Real life women: ‘We used lockdown to change our lives!’

While the pandemic has seen many of us reaching for comfort food to cope, these inspirational women used their time at home to transform their bodies

real life women weight loss lockdown

by Alexandra Meyer |
Updated on

‘My colleagues didn’t recognise me!’

Receptionist and lifeguard Natasha Demidh, 34, is single and lives in Norfolk. She says, “I’ve been bigger than my friends all my life, but although my weight made me unhappy, I was in such denial about it that, aged 17, I’d squeeze into size 18 clothes, when I was really a size 22. If anyone suggested I needed a bigger size, I refused to listen.

“I wore frumpy, baggy dresses, and if my friends invited me out, I’d claim I was ill at the last minute as I had nothing to wear. I hated missing out, so I’d turn to food for comfort.

“I’d fill up on buttery white toast for breakfast, then for lunch I’d buy a cheese sandwich with crisps and a chocolate bar. For dinner, I’d have curry made from a jar. And I could easily get through a packet of biscuits a day.”

Natasha Demidh weight loss
Natasha admits she used to be i

She adds, “I thought I’d be unhappy forever, until January 2020, when I saw a magazine advertising free membership to Slimming World and decided to regain control of my life.

“I’d heard good things about the plan, so I signed up and went along to my first meeting days later. When I stood on the scales and realised I’d reached 14st 12lb – too big for my 5ft 1in frame – I felt disgusted. But my consultant, Jo, was supportive and helped me overhaul my diet.

“For breakfast I’d have fruit with yoghurt, followed by ham salad for lunch. For dinner I’d make curry from scratch, following Slimming World recipes. If I was hungry, I would snack on fruit. In my first week, I lost 7∂lb.

“By March, I’d lost 3st, but when the country went into lockdown, I was distraught. I was so scared I’d pile the weight back on, but Jo began holding our group sessions online, via Zoom. Then I was furloughed from my job, so I started doing workouts at home to fill up my time.

Natasha Demidh weight loss
Lost: 6st 2lb

“By the time I returned to work in July at the sports centre where I was a receptionist, I had lost 5st and had to ask my manager for a new size 8 uniform! Colleagues and customers had to do a double take when they saw me – some even asked who the new girl was! It was hilarious, and also a reminder of how much weight I’d lost.

“And because I was so much fitter, my colleagues encouraged me to apply for my dream job as a lifeguard. My size meant I’d never been confident enough to get in the water in front of other people before. In September 2020, I reached my goal weight of 8st 12lb, having lost 6st 2lb, and I finally qualified to become a lifeguard at the end of October. Now, despite being back on furlough, I have my dream job, weigh 8st 10lb and wear size 6-8 clothes.

“I know lockdown has been awful for some people but, for me, it was an opportunity to change my life. I’m happier than ever.”

Check out: Love Island star's Instagram earnings 2021


Love Islander Instagram earnings 2021 RANKED - slider

Georgia Harrison Instagram earnings1 of 10

Georgia Harrison

10) @georgialouiseharrison - £2,019 per postKicking things off in the bottom spot is Love Island 2017's Georgia Harrison. If this 26 year old did just one sponsored post per month, she could be taking home a comfortable £24k annual salary (...and she's defo doing more than one a month, FYI).

anton danyluk instagram earnings2 of 10

Anton Danyluk

9) @anton_danyluk - £2,244 per postNext up, we have Love Island 2019's Anton Danyluk. In February 2020, Anton declared three ADs on his Insta feed - if we inflate that to a yearly salary, the 25 year old would be taking home a whopping £80k. Wowza.

Gabby Allen instagram earnings3 of 10

Gabby Allen

8) @gabbydawnallen - £2,381 per postFollowing on from Anton is Love Island 2017's Gabby Allen. In November 2020, Gabby posted six official ads on her feed - the most of our influencers so far. Adding that up over the course of a year, Gabby's theoretical salary would be drum roll £170k. Maybe we should sign up for Love Island 2021...

Kaz crossley instagram earnings4 of 10

Kaz Crossley

7) @kazcrossley - £2,645 per postIn seventh position is Love Island 2018's Kaz Crossley. Currently in Dubai, Kaz has posted two ads this month so far, though she often posts more. Based on her #spon content this month, Kaz's predicted salary would come in at around £60k, increasing by £30k annually for every additional ad she regularly posts each month.

laura anderson instagram earnings5 of 10

Laura Anderson

6) @lauraanderson1x - £3,113 per postIn sixth position (though, tbh, they're all winners with these salaries...) is former air hostess Laura Anderson. She's posted two official ads this month, bringing her potential salary to £74k. But, as with all the influencers, ads aren't the be all and end all. Influencers can be paid for things such as exposure and, most commonly, they can be paid through experiences and commodities - e.g. mini breaks, clothes etc.

zara mcdermott instagram earnings6 of 10

Zara McDermott

5) @zara_mcdermott - £3,143 per postGetting into the bigger names now. Zara McDermott comes in fifth position with £3,143 per post. This is what the 24 year old could earn solely through her Instagram, not to mention her contract with Made in Chelsea, her new fitness-wear range with Missguided - for this very much up and coming influencer, the possibilities are endless.

