We’re proof ANY woman can have a bikini body at 50
There’s not a lump, bump or stretch mark in sight. And boy, don’t they like the world to know it.
Earlier this month, Cindy Crawford, 51, flaunted her incredible beach body in a two-piece swimsuit that would have given women half her age a crisis of confidence. And she’s not the only celebrity whose figure has flouted the ravages of time.
From Sharon Stone, 59, to Halle Berry, 50, Elle Macpherson, 53, and Christie Brinkley, 63, celebrity bikini braggers of a certain age are giving ordinary women pause for thought.
But is it possible for mere mortals to achieve a bikini body in middle age — without resorting to punishing diets and exercise regimes that would exhaust an Olympian?
Here, five women tell Samantha Brick what it takes to maintain a perfect bikini body after the age of 50 . . .
Janine Fordham, 50, from Hertfordshire, cut out processed food, gluten, dairy, and wheat when her son was diagnosed with allergic gut disease. Until then, she had always struggled with her weight and could never stick to a diet
TOO FAT FOR A BIKINI IN MY 30s — BUT LOOK AT ME AT 50!
Janine Fordham, 50, is a well-being coach and hypnotherapist. She is single and has a son aged nine. They live in Hertfordshire.
WEIGHT: 9st 8lb
HEIGHT: 5ft 7in
DRESS SIZE: Ten
Four years ago I weighed 16st and was a size 16. If I went on the beach I wore trousers — even in summer.
There was no way I would have considered putting on a bikini. Yet the motivation to lose weight didn’t come from any of the usual routes, such as following a celebrity weight loss plan or being shocked into losing weight for health reasons.
Instead it came about because of the health tweaks I made to my son’s diet. From the age of one, he suffered from chronic bowel issues and for six years the doctors didn’t know how to help him.
I researched his symptoms and eliminated processed food. Finally, a private doctor diagnosed him with allergic gut disease and I had to feed him a diet that was gluten, dairy and wheat free. As time went on it was easier for me to eat what I prepared for him — and the pounds gradually fell off.
It’s been a revelation because I’m someone who has always struggled with her weight.
During my teens, I weighed 11½ st. I tried various diets, but when I reached my goal weight the pounds would creep back on. I can only recall one period in my 30s when I was slim enough to wear a bikini.
That’s why it’s all the more remarkable today that I can slip easily into a size ten two-piece. It was three years ago that I reached my goal weight of 8st 13lb.
My weight loss has been a combination of diet and exercise. I do all my exercise routines at home and follow workout DVDs three times a week for 45 minutes a day. I was incredibly proud of myself when I managed to develop a ‘four-pack’ set of defined abdominal muscles at the age of 47.
Last month, I started weight training twice a week, for one hour at a time. Although I used a personal trainer for the first ten sessions, I now do it on my own. I’m building muscles quickly, as I’m lean and my diet is good.
I put my success down to having given myself a clear goal — to feel good about myself.
Family and friends tell me I have inspired them. Today, my son and I go on regular holidays and I always slip on a bikini when we’re on the beach. If I can do it, anyone can.
Aliza Reger, 55, from London, exercises for ten hours a week to maintain a svelte size eight. She says she eats what she likes but limits her portion size. Aliza writes: ‘Exercise is my therapy and my pleasure’
I EXERCISE FOR TEN HOURS A WEEK
Aliza Reger, 55, is a lingerie and swimwear designer and is married to Andrew Claremont, 55, who works in property.
They live in London and have a daughter, 23.
HEIGHT: 5ft 2in
DRESS SIZE: Eight
Last summer, before we went to Mallorca, I looked into the mirror and inspected my reflection.
Was this the year that I was going to hang up my bikini and trade it in for a one-piece? It’s a question I ask myself every year.
I try to be objective and always ask my husband, Andrew, for his opinion. But I decided my body did pass muster so I packed enough bikinis for one per day of holiday.
I grew up in a world where skiing, swimming and ballet lessons were the norm. Even so, during my late teens I became rather chubby.
I had a very sensible grandmother who had a level-headed attitude to all things — especially food. Her mantra was a little bit of everything is good for you.
I don’t believe in the gluten-free, lactose-free, fat-free diets that are trendy today. I eat what I like, but rarely have seconds. I eat small portions. I won’t eat pasta more than once every seven to ten days. I work out five times a week, for between eight to ten hours per week. I take classes including spin, barre and abdominals and I have a personal trainer once a week.
I’ll increase my training before a skiing trip as I like to be super fit for that. Exercise is my therapy and my pleasure.
Andrew and I run our own companies and lead busy lives. When we get in from work we’ll cook together. We never have takeaways. That said, my motto is: if you want a cup of tea and a biscuit, don’t have one, have two.
