I used to look like Towie’s Gemma… so I lost 7st to look like Lydia
MANY women would love to be mistaken for a celebrity – but it made Sabrina May cringe.
Because every time the Essex girl nipped out for a glass of wine, people would think she was roly-poly Towie star Gemma Collins.
In fact, one night somebody even asked the size 22 florist for her autograph.
After five years of this unwanted stardom, Sabrina decided The Only Way Is Exercise — and lost SEVEN stone.
Now she is a size ten and looks more like Towie star James Argent’s childhood sweetheart, slender Lydia Bright, than size 22 Gemma.
Sabrina, 29, who at her heaviest was 16st 12lb, says: “I’ve always been a Towie fan and thought Gemma was great.
“We were both big, bubbly, blonde Essex girls with a love of pie and chips and cocktails. However, I still never thought I was as big as her.
“I was kidding myself about my weight. I was genuinely surprised and gutted when people started mistaking me for her.
‘I was terrified my son would lose me’ “When I was asked to sign the autograph I knew it was time to change — it was the wake-up call I needed.”
Sabrina says she began putting on weight in her early twenties when her lifestyle changed after leaving college.
The mum-of-one, from Chelmsford, says: “I stopped being so active when I was a student.”
And she admits her whole family would sit down and tuck into giant home-cooked dinners, which left them all feeling flabby.
Sabrina says: “My father Paul was a big guy who loved his food. He used to say life was too short for dieting and to just have what you enjoyed. But unfortunately, when he was 26st, he died.
“Of course, we all knew that at his weight he wasn’t the healthiest but we had no idea just how serious it was.”
In January 2012, Paul was taken to hospital but medics there struggled to diagnose his condition.
Just ten days later he died of multiple organ failure and doctors confirmed that his weight had played a part in his knew in our hearts Dad’s weight death. Sabrina says: “We already had killed him. He was just too unhealthy and his size made him hard to treat.
“I was lost without him and terrified that my own weight might take me away from my son.
“I didn’t want to put him through what I was going through losing dad.
“I knew I didn’t want to leave my Taylor, who is now three, without a mum.”
She vowed to ditch the chips and get slim but her grief always led her back to the fridge. And unfortunately for Sabrina, she loved the same foods as her Towie lookalike.
Like Gemma — who left I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! in November after just 72 hours, complaining she couldn’t live on 500 calories a day — Sabrina also enjoyed lots of bowls of pasta, crisps, wine and chocolate.
Her weight rocketed when she fell pregnant with Tyler in 2010, and she remained a size 22 after he was born.
Sabrina says: “I would live on milky coffee all day telling myself I was being healthy.
“But at night, when my son was in bed, I would binge eat anything and everything I could get my hands on.
“It never seemed odd to me because all my family loved food.
“I still made an effort with my hair and make-up and wore smart clothes, so I thought I looked OK.”
Like a lot of people trying conventional diets, Sabrina found she was back to the fatty foods within a month.
A year later, when she went out with friends to her favourite Continued on next page Essex haunt, she was asked to sign the autograph and decided enough was enough.
Sabrina says: “I just laughed it off and made a joke of it but inside I was mortified and vowed I would diet.”
diet.” She heard about the Terri-Ann 123 diet plan on Facebook and liked the fact it gave her 24-hour access to online support with other slimmers.
Breakfast: Lunch: Milky and bags Dinner: Pie chips, onion spread pancakes, scotch multi-pack As a single mother the one-off payment appealed too, and she signed up in April 2013.
Diet In the first ten days Sabrina lost a stone and says the motivation to continue came from the Facebook page, which she could log on to for support night and day.
Breakfast: Terri-Ann Snack: Fat-Lunch: Terri-Ann rice, sprinkled Snack: Dinner: with roasted and onions, The plan also allowed her to eat lots of her favourite foods, but cooked in different ways. They are always served without carbohydrates.
Sabrina says: “I had a cooked breakfast every day and enjoyed big lunches and dinner. To be honest, I was probably eating more than I had been when I was fat.”
Four months in and she had already dropped 4st and was a size 16.
Milky coffee x three of crisps and mash x two, rings, chocolate sandwich, four mini sausage, egg, Coke, crisps, chocolate ”
In December 2013, Sabrina started working out at a gym to boost her weight loss and tone up.And finally, after she started weightlifting at the gym, she began to see results on her stomach. Sabrina says it used to flap around, but it is now smooth and toned.
Breakfast: 123 omelette free yoghurt Ann 123 chilli, no with cheese Sugar-free jelly Seasoned chicken peppers sugarfree jelly Sabrina still works the Essex look, but has not been mistaken for Gemma since she started losing weight. She adds: “I still love Gemma but I’m pleased that I don’t get mistaken for her any more.”
l For details on the diet see terriann123dietplan.co.uk.