Belfast Telegraph

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Want to shape up for summer? According to former Vogue model Patience Bradley, just reach for a Hoover and duster - and do her brilliant new Housework Workout!

The Holywood woman tells Stephanie Bell how her new book takes multi-tasking to new levels - delivering a fitter and more toned you, as well as a clean home

She is a former Vogue model-turned-author who has found a novel way to stay slim and fit - by cleaning her house! Patience Bradley has just published her third book in which she hopes to turn tackling mundane household chores into a new fitness craze.

In her tome Housework Workout, Patience brings a fun and healthy twist to dreaded everyday tasks such as vacuuming and washing the dishes.

As someone who hates the gym, her home-based workouts became her way of keeping slim and healthy and now she wants to show everyone that you can get fit at home without having to splash out on gadgets or expensive gym membership.

She says: "I wanted to prove that it's possible to get fit and healthy from the comfort of your own home and without having to spend money on equipment, memberships and clothing.

"All my life I've used working around the house as a method of keeping fit and not only does it help me retain a healthy body but also a healthy mind.

"Now I have a wonderful balance when it comes to my health and I've found a fitness programme that allows me to have a hectic lifestyle and a tidy home. What better way to work out than in the comfort of your own home?"

Patience not only gives the reader a new workout programme but her book contains advice on how best to keep weight off and maintain a healthy approach to fitness and exercise.

She brings a wealth of expertise to the book, having counselled many women and men on weight loss as a psychotherapist.

She also learnt the hard way how to have a healthy relationship with diet and exercise, having struggled for many years with an eating disorder brought on by her early modelling career.

It was her anorexia which prompted her to go to Queen's University, Belfast to study psychology.

Patience had kept her illness hidden from even close friends for decades, speaking about it for the first time just a few years ago to a fellow psychotherapist when she confided that she had written a book about her experience.

Thanks to her colleague persuading her to share her story, her book - My Secret is Out - was published six years ago and has helped countless people struggling with eating disorders.

This busy woman, who doesn't reveal her age but admits to being born in the Sixties, also takes a weekly dance class for the over-50s every Wednesday in the Salvation Army Hall on Belfast's Cregagh Road. As well as that, she runs dog obedience classes.

She lives in Holywood with Ivor, her husband of 35 years, and their Chihuahuas.

Patience has led a fascinating life which she shared in her recent autobiography Where Do You Go To My Lovely, published just last year.

Born and raised in Belfast, she was just 14 when she was noticed by Vogue and given a modelling contract in London.

She went on to star in some of the most iconic advertising campaigns of the Eighties, including the Brutus Jeans advert, the Bounty advert and also for a range of high street fashion chains including Topshop.

It catapulted her into a celebrity world where for the next few years she rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, making friends among the Hollywood jet set.

She shared a house with the niece of movie legend Richard Burton, was friends with Starsky and Hutch star David Soul and partied at Oliver Reed's house.

When her teenage friends were glued to the TV for the weekly edition of Top of the Pops, a young Patience was starring on stage as part of the iconic dance group Legs & Co.

Her revelation about her dance days with the famous group caused a furore on social media when her book was published last year.

A former member, Sue Menhenick, claimed Patience had never been a member of Legs & Co.

Used to the competitive world of top modelling Patience wasn't in the least upset or surprised by the comments.

And she certainly hasn't lost any sleep over it. She says: "I know what I did. People are going to be people. You can do very little about what people say about you and even less about what they think of you. To me it is not worth worrying about."

With the silky skills of a real showbiz trooper, Patience, who makes for an engaging and entertaining interviewee, deftly swings the conversation back round to her new book, which understandably she is keen to promote.

The tome is full of advice on diet and preparing your mindset for getting ready to tackle her workout.

For Patience, it is all about attitude and she devotes a large section of her book to persuading the reader of the benefits of a positive mindset.

"I've always been one of those people who believes that if you can learn to love yourself, you can be as you would like to be," she says.

"The problem is women all want things the hard way, they won't accept anything easy. You never hear a man complaining that he can't have a piece of cake but women do all the time.

"Unless they are doing something hard like going to a gym and pounding and pounding, women don't think they deserve to be thin and look better.

"My way is an easy way. It costs you nothing, you are in the house and every time you do a little bit of housework all you have to do is concentrate on parts of your body. For example, when you are cleaning the sink, if you hold your tummy in you would be amazed how that helps.

"Also, diets do not work. If diets worked there would never be a new one. The other thing that women don't realise is it takes about 18 months before your body accepts something new.

"As a psychotherapist, I can get weight off anyone, that's not the problem. The problem is keeping it off and the reason for this is that your body will fight hook, line and sinker to go back to the way it was and it will do everything in its power to achieve that. It doesn't want to change, you want to change.

"It does take about 18 months for your body to accept what you want it to be. The one way - the only way - is to get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say 'I love you, I am going to be good to you today'.

"If you can do that, then your body will respond and do what it is meant to do. That is my biggest tip - once you start loving yourself your body will work itself into pleasing you rather than the other way round.

"Not everyone can be thin but you can achieve a weight that is acceptable to you and your body and that you can love.

"Until you are happy with yourself now, nothing can change."

Patience insists that there are no bad foods and says the only food that you should not eat is food that has gone off. In fact, she argues that trying to deny yourself certain foods will only make you crave them more.

She believes that the reason why obesity has become such a problem is because people are eating too much.

For Patience, it probably helps that she loves housework and she hopes that anyone who doesn't will find a fresh new approach by combining it with the exercises in her workout programme. Her exercises are designed to be easily adopted into everyday life.

"It's not all about housework, " she says. "There are lots of things you have to do every day - you have to go to the loo, you have to clean your teeth and you have to brush your hair and if you do it with a mindset that you are actually using your body you will get thinner."

Some of her many exercises include walking up and down stairs at a brisk pace, which burns around 500 calories per hour.

To turn this in to a toning exercise, Patience advises going up two stairs at a time, but at a slower pace, so that it becomes a controlled strength exercise rather than a cardio one.

When cleaning mirrors or windows you can exercise your lungs by taking deep breaths out on to the mirror and then exercise your arms by using vigorous movements to clean it off.

Patience advises wiping and drying in circular motions while using alternative arms.

Hoovering is another dreaded household chore which doesn't appear so bad when you realise that an hour's vacuuming can burn 190 calories. Patience suggests taking it even further by including lunge motions.

A perfect advertisement for her own programme, she adds: "Housework Workout has helped me to feel generally better within myself; I feel happier, fitter and generally have more energy.

"In fact, when I started doing it consciously I found that I was sleeping better, saving money and there was less guilt when I decided to allow myself a treat. And, of course, I had the added benefit of having a clean house."

The Housework Workout by Patience Bradley is edited by Tina Calder. The book is £9.99 and available on Amazon, Kobo and direct from www.excaliburpress.co.uk/store/product

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