If you've had a look at the new Brides issue, you'll see that I recently went on a big health and fitness programme and lost a bit of weight, well 20lbs to be precise! It was a life-changing experience and if anyone is looking to shift the pounds and transform your body in time for your wedding, I can't recommend my programme enough. I really don't care what anyone says: losing weight is HARD WORK and if you have a lot to lose you really do need to invest in professional help.
The company that I hooked up with is Louise Parker Personal Training. Louise recruits qualified trainers and sends them directly to your own home. That means no schlepping to the gym on a freezing cold snowy morning and 100 per cent bespoke exercise training to suit your own goals.
Her programme, called The Intensive, consists of six hours personal training every week and a very healthy (but easy) strict diet. It lasts for six weeks, which is a long-enough time for some serious life lessons to engrain themselves in you.
The cost is considerable (the course starts from £2,800) but you pay for guaranteed results. It's as simple as that. Having someone turn up at your house at 6.30am takes the stress out of summoning up your own will-power and on those painful sore mornings when you're feeling broken from the day before, it's the only way you'll achieve anything.
But having Louise on call 24/7 was the secret ingredient: I had to send her my daily food diary, which became an incredibly therapeutic tool to uncover my eating patterns, vent my frustrations, share my weight-loss excitement and fitness thrill, and to disclose my feelings about the diet and the exercise plan so that Louise could monitor my progress and evolve the programme as the weeks went on.
It's hard work, yes: as I mentioned in my article, sitting in front of X-Factor on a Saturday night with a pint of water and a salad is not my idea of fun, but stepping onto the scales on Monday morning and seeing the numbers drop is.
Funnily enough the exercise part is what I was fearing the most as I was so unfit and embarrassed, but the personal trainers I was allocated were patient, amazingly supportive, encouraging and trusting - so I achieved incredible, fulfilling, endorphin-pumped workout sessions. Sure, I won't lie: mid-lunge, when your legs are shaking and burning and the sweat is making your eyes sting, it certainly ain't no picnic. But just a short while later, as you're lying on the floor having your muscles stretched out, the warm rush of achievement and satisfaction really does make you look forward to the next session and the next burning lunge.
I remember literally laughing in Louise's face when she told me on the first session that she could make me drop 20lbs. Ha! Yeah right, I thought. It's taken me a good few years to put on the weight I need to loose, so six weeks really weren't going to make a dent. But they did. Her system works, and I'm now down 20lbs. As long as you stick to her diet religiously, and you push yourself in the training sessions, you CANNOT fail.
Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing and if a stranger told me a few months ago that 'I could do it!' and 'I'll lose loads of weight!' I'd probably have told them to sod off and stuffed my face with crisps. So I get that hearing it from a third party is annoying.
Your only way to find out if it works is to try it. If you can't stretch to The Intensive's cost, then sign up for a couple of sessions a week. Louise will educate you in a way no one has dared to before because she doesn't use gimmicks and she'll tell you the truth. And the simple truth is: we all need a bit of help sometimes, so go and ask for it!
Find out more at www.louiseparkerpersonaltraining.com