What do actress Jennifer Ellison, EastEnders star Riley Carter Millington and X Factor singer Stevi Ritchie all have in common?
No, they’re not all heading into the Celebrity Big Brother house. They are kicking off the New Year by facing up to their demons in new TLC series Celebrity Fat Fighters.
Perfectly timed to help deal with the post-Christmas bulge, the reality series features 7 stars who want to take on an extreme weight-loss challenge and deal with their emotional baggage and cravings at a brutal boot camp.
Russian taskmaster and boutique boot camp owner Galia Grainger believes that she can whip anyone into shape and we caught up with the outspoken fitness guru and star of the show to discover why when it comes to fighting the flab with Galia, "resistance is futile".
How did Galia start in the industry?
I was a prison warden…. That’s a joke!
I was extremely overweight myself, I was young and slim and I started putting on weight and then I became obese. I couldn’t address it so then I asked for help. I went to this place and that place, but nothing I was doing was really working, so I decided to go back to basics and the way my grandmother was eating and lived her life. After following her rules, I lost all that weight.
Some people don’t want to go to a yoga retreat, drink juices and do exercise. Some people don’t want to go to Boot Camps and exercise for 25 hours. I wanted to make a place where people could go and detox their bodies and minds. That programme didn’t exist, so I created it. I break conventions.
(Stevi Ritchie breaking the rules on Celebrity Fat Fighters)
Did Galia go easy on the celebrities?
They were petrified! They were scared. Maybe not enough as they were sometimes a little bit naughty, but they all followed the programme and did all the classes. Nobody left the retreat because they couldn’t cope or skipped a class.
They all ate the food and they all lost weight. Whether they liked it or not or whether they liked me or not – that’s another matter. But all I care about is that they came to me for help and that’s exactly what I did.
Naturally, people will try to break the boundaries, but I’ve seen it all before. Naughty people will always be punished and there are always consequences for naughty behavior and they will learn very quickly.
How is Galia different to other keep-fit gurus?
I don’t find it hard to be tough to anyone because I’ve been there myself. I know how these people feel when they’re hungry, hangry and are suffering sugar-withdrawal.
My help is different to other people. Nutriotinists will suggest you eat this or that. I just put the plate in front of them and say eat it, and eat all of it because you don’t know what the next meal is going to be like.
We’re healing with the food. We allow the body to do self-healing by eating less. We are also cleansing the body with a specialised detox menu. It’s quite unique and very basic.
(Jennifer Ellison is taking on Celebrity Fat Fighters)
Can Galia make us look like Hollywood stars?
The gorgeous Oscar-winning actresses don’t look like that because they don’t invest in their body and mind. They don’t look like that in their evening gowns because they go home and eat McDonalds.
They go to the gym, they eat healthy, they practice portion control, they drink water, it is hard work.
You can do it yourself, you just need the will power. If you don’t have the discipline, come to me and I’ll whip it into you. I hope when people finish with me, they’ll see the rewards and that will motivate them to keep it up.
Some words of wisdom from Galia:
"You want to detox your body? You want to lose weight? Do it. If you don’t have self-discipline, I will whip you into shape."
"You have to burn to earn."
"What goes in will show out. I give people the tools."
"What doesn’t kill you makes you thinner."
"I train you hard, I ring the bell, you do as I tell, for your own good."
Celebrity Fat Fighters airs 9pm tonight (Wednesday, January 4) on TLC, BT TV 323/377 HD.
Catch up on episodes you’ve missed from 7pm on TLC or on BT TV Catch-Up throughout January.