Some of you will know Vicky Pattison from Geordie Shore, others from I’m a Celebrity. Now, she’s ditched the reality TV tag and is blazing a trail in the health and fitness world
My lifestyle is always changing; I’m a bit of a lifestyle chameleon! If you think, Geordie Shore started six years ago and I left it three years ago. I won ‘I’m a celebrity’ one year later and the 12 months since have been the busiest of my life. I have experienced numerous challenges in that time but now, being healthy and making the right conscious decisions, it gives me a level of balance and control.
I’m never going to be one of those people up at 5am and off to spinning, but I love the feeling exercise gives us and the cathartic effect of chatting away while I’m training hard. Exercise is the most underused antidepressant in the world and I use it to manage me, myself and my emotions. Everything is manageable when I’m exercising. I’m more measured and everything just seems to fall into place when you’re hitting the gym or training at home. If you go [to the gym] you’re much more likely to have that smoothie. If you don’t go and have that extra 45 minutes in bed instead, it’s easier to let the bad habits back in. Sometimes it’s difficult to find that balance.
Geordie Shore was hardcore and involved five nights a week of aggressive partying. I couldn’t do it now! One night out now renders me completely useless for about three days, and whinging for about five. We were young, excited and high on life, it was completely new territory for all of us. However, it rapidly took its toll on my body. I had always been an attractive size 10 and once Geordie Shore started, it became harder and harder to lose the weight gained in each series.
As the show became increasingly popular MTV wanted to capitalise, so they increased the regularity of the series. By the end it was three a year. A series would last three months in total, which equates to nine months of the year. That gave you three months of the year to pursue other ventures, try and make some money and to see your family and friends. It also only gave you three months to try and lose any weight gained on the show, which got harder as each series went by.
It got to the point where I was 12.5 stone, unhappy, unhealthy and lacking in confidence. I wasn’t enjoying anything. I wasn’t enjoying the nights out; in fact I was drinking just so I could have the confidence to try and enjoy the nights out. It was awful. I was 26, sharing a house with 10 people and I’d just had enough. You’d go in the kitchen and find mouldy cereal bowls. You wouldn’t be able to see the floor for used make-up wipes. I needed to get out.
I needed to grow up, and I certainly couldn’t handle the hangovers! I was then approached to do a fitness DVD, which is the best thing that has ever happened to me, professionally and personally. I wouldn’t be doing this right now if it hadn’t been for that opportunity. I learned a lot about myself doing the DVD, and it proved to be the turning point of my career. I became more mainstream and I started to get a lot more press attention. During Geordie Shore, people just wanted to party with you, or invite you to nightclubs. We never got column inches.
I managed to break through that, which was really hard.
I think, ultimately, people love a transformation piece and an underdog story, and that’s what it was: a girl who had partied too much, had an unhealthy relationship but who was trying to pull herself together through the power of exercise and nutrition.
I lost the weight through a personal trainer and by building my knowledge. I was quite ignorant about what I was eating and how I trained and that’s changing. We’re all becoming more knowledgeable about what we’re eating and how we’re training, and that’s a good thing. Back then, I’d think a pasta salad would do the job, or I’d not eat because I was drinking that night… it was daft. And I’d be eating loads of crap before and after the drinking sessions, it was like a zoo! It was a vicious cycle. When I left [Geordie Shore], I got a personal trainer and nutritionist and I just learned about different types of training and different food groups. It was a slog, but I would train most days, eat right and lay off the booze. I learned a lot about my body, and that’s how I got it off.
The first thing I wanted to do when I lost my weight was go out with my girlfriends and dance – to show off my new body! For a while it was easy to keep it off because it was my sole purpose, but because I got busier, it became harder. There were more trips, more photoshoots and more temptations, so it was hard. The more you have going on in your life the harder it is to stay fit and healthy.
That was when I created the Mini V range, which was my way of creating a convenient way to eat no matter how busy I was. I thought if I was looking for something convenient, loads of other people would be too because my life isn’t half as busy as single or working mums.
I thought there must have been women crying out for something similar.For me personally, I knew that to avoid taking that Danish pastry at the photoshoot I needed to have something else, like a protein shake. Vitamins were key when I was jumping on trains and planes with work, it was all just about another stage of learning.
