Milestone birthdays and wanting to be good wellness role models for their three children inspired Kelly and Alan Corbett to overhaul their health and weight.
he husband and wife from Dromore have lost close to five stone between them but found an increased lease of life and a taste for running, having previously not ran since their schooldays.
The couple, owners of Corbett Haulage have been married since 2008, are turning 40 this year and seven months ago, discovered the Cinch Fast 30 programme on Instagram, started by Angela Hunter and Nicola McIlhagger.
“Like anybody, I suppose, you get to this stage where you’re just fed up,” says Kelly.
“I tried all these different diets and came across the Cinch Fast 30. I knew girls who had started it and thought it was really interesting.
“I joined Slimming World or tried to calorie count and Alan has always done it with me, but you never stick at it.
“We decided, let’s do something about this and the rest is history. We just jumped on board.
“It felt totally different because it wasn’t like your usual other diets, your calorie counting, you weren’t weighing, you weren’t measuring. It was just you were choosing your window, your time frame to eat.”
“I was also getting fed up with weight, feeling sluggish and just overweight. And it was more of a health kick for me too,” says Alan.
“And I have tried other weight loss plans but this is like nothing I’ve tried before; it really is very easy to follow and like second nature now.”
Cinch Fast 30 focuses on health first and challenges diet culture. The plan introduces the concept of Intermittent Fasting with a whole food approach to eating, designed to help with weight loss and boost wellbeing.
Insulin production is reduced, encouraging the body to use energy in stored fat cells, promoting weight loss.
Short periods of fasting help promote autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
The Cinch plan doesn’t specify which foods to eat, rather when to eat them, changing the timing of meals and counting the goodness in food, not the calories.
“As the days went on, I adapted to it and so did Alan; it honestly just became like second nature,” says Kelly.
“There was no thinking about it. There was no, I can only have this, there’s only so many sins in this. Nothing is restricted. That’s what we like about it.
“I had a banging sore head in the first day. But you’ve got the WhatsApp group, which is absolutely fantastic, and I’ve seen everyone had been putting in and out saying, I’d a really sore head.
“Nicola and Angela were on hand; as soon as you drop a text message, one of them comes straight back to you. And they said, up your water, it’s just your body adjusting.
“I would say honestly, by day three or four, I was on the swing of it. It’s honestly just came second nature. There was just no thinking about things. And I was being prepared for mealtimes and then I shut my window tight at six o’clock.
“Believe it or not, with Alan driving, he adjusted really well too. I was actually shocked at how quickly he adjusted.”
Kelly opts for either 18:6 plan or a 20:4; husband Alan has a longer window given his role as a haulage driver.
The couple removed milk from their coffees but that, and swapping pasta and rice for whole-wheat versions, were the only changes made to the Corbetts’ cupboards.
The Corbetts live in a busy household, with each of their three children actively involved in sport.
Son Jake (20) is a signed Linfield player, currently on loan with Harland and Wolff Welders. He has represented Northern Ireland and has international caps.
“We’ve never once had to say, right, do you want to try football? Do you want to try rugby?” says Kelly of her eldest son.
“From when Jake could walk, he had a football at his feet and there was just something about it, we just thought, right, this kid’s really going to go down this line here.”
Daughter Abbie (16) is an elite gymnast at Salto gymnastics club and a senior on the Gymnastics Ireland squad.
“Whenever Abbie came along, I always thought it’s going to be gymnastics or dance, I’ll see which one she’s interested in,” says Kelly.
“I used to do both, never to her standard or level. We had swimming lessons one day in Lisburn and she kept saying, ‘Mummy, what’s that building?’ I said it was gymnastics.
“She went there one day, and she’s been there ever since.
“And Zac, he’s only 12, he’s only coming through the ranks so to speak,” Kelly continues of her youngest son, who is currently a striker at Dromara Village FC.
Like their children, Kelly and Alan also got active, walking 5km every day and incorporating running into their exercise regime.
“We did our first 5km run at Stormont for the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association. We hadn’t run properly since we left school,” laughs Kelly.
The couple also feel the mental health benefits of being more active.
“A million per cent, getting out and getting that fresh air. We try to go different places, could be Hillsborough Forest Park, it could be just around our local roads.
“If Abbie’s training and we haven’t got out earlier that day, me and Alan will head down to Lisburn, and we’ll walk out half of our 5K walk and do things like that.
“It’s definitely good for the head space, and good for Alan to get out of a lorry which he’s driven all day.
“I used to never, ever sleep,” she continues. “I would have been like a tosser and a turner. I could have gone to bed at 11pm and still been on my phone at 1am. Now, I honestly am ready for bed at 10 o’clock, 10.30pm. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out.”
“The loss of weight has helped me feel better in general all over and I have so much more energy,” says Alan. “It’s much easier and more enjoyable to go for walks now and not struggle.”
Losing four-and-a-half stone between them, the couple are keen to stress that they’ve never hungry reframing food as fuel.
“It is actually so amazing how your mind-set completely changes. You’ve got this little thing in your head saying I’m hungry, I need this.
“One day last week, I really needed a comfort. I said to myself, ‘Kelly, no you don’t’. I poured myself a glass of water. And I said I actually was just thirsty; it sometimes is just in your head.
“My slow cooker is constantly on; I’ve bought a new air fryer and I’m making pretty much a lot of fake away meals and my whole family is benefitting from it.
“It’s working for all five of us. We’re trying to be a good advocate for them and show them at home, eating good and healthy reflects on you and training you do as well.
“Our kids are so fit and healthy and two of them are at a high level of sport. I don’t want to be the two fat parents standing on the sideline cheering for our kid. At least now, we feel we’ve achieved something, we feel fit and healthy with them.”
Alan agrees. “We like our food, and we never really did live out of the freezer anyway, and now we have more recipes for meals.
“Because the kids are so sporty and so active, it’s now good for me to feel much fitter and able to join in with them and not feel breathless.”
Visit www.cinchfast30.com. The course starts at £49.99. Please consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet particularly if you are on medication for an illness.