s done lasting damage to her body after going from 14st to a <tiny> 7st and then up again – it’s clear Chanelle, 32, feels she is done with fighting her body demons. After finding love with boyfriend Ryan, the former Big Brother star reveals she’s finally found her happy place: size 16 and proud.
Now: How do you feel in yourself right now?
Chanelle: I’m 100 per cent confident in my own skin. I’ve never felt happier than I am now. The change for me is that I don’t have the pressure to stay slim all the time. Before I’d be posing for lads mags so would always need to be in shape. Now things are more chilled, it’s so refreshing for me. I don’t have to panic about having a shoot in two weeks because it doesn’t matter if I’m not super slim. I’ve embraced who I am and I’m finally happy.
You’re a renowned yo-yo dieter – how has that affected your body?
My doctor told me I’d done lasting damage. There’s nothing I can do to change that not. It’s not good for my body. My hair is so thin and horrendous from all the lack of nutrients, I’ve got like five real hairs left. When I was excessively dieting it got thinner and it’s never recovered from that. My nails are in a bad way too – I have to have false ones put on because they just bend, they’re so weak and flaky.
Has it affected the way in which your body functions now?
People should know yo-yo dieting is so, so bad for you. When I was slim if I just ate a bag of sweets or say a bag of chips I would straight away put 5lbs on because my body was so messed up. I find that because I’ve been on such extreme diets in the past, if I try to lose weight my body won’t react in the same way, it’s such a slower process now because I’ve totally messed up my metabolism.
Was there a reason your weight fluctuated so much before?
I got big before and I hated it because I was unhappy in my relationship and my life. So I lost loads of weight, thinking it would make me happier but it didn’t – I was thinner but still unhappy.
What do you do know that’s different from before?
I was eating a really unhealthy diet, now I’m eating in moderation but not exercising to excess or taking fat burning tablets. I’m not being extreme anymore, I’m just being a normal woman.
Would it bother you if you gained more weight?
No, I don’t think it would – I’m honestly I’m happy as I am. I don’t care if I gain weight and am a size 18-20. I don’t care if I lose weight. Right now I don’t have any plans to be massive or to be stick thin again – I’m a happy size 16, enjoying everything at the moment. My weight doesn’t affect my relationships, my job, it really is completely irrelevant.
How often do you work out?
I work out three times a week for 40 minutes – I do a mixture of HIT intervals and weights. I do much more exercise than plenty of other people. It’s so ignorant when people look at me and don’t think I exercise. What do they think I do? Walk for a doughnut? It’s so frustrating.
Has your diet changed much?
I eat whatever I want now. There is nothing that is a treat – if I want it I’ll have it. My doctor just told me to keep on having everything in moderation to keep exercising like I am. My old diet was disgusting – chicken, avocado, broccoli and nothing else. I hate chicken now apart from Nandos – I love Nandos. Really, my meals vary day to day. Today I only had a cup-a-soup and a coffee because I was so busy at work. On other days it’ll be toast for breakfast, sandwiches and cake for lunch and something like chilli for dinner. I don’t deprive myself.
You’ve said before you’d like to be a plus sized model, is this something you’re looking into?
I would love to get into designing a plus size range. All the plus sized clothes are so baggy they just don’t flatter my figure. I like to wear tight clothing because it shows my shape off more. The ranges out there now always seem to cover something and I’m like why? Just because you’re bigger doesn’t mean you can’t wear body hugging clothing or things that flatter smaller waists. It’s something I really want to do but it’s not come to fruition yet.