If you don’t go to the gym it’s easy to think, ‘oh go on then, I’ll have that bacon sandwich’. And when you’ve done that, you’re more likely to go out for a Nandos or get a tub of ice cream. I’m a party girl at heart and the last thing I want to do is to tell people that to lose weight, you’ve got to sit at home and Google the calories in your Nandos chip. If you’re working hard 80 per cent of the time and making the right decisions, then you can go to the likes of Zizzis and Nandos because you can access information about the healthiest options on the menu. That way, it all becomes manageable. Mini V is about being manageable. It should be a lifestyle, something you can do while living.
I always ask myself now, ‘can I maintain this?’ If the answer is no, like the time I considered being a vegan, then I don’t do it. You have to be able to maintain small and simple changes that have positive effects when maintained.
It was amazing because so many opportunities were coming my way and the fitness thing was really starting to take off. However, I was finding it hard to strike a balance between work and life. I’d be in Tokyo one week, Italy the next, then in Iceland or doing a book tour, and all the time you’re thinking, ‘yeah I need to fit in a spin here’. By the end of the year I was running on caffeine, sass and negative thoughts. I had nothing left in the locker. I’ve promised myself that while last year it was imperative to work hard professionally, I’m not going to do another one like it. I’d rather be happy and healthy.
This year is all about what I say ‘no’ to rather than what I take on. I’m going to take a year out and spoil the people that have always been there for us, and take the jobs that really excite me. I want to live right and train hard. Last year I lived to work, now I’m going to work to live.
I know I need to stop being so sensitive about these things, particularly comments on social media, but it’s hard. I tell people that if they’re getting abused on social media it says more about those making the comments, but it’s hard when it’s you receiving the criticism. When they’re attacking your body, you do start to wonder what you’ve done to offend people. I never like getting my picture taken and I don’t like criticism because I’m a perfectionist. Whatever people aim at me, it’s nothing compared to what I’ve said to myself. I try and be nice to others because I believe you get back what you give out.
No! And I wouldn’t want to. I look back at the sugary booze I was having and it’s no wonder I was going around like a mad woman. We used to do double vodka Red Bulls washed down with Jaegerbombs. That’s about 500 calories in two drinks! I have three gin and tonics now and I’m happy with that. I love the changes I’ve made to my body and lifestyle, so I guess that’s come with maturity.
I did it to help me cope with the demands of everyday life initially. I wanted products that didn’t stop me doing anything and which helped me make sensible decisions. So, now I can take some of my crisp replacements or my supplements and have those instead of a takeaway sandwich, which probably has no nutritional value and has been on the shelf for ages. And which tastes disgusting. All of my products fit in your bag and are aimed at convenience.
The brand grew and we added more products, like the teatoxes, and they’re all aimed at making small changes to your life. The subscription service helps people do things like a HIIT session in their pyjamas at home before they go to work. People can also find recipes and how-to-eat guides. It’s how to live better, on demand!
I needed to lose a bit of weight at the start of the year, so I started 2017 with a juice-cleansing camp, a bootcamp and a personal trainer. Now, I just do 20-minute sessions three times a week in my front room. That’s it.
Winning the Jungle was the best thing that happened to me. If you’re in reality TV you’re often viewed as a talentless nitwit who has done nothing to deserve the public adulation. Most people didn’t really know who I was when I went into the Jungle, and I feel I made a nation see who I was. I was just myself, so it was nice to turn any prejudice and negativity into something more positive. It can be hard to change people’s perceptions of you.
Losing sight of who I was on Geordie Shore was my lowest moment. The show went so fast that it swept me up. I became a caricature of myself. I’d say things for a cheap laugh, acting a way I knew people expected me to act rather than doing what I wanted to do.
WIN WIN WIN
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Mini V, a range including a very successful collection of protein shakes, tea-tox’s, protein snacks and food supplements, now has a subscription service including workout videos, recipes, cooking tutorials (with nutritionist Anthea McCourtie) and diet plans all approved and used by Vicky herself daily.
This fitness and lifestyle programme is a natural and welcome extension from Vicky’s Mini V protein and supplements range available at: