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Celebrity Health – Amanda Byram

A photo of TV presenter Amanda Byram

“Being a healthy role model is so important”

TV presenter and fitness enthusiast Amanda Byram speaks to Liz Parry about her passion for fitness and being a healthy role model

Q: You have a fantastic figure – what’s your secret to staying in such great shape?

Amanda: Great dedication! And consistency. When I was in my late teens and twenties I used to work out every day, if not twice a day, and I was pretty much obsessed with it. I was so focussed on being skinny that I completely forgot about being healthy. This continued into my mid-thirties when I finally decided to change my thinking and I kind of turned it all around. I decided to train with weights and work with a personal trainer. I also learned about eating proper food to fuel my body and keep myself healthy. Now, instead of spending two hours in the gym I’ll do 20 minutes of high intensity interval training to get my heart rate up and maybe I’ll do some weights, skipping and burpees. Other days I might do a Pilates session or some spinning.

Q: So would you say that your attitude towards your health has changed?

Amanda: Yes, my mindset has definitely changed from wanting to be thin to wanting to be strong and healthy. I think that’s the difference. I want to be in shape, athletic and toned. I want to be able to get through a big weights session or hike the highest mountain in Ireland with ease. When I was younger I was just obsessed with being skinny and so I avoided certain foods and over-exercised and yet I was so miserable.

Q: Do you think it’s important to be a healthy role model to your fans, particularly young girls who might look up to you?

Amanda: Absolutely – without a shadow of a doubt. I think that’s why I’ve become so honest about my issues over the past few years. I’ve done interviews and written blogs about my journey to health and I’ve become an ambassador for positive body image. I was uneducated about food and exercise but I’ve learnt so much over the last few years. You would think that the next generation has grown up learning this stuff but there is still a lack of education about food, health and fitness. So many young women and girls today are just desperate to be thin. We are surrounded by images of thin women and articles about how to lose weight quickly – it drives me crazy. If I can change just one woman’s image of her body to a more positive one then that’s it for me – job done. Being a healthy role model is so important.

Q: What is your daily diet like?

Amanda: I would say in general that the foods I eat on a regular basis are very clean. I don’t eat processed foods any more and I make most of my meals from scratch. I make my own sugar-free granola and my own guacamole. I eat organic meat and lots of fish, lots of pulses and good wholegrains like quinoa. I might have oatmeal with almond milk, berries and nuts and seeds for breakfast – I’m called ‘the nut and seed girl’ by my friends. In between meals I snack on things like apples, nuts or oatcakes. For lunch I might have quinoa with chopped herbs and some steamed salmon. For dinner I’ll typically have some kind of meat – usually chicken or fish – with vegetables. When you spice it up with plenty of herbs and spices anything can become a wonderful meal.

Q: Your diet is obviously very clean and healthy, but do you take any supplements as well?

Amanda: Yes. A lot of the things I take are for gut health such as digestive enzymes and probiotics. Good gut health is key to a healthy body and a healthy mind. I also take things like adrenal support tablets, herbal agnus castus drops and ginkgo biloba for my memory. I have all my superfood supplements like maca, acai berry, spirulina and chlorella, which I add to a smoothie or juice in the morning and that gets me going for the day. I gave up coffee last year and I gave up caffeine completely two months ago which was pretty hard for me, but now I find that the juice in the morning gives me all the energy I need.

Q: You mentioned earlier that you’re known as the ‘nuts and seeds girl’. Is that why you became an ambassador for 9BAR?

Amanda: That’s exactly the reason, believe it or not. I realised a while back that nuts and seeds are the perfect energy source because they make you feel full up and you don’t feel the need to snack on rubbish. I said this in quite a few interviews and, as a result, 9BAR got in touch with me and asked me to become an ambassador for them. I think they’re the ideal snack because they’re full of natural ingredients and good fats and they give you a boost of slow-release energy. I’ve always got one in my handbag or the car.

Q: Do you have any health and fitness tips that you could share with our readers?

Amanda: Gosh, there are so many! I know it sounds boring but I’m a huge fan of drinking lots of water. Not only does it keep us nice and clean and lucid and mobile but it’s also brilliant for your skin, it fills you up and stops you from being dehydrated. It’s just brilliant for everything. Getting enough sleep is another one. Again people say it all the time but it’s absolutely crucial to our health and wellbeing. Without sleep we can’t function properly. I take 5HTP or magnesium if I’m worried that I’m not sleeping well and I find they really help. I gave up alcohol for the most part about two years ago and it’s made a huge difference to my overall wellbeing so I would recommend that too. I gave up one January and I felt amazing, so I just kept on. I went through to June and my 40th birthday, where I had a couple of occasions where I went out drinking, but I realised that I just didn’t miss it that much so I stopped again. The difference in my body, my skin and my energy levels is huge. I think my golden rules would be to cut back on alcohol, caffeine and sugar, eat plenty of good fats and eat good carbs instead of white carbs. Do your exercise and, I promise you, your body will listen to you.

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