A size 26 woman, who was ‘addicted to food’ has shed a whopping 10 stone – by eating steak, bacon and fried cheese.
Alexa Fears, 34, from Northampton who works in marketing, has credited a special high fat diet with transforming her from a morbidly obese 23 stone to a slender size 12.
Now single Alexa is virtually unrecognisable, having shed 10 stone – five-and-a-half since September 2016 – and dropped seven dress sizes after embracing a high fat ketogenic diet, which allows her to eat steak, bacon and fried halloumi cheese.
She know follows an intermittent fasting diet, where she eats two meals a day, comprising of meat, vegetables and cheese.
‘I rarely used to weigh myself, but I must’ve been around 23 stone. I had to get my clothes from specialist shops,’ said Alexa, who has proudly revealed her new look on Instagram.
‘Now, there are times when I barely recognise myself in the mirror.
Alexa Fears, 34, from Northampton weighed around 23 stone and wore a dress size 26
She now weighs 12st 12lbs after embarking on a high fat, low carbohydrate diet to help her get in shape
‘The biggest change has been in my confidence. I feel so much better just walking down the street.
‘I’ve spent so much of my life with weight being an issue that it’s been a lot to get used to.’
Battling a weight problem for as long as she can remember, Alexa recalls being insecure about her body when she was just seven.
Bullied at school, because she had puppy fat ironically, she turned to food for solace.
Alexa, pictured here in 2008, felt insecure about her body at just seven years old
Alexa, pictured here in July 2017, has lost a whopping ten stone thanks to eating steak and bacon
‘I was just left out by the others, sitting on my own at lunchtime and in lessons,’ she said.
Then, in her twenties, during a very stressful training course for her job, she admits she became ‘addicted to food.’
While she snacked on crisps, chocolate and ice cream every day, her meals were mainly healthy. But she consumed hefty portions, taking her well over the 2,000 calories a day recommended for women by the NHS.
‘I never counted, but I must’ve been eating around 3,000 calories a day,’ she said.
Alexa, weighed 17st 4lbs, in November 2016. She had always struggled with her weight and tried every diet going
Alexa, pictured in 2006, says she was addicted to food and couldn’t resist eating anything she had in the house
Alexa, pictured here in February 2017, at 15st 5lbs, took up running to help her lose weight
‘I’d buy nice, healthy food, like salads or snacky bits from M&S, but I’d buy loads of them – three or four – and eat them all in one go.
The ketogenic diet involves cutting carbohydrates to no more than 28 g a day, with fruit and veg providing the main source as opposed to things like pasta and rice.
You can however eat generous amounts of fats, such as olive oil, butter and coconut oils, and normal amounts of protein — meat, fish and eggs.
The idea is to keep carbohydrates low enough so the body starts producing ketones as an alternative energy source — these are produced by the liver from body fat.
Because of the lack of glucose from carbs, your body switches to running almost totally on fat due to reduced insulin levels, meaning it’s burned off rapidly.
‘I could never keep food in the house. I’d always eat it then and there.’
Over the years, Alexa tried various diets, from counting calories to eating anything low fat – from salads to sushi – but could never keep the weight off for long.
Once she had ‘fallen off the bandwagon,’ she would binge eat, until she was back to where she started.
But then, in July last year she heard about the ketogenic diet, after reading about other peoples’ weight loss stories with the diet online.
It is essentially a high fat and low carbohydrate regime.
Realising she didn’t have to deprive herself of her favourite foods in order to shift the pounds, she decided to give it a go.
She has also taken up fitness – running 2.5km once a week and weight training twice a week.
‘I’m way more into home cooking now,’ she said. ‘I actually want to cook for myself rather than just grabbing snacks.’
Since embarking on her healthy new lifestyle, Alexa has set up an Instagram account, where she’s documented her transformation.
Alexa, pictured in 2009, snacked on chocolate, crisps and ice cream before she lost weight
Alexa, on holiday in September 2016, around the time she started her ketogenic diet
Alexa, at the London Olympics, in 2012. She reckons she used to eat 3,000 calories a day at the height of her food addiction
She also posts pictures of her daily meals, which she says encourages her to stick to her regime.
Nowadays, her diet is full of healthy vegetables, but also includes fatty meat like bacon and juicy steak as well as fried cheese.
‘I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself or cutting much out,’ she said.
Having lost so much weight in such a short time frame, Alexa said she ‘spent a fortune’ on clothes, as she was dropping a dress size every few weeks.
Alexa, in 2009, would start dieting and then binge eat until all the weight went back on again
Alexa, in October last year, after she began to lose weight. As well as taking on the ketogenic diet, she started running to help her slim down
Alexa, at a party, in 2015. Losing weight has boosted her confidence hugely and now she’s ready to start dating
Now, she’s a size 12, and has kept one item of clothing from when she was at her biggest to serve as a reminder of her old unhealthy ways.
‘Confidence-wise, this has been amazing,’ she said. ‘Instagram has been a great help, and very supportive.
‘Even though I’m not quite at my goal weight yet, I’ll get messages from people all over the world saying that I’ve inspired them.’
And now Alexa is feeling so amazing – and attracts admiring glances from strangers in the street – she is ready to get back into the dating game too.