Shaughna Phillips Instagram earnings7 of 10

Shaughna Phillips

4) @shaughnaphillips - £3,294 per postNext up, and rather a surprise entry, is Love Island 2020's Shaughna Phillips. It's been less than a year since this Islander left the villa and she's already filling one of the top spots for her potential Insta earnings. She's posted three ads this month, bringing her predicted salary to a pukka £118k, but we have a feeling social media is just the tip of the iceberg for this one.

alex bowen instagram earnings8 of 10

Alex Bowen

3) @ab_bowen - £3,412 per postInto our top three, Alex Bowen was Love Island series two's runner up along with wife Olivia. The pair have been somewhat of a power couple since leaving the villa, and it's not a surprise brands are willing to pay for the 28 year old's whopping 1.6million followers exposure. Still, £3,412 - that's 11% of the UK's median income (in 2019, according to ONS).

Tommy Fury Instagram Earnings9 of 10

Tommy Fury

2) @tommytntfury - £6,724 per post...Followed by one half of what's arguably the UK's biggest influencer power couple, Mr. Tommy Fury. Tommy rakes in almost double Alex's per post earnings with a whopping £6,724 and that's not even including his winnings as a professional boxer.

molly-mae hague instagram earnings10 of 10

Molly-Mae Hague

1) @mollymaehague - £10,690 per postAnd finally, Love Island's highest influencer earner, Molly-Mae Hague. This comes as absolutely no surprise with Molly having set up her own tanning brand, a babein' collection with PLT and her own YouTube channel with 1.43million subscribers. All in the two years since she and Tommy became Love Island runners up. This girl is a savvy businesswoman and she's not to be messed with, if you ask us.

Closer magazine
Get the best real life stories in Closer magazine each week ©Closer magazine

‘I’m as slim as I was on my wedding day’

Margaret Moss weight loss
At size 20

Office manager Margaret Moss, 60, from Sutton, lives with her husband Peter, aged 63. She says, “I was very slim growing up, and when I married Peter aged 18, I wore a beautiful size 10 white silk dress, with lace and a high collar. But soon after we married, my weight began to fluctuate. At first, it was only by a few pounds, but it quickly increased.

“I ate healthily, didn’t have a sweet tooth and regularly exercised, but my waistline kept growing. It felt like I was battling my own body, so in my late twenties, I asked my GP for help. Blood tests showed I had a borderline underactive thyroid, which meant my metabolism was slower than normal, so I didn’t burn calories as quickly and gained weight very easily. But it wasn’t serious enough for medication, and I continued to battle with my weight, often trying different diets that never worked. I put on a bubbly persona, but I was miserable inside.

Margaret Moss weight loss
Lost 6st 6lb

“Everything changed in July 2019, when my doctor finally agreed to prescribe thyroid medication. After getting used to taking the tablets, I vowed 2020 would be my year – and in early March, I joined LighterLife. It was a very low-calorie diet and recommended for anyone who had a lot of weight to lose. So while it was extreme, I knew it would give me the results I needed.

“I was shocked at the first weigh-in, when I tipped the scales at 17st 7lb – too heavy for my 5ft 7in frame – but now that I was on medication, I felt so determined.

Margaret Moss weight loss
On her wedding day, aged 18

“I knew that if I stuck to my meal replacement packs of 600 calories daily, and drank four litres of water a day, I’d achieve my goals. In the first week, I lost 10lb.

“Just 10 days after starting my diet, lockdown was announced, but I wasn’t worried. Staying at home meant I didn’t have to worry about turning down invitations for meals out. And I decided to ditch alcohol too.

WATCH: Kimberly Walsh talks play dates with Cheryl and Bear | This Morning Live


Celebs at the frontline - from Dr Alex George to Chanelle Hayes

Super-slimmer: ‘I love my loose skin – it shows how far I’ve come!’

Lockdown loneliness hits new mums

“My LighterLife classes moved online too, and I started twice-weekly online exercise classes.

“Peter was so supportive and by November 2020, I’d lost 6st 6lb and weighed 11st 1lb. I was so happy to have achieved my goal; I felt like a new woman. There would be some days when I’d look in the mirror and I wouldn’t recognise myself!

“I still have some LighterLife products but mainly stick to a high-protein diet. I love a spinach and mushroom omelette for lunch and chicken stir-fry for dinner.

“At the end of last year, I had to go up into the loft to get my old size 10 clothes! I couldn’t believe that I’d started lockdown a size 20, and now, I’m proud to say I’m the same size as I was on my wedding day. I can’t wait to get back out into the real world and show everyone my transformation.”

Get the best real life stories in Closer magazine each week

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us