I was drinking too much, my best friend had just died and I had been in hospital’: Woman gives up stodgy diet and wins body makeover challenge after vowing to turn her life around
- Tarryn Severn, 25, lost her best friend, Ilona, 31, to bowel cancer in 2012
- She also suffered severe endometriosis and had to have surgery to treat it
- By the end of the year she was emotionally drained, rundown and unhealthy
- With her boyfriend, Dominic Ball, she entered a Body Makeover Challenge
- They started eating healthily and exercising in a bid to boost their health
- Ms Severn dropped from 10st 7lbs to 9st 2lb and Mr Ball dropped from 13st 3lbs to 11st 6lbs
Her best friend had just died of cancer and she had been in and out of hospital having painful surgery.
So by the end of 2012, Tarryn Severn was feeling emotionally drained, rundown and unhealthy.
The 25-year-old was eating badly, drinking too much and lacking self-confidence.
Tarryn Severn dropped from 10st 7lbs (left) to 9st 2lbs (right) while taking part in a body makeover challenge
She also felt lethargic, she lacked energy and her immune system was struggling.
So, Ms Severn, who lives in London, decided it was time to focus on improving her mental and physical health.
Along with her boyfriend, Dominic Ball, she signed up for a Body Makeover Challenge.
Run by the supplement company USN, the challenge saw the pair attempt to improve their health and lifestyles as much as possible in three months.
Ms Severn, an Executive Assistant at Barclays, said: ‘I needed something to focus on physically and mentally.
‘I did it to get my health right because I hadn’t been looking after myself, and I needed to sort out my health.
Her boyfriend, Dominic Ball, also took on the challenge and he dropped from 13st 3lbs (left) to 11st 6lbs (right)
‘I saw it not as a diet, but as a mental and physical lifestyle change.’
Mr Ball added: ‘I generally didn’t feel good in myself, physically and mentally.
‘My energy levels were always low and I could never concentrate for very long.
‘It got to the point were I knew I had hit rock bottom.
‘I had to make a change and I knew it needed to be a big one. My entire lifestyle needed a total overhaul.
HER DIET BEFORE AND AFTER THE LIFESTYLE CHANGE:
Lunch: A chicken and mayonnaise baguette followed by some chocolate
Dinner: Spaghetti carbonara
Drinks: A bottle of wine three or four evenings a week
Mid-morning: Eggs with spinach
Lunch: Chicken stir fry
Mid-afternoon: Lean meat with vegetables
Dinner: A protein shake
Drinks: Water and coffee – very little alcohol
‘I was browsing through the internet and stumbled on the USN makeover challenge.
‘It was exactly what I needed. I have always been a very competitive person and since this was a competition I thought that would help give me the added motivation to stick with it.’
At the start of the challenge, in January 2013, Ms Severn weighed 10st 7lbs and was feeling lethargic and unhealthy as a result of drinking too much and eating too much stodgy food.
She had stopped looking after herself properly because she had had an incredibly tough year.
Her best friend, Ilona, had died of bowel cancer at the age of just 31 and she had suffered constant, crippling stomach pain as a result of severe endometriosis.
Ms Severn, who is from Australia, had gone through surgery to treat her endometriosis and had even ended up back in hospital after developing complications related to the treatment.
She was drinking a bottle of wine in a night three or four times a week and was eating unhealthily.
She would skip breakfast, have a chicken and mayonnaise baguette and some chocolate for lunch followed by spaghetti carbonara for dinner.
She told MailOnline: ‘I considered Ilona my sister – we just clicked when we first met and I am so glad that I met her. We were very, very close.
‘It is still very difficult – very raw.
‘I felt guilty because I was in England having surgery while she was very sick in Australia. I felt bad because I wasn’t at home with her.’
She added: ‘I ate really badly and I got ill a lot because my immune system was weak.
The couple took on the challenge after realising they were not looking after themselves very well and that it was affecting their physical and mental health (they are pictured before)
Ms Severn and Mr Ball say that since they revolutionised their diets (pictured) they feel more confident and healthier. Mr Ball says he is now less tired and Ms Severn says her hair and nails are better
‘I didn’t feel good and so I would then eat more comfort food which just made it worse.
‘By the start of the new year in 2013 I knew I needed to sort out my bad habits and improve my health.’
Ms Severn signed up for the Body Makeover Challenge Competition and set about changing her life.
She started to eat every three hours, instead of just having two big meals a day.
She also gave up alcohol and started following a strict exercise and weights regime.
Her diet was revolutionised when she started eating porridge for breakfast, eggs and spinach mid-morning and a chicken stir fry for lunch.
Mid-afternoon she would eat some lean meat with vegetables, followed by a protein shake for dinner.
After three months following this programme, she had lost 1st 5lbs to drop to 9st 2lbs.
She said: ‘I don’t get sick so often now, I have more energy, I am not as lethargic and sleepy and I am a lot healthier.
Ms Severn used to eat a lot of bread and pasta (left) but now focuses on lean meats and vegetables (right)
‘My skin and hair are better and my nails grow faster.
‘I am proud of what I accomplished and I am more confident and feel better in myself.
‘My life has changed dramatically.’
She says she now intends to stick to this new routine as it has changed her life for the better.
She told MailOnline: ‘It has been really worth it. I really enjoyed doing it with my boyfriend – it brought us closer together and I was fun.
‘I needed it and I haven’t looked back.’
Mr Ball also followed the programme with his girlfriend and he dropped from 13st 3lbs to 11st 6lbs.
He said: ‘I think doing the USN challenge was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.
‘Before I never used to like my body, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that feeling.
Mr Ball (pictured before the challenge) and Ms Severn both won their sections of the Body Makeover Challenge
‘Now I’m proud of it, I’ve swapped the beer gut for a ripped six pack. I never even thought that would be possible.’
He added that his energy levels and sleep patterns have also improve as has his concentration.
Amazingly, Ms Severn and Mr Ball both won their sections of the Body Makeover Challenge Competition – Ms Severn won the female section and Mr Ball the male one.
Ms Severn said: ‘It is a life-long change – it has changed my life completely.
‘I have learned so much about what to eat and when. Before this I didn’t know any of this – it has been a great learning experience.
‘I 100 per cent intend to stick with it. I like eating healthily and I love my veggies now.’
Mr Ball added: ‘I was totally amazed at Tarryn’s transformation.
‘She looks amazing and I can tell she has a lot more confidence in herself.
‘She always used to have big body image issues, but after completing the USN challenge she had enough confidence to take part in a bikini competition and achieve second place.’