Carol Ubaldi lost four stone with Bodychef and went on ITV’s This Time Next Year to tell her story to Davina McCall.*
Before the show aired, we caught up with Carol to see how she’s getting on, to find out how she feels about being on TV and to learn where she’s going next…
We started with the show itself. Carol’s not nervous at all about sharing her story with so many people. She says she did it for her and that the cameras themselves were just another incentive. ‘You’re on national television making a statement,’ she says. ‘You owe it to yourself then. Because you care about you. You’ve got some level of dignity.’
That said, Carol did have stipulations, telling us: ‘I wasn’t going to be turned around on a plinth in flesh coloured underwear!’ She’s lucky This Time Next Year isn’t one of those shows, and is glad to have escaped without baring all.
Carol’s weight loss journey started during a pre-op check for a routine knee operation. She was more than seventeen stone and her sky-high blood pressure got her admitted to hospital on the spot. ‘They did an E.C.G. on me because they thought I was having a stroke,’ Carol says. It was at this point that she wondered where her limits might be; wondered what would have to happen, if not this, before she addressed her weight and its associated health problems.
Bodychef helped Carol get herself back down to thirteen stone. And with that physical change she’s seen a real difference to her wellbeing. ‘I certainly didn’t feel normal at all,’ she says of herself before. ‘You feel like people are pointing at you.’
And now that Carol’s got control of her health again, she says she knows people never pointed really but that’s not the point. ‘It’s all about perception. If you perceive that to be happening it doesn’t really matter if it’s happening or not.’
I acknowledge the fact that I will always struggle with my weight. It will be a constant battle for the rest of my life. It’s a bit like being an alcoholic…
Beyond her diet, Carol’s made specific changes to the way she eats. Like many of us, she’s vulnerable when over-worked and says she now makes sure ‘to do other things when I’m stressed.’ Rather than reaching for a packet of crisps, Carol’s now careful to pamper herself, splashing out on fancy candles and expensive skin-care products. She’s managed to filled the space that food took up and says, ‘I treat myself to a lot more facials than I used to!’
The transformation in Carol’s relationship to food is striking. Like Sarah-Jayne Croft (another Bodychef customer to appear on This Time Next Year) Carol’s taken steps to stop beating herself up – to not use food as a weapon. She’s clear that there are some problems that only chocolate can fix. ‘But it’s about trying to say Ok, instead of two or three bars, I can stop at one.’ Carol says it’s all about acknowledging a problem and being comfortable with yourself while taking action.
It’s about not letting a bad week or a bad fortnight determine how the rest of the month’s going to go. I’ve never been ashamed. It’s just who I am and I have to deal with it. You do it one day at a time. But you do it with humour and you do it with grace and you do it with dignity.
Carol was shocked when her first Bodychef hamper arrived. Seeing what she should have been eating brought home to her just how much she’d been over-eating! But the simplicity of Bodychef’s concept; all of the food she needed to eat, prepared and calorie counted for her, appealed to Carol. As she puts it: ‘In this box is enough food for four days. And I know if that’s all I have, I will definitely lose weight.’ It’s as simple as that.
Carol used to snack while cooking dinner – she called this tricky chunk of time the witching hour! But with Bodychef, she says, ‘you just get yourself a drink ready and lay the table and it’s done.’
Carol made use of Bodychef’s variety and flexibility, swapping diet plans and calorie totals to fit around her social life and holidays. ‘There’s something for everyone,’ she said. ‘And when you see the meals on the plate they’re always very colourful. So even before you eat they’re always very appetising!’
Carol will be watching the show with friends at home. There may be a glass of fizz involved by she can resist the nibbles. Chopped vegetables and healthy dip will do, she says!
*Results may vary by individual