Sporty police officer becomes a “lean, mean, fighting machine” at 51 after losing 60lb in 10 months thanks to app used by cycling champ Chris Froome

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A sporty police officer who piled on four stone in the perimenopause says she is now a “lean, mean, fighting machine” at 51 – after her weight plunged by nearly 60lb in 10 months, thanks to an app favoured by her cycling hero Chris Froome.

Plagued by low mood, anxiety and weight gain, as her hormones changed in the run-up to the menopause, despite being a fan of fitness, Maria Fox, 51, saw her weight suddenly soar to 14st 10lb.

Now a qualified fitness instructor, she admits her relationship with food had never been ideal and, with a tendency to gain weight, she had tried diets and seen her dress size plummet in the past, but had found it hard to sustain.

Maria before her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria before her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

Hitting rock bottom when she turned 50 in September 2020, the police officer of 27-years, finally changed her eating habits and conquered her weight problem using a £299 high-tech handheld weight loss device called a Lumen – which Chris Froome has used to “better understand” how his body uses food eaten pre and post workouts.

Single Maria, of Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, said: “My weight has been a lifelong problem – despite always being a sporty person.

“When I hit the perimenopause, before I knew it I’d put on 4st in four years.”

She added: “I felt rubbish and unattractive, so when I saw Lumen advertised on Facebook, I decided to give it a go.

“Now, I feel amazing. I’m slimmer than I was at school! It’s quite unbelievable.”

At her biggest, 5ft 8in Maria weighed 14st 10lb, wore a dress size 18 to 20, and had a body mass index (BMI) used to gauge a healthy weight, of 31.2, compared to the NHS healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9 – making her obese.

Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

Now a 10st 7lb size eight to 10, with a healthy BMI of 22.4, she feels as fit as she did as a young woman when she played netball for the county, as well as enjoying hockey and football.

Despite being active, she admits she has always struggled to stay slim.

She said: “When I joined the police in 1994 I had to lose weight.”

  • Breakfast - skipped breakfast or porridge

  • Lunch - skipped lunch or chicken and veg or soup, or grazed on snacks, samosas, and fast food

  • Dinner - meal such as Chinese or Indian takeaways, leftovers of pasta or rice dishes, as well grazing on crisps, peanuts, biscuits and a couple of glasses of wine.

  • Exercise - indoor or outdoor cycling five times a week.

She added: “I dropped two stone and joined weighing 11st 7lb.”

Gaining weight again in her early thirties, she began to yo-yo diet.

“I would put weight on, then lose it again, then put it back on,” she said.

She added: “In my early forties, I lost a lot of weight on a Rosemary Conley low-fat diet, which was great but not a sustainable way to live for me.

“Then, between 2015 and 2019, I slowly gained two-and-a-half stone.

“When I hit the peri-menopause proper, I then gained even more.”

Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

She added: “Before I knew it, I’d put on four stone in four years.

“I was still quite fit and had qualified as an indoor cycle instructor in 2013, so I taught indoor classes, did lots of outdoor cycling and I’m a keen skier.

“But despite being quite aerobically fit, I was pretty overweight.”

And being big was very bad for her self esteem.

She said: “I felt rubbish. It really affected my self-image.

“I didn’t want to buy clothes and didn’t want pictures taken of myself.”

Approaching her doctor for help with the menopause, because she was experiencing low mood and anxiety, she was offered medication.

“The stress was getting unmanageable,” she said.

“I kept going to the doctors and getting offered anti-depressants, but that wasn’t what I wanted.”

Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

Then, when Covid-19 hit in 2020, Maria’s symptoms became even worse.

She said: “I was starting to get bad menopausal stress that was manifesting in physical symptoms.”

Suffering a bout of thrombophlebitis – an inflammatory process causing a blood clot to form and block one or more veins, usually in the legs – her doctor even advised against exercising.

Then, when her heart rate rocketed to 200 bpm while she was sat in a meeting, she was hospitalised.

Given a 48-hour electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor her heart rhythm and electrical activity, it revealed she had super ventricular tachycardia – when the heart suddenly beats much faster than normal – but she later reversed this by losing weight.

“I was taking blood thinners for the clot and was told I mustn’t drink or exercise,” she said.

Maria before her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria before her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

She added: “At this point, I was really overweight and obese – it was a vicious circle.”

Signed off work with stress in October 2020, Maria decided to start prioritising her health.

Buying a Lumen, after seeing it on Facebook, she started following its tailored nutritional plans.

She said: “Chris Froome was using it and I am a keen cyclist, so thought I’d give it a go.

“I’d hit a wall with my nervous system and was signed off work with stress symptoms and burnout.

“It was a pretty dark place for a few months, but I was focusing on my health – food, sleep and exercise.”

  • Breakfast - three-egg omelette with avocado and spinach, or poached eggs, spinach and bacon and mushroom, or oat bran porridge with protein powder, or a protein shake with chia and flax seeds.

  • Snacks - protein bar or protein shake

  • Lunch - prawn salad or chicken salad with avocado or a wholemeal pitta, yellow pea pasta or wholegrain rice

  • Dinner - meat or fish cooked with lots of vegetables and potatoes, yellow pea pasta or wholegrain rice. Has not drunk alcohol since New Year’s Eve.

  • Exercise - strength training three times a week, including core workouts, and indoor and outdoor cycling for five or six hours a week

Following her new nutritional plan, the weight started to come off slowly at first.

“The app gives you a plan every day,” Maria said. “You have a ratio of fats, carbs and proteins to eat daily and it does macro nutrient manipulation – which means your ratios change on a daily basis depending on what you wake up burning as fuel, when you measure your metabolism in the morning.

The programme is designed to make users’ bodies more efficient at burning calories as their bodies adjust to the nutritional plan.

Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

Maria said: “Slowly but surely, in the first month I lost 4lb, but it got quicker over time.

“I then lost 6lb, then 7lb, then in February I lost 8lb.”

Maria also sought private medical advice from the Newson Health clinic, and started taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease her menopausal symptoms.

“I think that’s also helped,” she said. “I can now eat loads. I never feel hungry.”

By May 2021, Maria had lost 50lb – going on to lose 4st by September – and launched a fitness channel on YouTube.

She said: “I feel incredible. I just feel amazing.”

She added: “Every time I walk into a room where I haven’t seen people for a while, their jaws just hit the floor and you can tell they’re thinking, ‘Oh wow’.

“I’ve also got my exercise right and integrated, so now I’m quite lean and defined.

“I’ve not just lost 60lb, I also look like a lean, mean, fighting machine and I look younger than I did a year ago, which is quite unbelievable.”

Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE
Maria after her weight loss. PA REAL LIFE

For the first time ever, Maria also feels she has a truly healthy relationship with food.

She said: “I had a very unhealthy relationship with food.

“I didn’t prioritise eating, as I was so busy. Now my diet is amazing.

“It’s remarkable. I still have to keep looking in the mirror in shock.

“People at work say, ‘You look so well,’ and I say, ‘Yes, I’m not fat anymore!’”

MUST PAR Lumen, is the world’s first handheld, portable device and app that measures your metabolism in real-time with just your breath, giving insight into how efficiently your body is is using fats and carbs for fuel. For more information, visit: https://www.lumen.me/

Follow Maria on Instagram @mariafoxwellness or subscribe to her YouTube channel https://youtube.com/c/MariaFoxWellness

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