Nurse Sarah Dawkins, 52, says she keeps a slim figure by cooking all her meals from scratch and sticking to a dairy, gluten and wheat-free diet. But she says she sometimes enjoys a glass of red wine with her dinner
I ONLY EAT ORGANIC, HOME-COOKED FOOD
Sarah Dawkins, 52, is a registered nurse, health coach and entrepreneur and is married to Paul, 48, a director of his own software company. She has a son, 30, a daughter, 22, and a granddaughter, six.
HEIGHT: 5ft 7in
DRESS SIZE: 12
I used to be a big girl and a size 18. From my late teens until early 20s I lived on junk food. My wake-up call came when I realised the material of my jeans on the insides of my legs was getting thin because my thighs were rubbing together. It was the prompt I needed to turn my life around. So I overhauled my diet, began cooking from scratch and took up walking.
For me, home cooking is the key to looking good in a bikini. How I look now is down to 80 per cent nutrition and 20 per cent exercise. Every meal I cook is from scratch and made from natural, organic foods.
Although I don’t count calories, I avoid wheat, gluten and dairy and I keep my processed carbs low. I also fast on some days. I enjoy a glass of red wine with an evening meal.
In my 30s, I would work out hard in the gym. Now I prefer to walk in the fresh air. I try to walk for more than three hours a week and enjoy a five to ten-mile walk at weekends.
Although I am mid-menopause, I keep hot flushes to a minimum by taking Maca Powder and the herbal supplements agnus-castus and sage. It’s meant I haven’t put any weight around my abdominal area.
Recently I decided to buy a new bikini. I picked size 14 and was surprised to discover it was too big. I ended up with size 12. I never imagined, in my 20s, I’d be doing that.
Linda Patrick, 52, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, used to be a gym bunny before she had children. She took up exercise again when she turned 40 and competed in a half-marathon. Linda has since completed three triathlons
YOU JUST HAVE TO WORK FOR IT
Linda Patrick, 52, is an intensive care nurse and is married to Kieran, 55, a marketing director. They have two children, Emily, 22, and Edward, 19. They live in Sheffield.
HEIGHT: 5ft 7in
DRESS SIZE: Eight-ten
I regularly see colleagues walking around the hospital where I work swigging from a can of fizzy drink. They are often the ones who will say it’s impossible to lose weight. I want to shake them and say anyone can have a body like mine. But drinking sugar-loaded soft drinks isn’t the way to get it.
You do have to be prepared to move more and eat less.
Throughout my life, my weight has remained constant. I was that lucky youngster who was naturally slim and enjoyed exercise.
In the late Eighties, in my 20s, I was a gym bunny. But I stopped when I had children and devoted my time to their activities. When I turned 40, I signed up for a half marathon, completing it in 1 hr 50 min. I have since done another half-marathon in 1 hr 43 min.
By the time I was in my mid-40s I’d taken up cycling — I cover 30 miles in one ride each week — and have done three triathlons.
I exercise three times a week for at least an hour at a time.
I’m completing in an open water triathlon in September so will increase my training before then.
I always ensure I have protein in my diet. A smoothie will often do for breakfast. I also eat plenty of eggs.
I adore what I do, but my job can be stressful. My line of work underlines the fact I have one body, that’s why I intend to look after it.
I’m no saint, though, and while I do adhere to three alcohol-free nights a week, I enjoy a few glasses of wine on the nights when I’m not abstaining. My husband adores how I look in a bikini. When we go on holiday I’ll always buy a new bikini — and watch what I eat beforehand to ensure a flat stomach.
Anyone can have a figure like mine, but you have to get off your backside and work for it.
Jackie Padget, 54, from Solihull, Warwickshire, has always felt comfortable wearing a bikini but started to worry about her weight when she hit 40. She maintains her figure with Pilates and ballroom dancing
I’LL NEVER HIDE MY BODY AWAY IN A SWIMSUIT
Jackie Padget, 54, a financial administrator, is married to Neil, 55, a chartered financial planner. They live in Solihull and have two children, Luke, 21, and Imogen, 18.
HEIGHT: 5ft 5in
DRESS SIZE: Eight-ten
I’ve always been confident in my skin, that’s why I enjoy wearing a bikini. When my husband and I took a two-week break this year to the Caribbean, I took three bikinis. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to bring a one-piece!
The most I’ve ever weighed is 10st — shortly after having children. I’m blessed with good genes; my late father was slim as are my mother and sisters.
Until I hit 40 I could eat what I wanted. Since then, the weight has crept on. I am careful with portion sizes and try not to eat many carbs. I keep treats like cake to a minimum.
My favourite kitchen gadget is my Nutribullet for my morning smoothie.
My friends and I are all menopausal. Some are struggling with their weight. I’m one of the lucky ones. I put this down to Pilates. I go to an hour-long class three times a week and it’s helped me maintain my figure. My husband Neil and I also practise ballroom dancing on a weekly basis.
Neil tells me he’s a lucky man and that I don’t look my age.
Gravity might have other ideas, but it’s my intention to never resort to wearing a one-piece bathing suit.