Shirley Ballas discusses how her judging on Strictly has changed

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Shirley Ballas dons sequins and sparkles every weekend for Strictly Come Dancing and while many may think she oozes confidence on a Saturday night, the former professional dance champion has revealed how she struggles with self-esteem. Like many people, Shirley put on weight during lockdown but after refusing to buy new clothes that fit her, she overhauled her life and embarked on an intense fitness regime to drop the excess pounds. 

Speaking about her body issues, Shirley said: “I have struggled with my self-esteem all my life. I’ve done all sorts to try to make myself feel more confident.

“I had my teeth straightened and fat drained out of my arms and legs; I thought doing my boobs would make my husband at the time like me more, but I was doing it for the wrong reasons.” 

Back in 2019, Shirley underwent a procedure to have her DD breast implants removed following a cancer scare. 

The four-and-a-half hour operation saw the star return to her natural A cup and this is when her mindset changed towards her appearance. 

Shirley added: “Well I think you can’t always go by what you see. 

“I have struggled with body issues all my life. Since I can remember. I have a curvy figure. I’m not stick thin.

“What I’m learning now is to love yourself and how you are and how you’re made,” she told Prima magazine. 

Instead, Shirley puts health and fitness before beauty standards. 

Last year, the famous dancer, like many adults in the UK, put on a few pounds during the lockdowns. 

She spoke about this, saying: “I went to visit my mother and she opened the door and said: ‘My goodness, who’s been eating all the cookies?

“I’d gained 20 pounds. I [couldn’t] get into my clothes and I refuse to buy more.”

In a bid to lose the extra weight, Shirley worked out with Cara Stubbington, also a former dancer, now an online personal trainer for a minimum of one hour, six days a week.

The head judge explained what exercises they did. 

She said: “We do lots of arms and abs and we do a lot to lift my 60-year-old bottom so nothing is dropping all over the stage. 

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“She helps me tone all my bits and bobs. If it bobs, she tones it.” 

In a previous blog post on her website, Cara explains how she focuses on exercising, eating a balanced diet and never weighing herself. 

This lifestyle is something Shirley is also an advocate for. 

Appearing on Loose Women in the past, Shirley said: “For 50 years of my life I never weighed myself at all, I would go by how my clothes fit.” 

In terms of what diet Shirley followed, she previously revealed she followed the intermittent fasting plan. 

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. 

It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.

Shirley explained how she would only eat between 12pm and 6pm every day. 

All these efforts are so she can feel the very best when she “walks out on camera”. 

“You want to feel good in the clothes you’ve got on,” she commented. 

“It’s not about what somebody else thinks about you, it’s about what I feel like in my own clothes in my own skin.”

Shirley Ballas is the front cover star of January’s issue of Prima magazine which is on sale from December, 2. 

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