After gaining over a stone when the country first ground to a halt last spring, fans praised Amber Gill for her honesty when she confessed, like many of us, that she had found herself spending her days in isolation lounging in pyjamas and ordering takeaways.
Now, after losing a stone in six weeks by overhauling her diet and fitness regime, the 2019 Love Island winner says she’s facing this current national lockdown with a sense of balance and – while she’s keen to stay fit – won’t be sacrificing the things she loves.
Amber, 23, who has dropped from a size 12 to a toned size 8, tells Closer, “There are fitness fanatics who train three times a day, every day, and then eat nothing. I put on a stone, then lost it, but I’ve made sure I haven’t let my diet and fitness take over my life. I’m not fitness obsessed. I wanted to do something that was sustainable and would also make me feel better mentally. I could never do a crash diet – I love my food.”
Amber still allows herself occasional treats, and insists you can have all the foods you love in moderation. But now her daily diet consists mainly of oats with fruit and honey for breakfast, tomato and mozzarella or avocado salad for lunch, and salmon, greens and potatoes for dinner.
And she says that, rather than cleaning up her diet for physical purposes, she did it as much for her mindset and wellbeing.
“I feel so much happier now and I feel this pandemic has taught us that it’s so important to look after yourself at the moment – both physically and mentally,” she says. “Staying in contact with friends and family virtually, eating well and exercising all helps. I feel really positive and ready for this year.”
The 5ft 4 star confesses she barely knew how to cook an egg when she relocated from Newcastle to London after her Love Island win, so the ease of fast food proved too tempting, while the boredom and loneliness of lockdown zapped away any motivation to get fit.
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Her weight gain led to vicious trolls “fat-shaming” her on social media platform TikTok, with comments that Amber says were “not nice to hear or see”.
“It was just disheartening,” she says. “I think some people are really unhappy in their own lives and they have no self-confidence, so they want to bring others down. I don’t expect to be loved by everyone, and for everyone to think I’m great, but there’s no need to put something horrible on someone’s post.”
However, Amber reveals that feeling lethargic, downbeat and lonely after being separated from her loved ones amid the restrictions was what spurred her on to lose weight to improve her mental health.
She says, “I love food, and during lockdown, it feels like it’s the only enjoyment we can still have! During the first lockdown, I ate lots of pizza and things like that.”
She adds, “Generally, I’m a really positive person. I’m productive and I like to work. I’d just got to the point where I didn’t feel like myself any more. I didn’t feel motivated and I just thought, ‘I need to do something about this. This isn’t who I am.’
“It wasn’t a particular outfit or a photo that I didn’t like – I was wearing joggers all the time – it was just how I was feeling in myself, my mental wellbeing. So I decided I needed to do some exercise to give myself a brain boost.”
A friend put her in contact with Jon Hosking – a personal trainer who has previously dated Made In Chelsea’s Frankie Gaff – and the pair have since teamed up to create Amber’s new fitness platform, Amber FLEXX. Incorporating her love of Thai boxing, the pals devised a series of 20-minute workout routines combining combat, cardio, and conditioning exercises using different muscles to strengthen, shape and tone.
Amber says, “I train four times a week with my programme for 20 minutes at a time. I’m using my own body weight for resistance, which is the biggest surprise as I’ve always done weights at the gym. It’s amazing to see how effective it is and proves it is possible to work out effectively when we’ve been told to stay at home.”
She recently showed off her new figure in a bikini in Dubai – although she insisted she had flown over for work purposes prior to the government issuing Tier 4 regulations for London before Christmas.
Amber now says she’s feeling “very positive and very happy” – even hinting that she could be open to a new romance this year. After being single since her split from Love Island’s Greg O’Shea, 25, shortly after leaving the villa last year, Amber was linked to PT Jon, but is currently playing coy on the subject of dating. “If romance happens, it happens, but I’ve got so many things going on,” she says. “They would have to be right for me.”
WATCH: Love Island’s Anna Vakili reveals she didn’t like Amber Gill | My First Times
My tips for success...
Go easy on yourself
Take each day as it comes and don’t be too hard on yourself if you sometimes don’t feel as motivated. If you think of any new diet or exercise regime as being weeks long, it can feel quite daunting, so focus instead on how you want to feel at the end of it.
Don’t be tempted by crash diets
It’s not sustainable and it won’t give you the desired results. If I wasn’t enjoying something, I wouldn’t be able to stick with it, so tell yourself how it can benefit your body and you’ll start to find it more enjoyable.
Keep having fun
Mix it up and do what you enjoy most. If you don’t like running, how about going on a bike ride for a cardio blast instead? The best feeling is when extra weight drops off while you’re also having a good time.
Give the scales a miss
I know some people weigh themselves daily and find it useful, but your weight fluctuates for so many different reasons, such as hormones, time of the day and water retention. Muscles also weigh a lot, so what you see on the scales may not be a true reflection of your fat loss.
Amber’s 6 Week Blast plan is available online at Amberflexx.com (£39.99).
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