This Morning's Allison Hammond on her new health and fitness 'journey'
This Morning presenter Alison Hammond talks to Liz Connor about body confidence, the joy of feeling strong and how her outlook on fitness has changed.
SHE'S the reality star who rose to fame on Big Brother in the early-2000s, and since then, Alison Hammond has become one of daytime TV's the best-loved presenters.
Known for her hilarious interviews and on-screen gaffes, Hammond has the ability to reduce even the biggest A-listers into fits of laughter.
It's no secret that she's battled with weight struggles though, which she's touched upon when taking part in programmes like ITV's Sugar Free Farm in 2017.
Now 44, and a mum to teenage son Aiden, Birmingham-born Hammond says she's finally reached a place of positivity. She's working out regularly and eating healthily to feel strong in her mind and body, rather than to simply lose weight - and she feels great.
Here, the TV favourite tells us all about her new health and fitness routine, and the effect it's had on her wellbeing...
:: On working out to feel happy
"I've been going to the gym since October, and I look at the mirror and I think I look exactly the same, but the way I feel is unbelievable – I'm getting addicted to it!
"Ultimately, making changes to your lifestyle is about your wellbeing. I'd rather be fat and happy, than fat and miserable. At the moment, I am still fat on the outside but in my head – mentally – I'm happy."
Hammond joined her local WW (formerly Weight Watchers) last year and attributes her newfound confidence to the programme, which helps people set personalised fitness and nutrition goals, while staying accountable with weekly weigh-in meetings. She's now an ambassador for the brand, hoping to inspire others to take the first step in prioritising their health.
"Now I get up and do circuits every morning with my personal trainer. I'm a morning person, so I like to do an hour with him and then it's out of the way. For the rest of the day, I'm pretty busy, but I might go for a walk and use the WW app; I can put my headphones in, listen to some tunes and walk.
"I also do boxing with my personal trainer and I love it. After Strictly Come Dancing [Hammond took part in the 2014 series], I haven't kept up my dancing, but I love Zumba classes. This is a new me."
:: On not 'banning' foods
Although she's tried dieting in the past, Hammond says she's stopped restricting herself from enjoying the foods she loves, but now likes to make 'healthy' versions that won't leave her feeling guilty.
"There is no diet mentality with WW, and to me, that was the main reason it appealed to me, because I don't want to cut anything out. I want to be able to have a Chinese and I want be able to have an Indian – it's just the way I make it now which is a bit smarter.
"When you start to make smart choices, the food tastes exactly as it is supposed to taste, but you're not piling things that you don't really need in your body.
"I think before, I wasn't even chewing my food properly, but now I'm completely savouring it."
:: On avoiding 'before and after' photos
Although she's on a weight-loss journey, Hammond says she's isn't tracking her progress with mirror selfies on her smartphone.
"To be honest, there are already millions of photos already out there of me – just Google 'Alison Hammond' and you'll see them. I'm not being superficial; I'm not one of those gym bodies that does the poses and stuff at the gym. That's not me. I'm more about asking, 'How do my clothes feel today?', and checking if my clothes are looking good and I'm feeling great. It's more about that for me."
:: On wishing she was an Instagram yogi
Although she doesn't follow celebrities or influencers for fitness inspiration, there is one tribe of Instagrammers that keeps Hammond scrolling.
"I don't really follow fitness people on Instagram, but I really like looking at all of the amazing people who do yoga. I would love to be able to bend into some of the positions you see them in.
"I do love a bit of yoga, but I'm not at the place where I can call myself a 'yogi' yet."
:: On feeling confident in her own skin
Hammond says that although she's struggled with her confidence in the past, she's now at a point where she's thankful of all the amazing things her body allows her to do.
"I think you have to love your body because, ultimately, that's all you've got. I've had a baby, I've had my own career, I hold an established home... My body is incredible – I've been going up the stairs, I've been running down the road, I've got to the gym, I feel great – even with very heavy weight.
"Ultimately, I know that being a big girl is something that, as you get older, means that things could happen. My mum has diabetes, and I don't want to go down that path. I want to live a bit longer. I want to die in a healthy and nice way, so I know that this is an important thing to do for me.
She stresses she's not on this health-kick to please anyone else though.
"I don't care what other people think about my body. It's what I care about and what I feel. [As a TV presenter] There is a particular pressure because you're being watched at all times. You have to behave well and people are looking up to you. That is another reason why I want to do something that is true to me and something that I genuinely believe in.
"This health journey is really important. I don't want to do a fad diet, I don't want to do something that's a lie.
"I know my mindset is now healthy. I just need to bring my body up to where my mind is."
:: Visit ww.com/uk