From the iconic ‘Sharongate’ love triangle to an affair with her own adoptive brother, it’s fair to say EastEnders’ Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) has endured some twists and turns in life. Away from Walford, actress Letitia Dean has also undergone some significant transformations in her time, with her staggering weight loss journey leaving fans stunned.
Clad in a chic white jumpsuit at this year’s National Television Awards, the 55-year-old cut a striking figure, and fans noticed she was looking considerably slimmer. In recent times, Letitia, who has played Sharon since the very first EastEnders episode back in February 1985, has been busily prioritising her health and wellbeing – and the results are clear to see.
The legendary soap star has managed to shed two stone over the past year alone, going from 10 stone 4lbs to 8 stone 3lbs, and has even dropped an astonishing four dress sizes in just four months. Opening up about her fitness journey, Letitia says giving up one all-too-relatable vice helped her achieve her svelte new look.
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Changing her diet, Letitia now enjoys plenty of “grilled skinless chicken” plus “lots of greens”, and has made sure to ditch the junk food that had been sapping away at her energy. According to the actor: “It was incredible. I found I had so much more energy than when I used to eat junk food.”
Like many people, it took a while for Letitia to find the right regime for her, and she admits to having tried “faddy diets” in the past that just didn’t stick. After appearing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 however, Letitia felt motivated to make a long-term positive lifestyle change. Letitia told Closer: “It started with Strictly Come Dancing because I felt great by the end of the show and the live tour. But the main reason I wanted to do something about my figure was that I was so sick of extreme dieting and my weight yo-yoing. I just woke up one morning, and I’d had enough. For years and years – as long as I can remember – my weight had yo-yoed up and down. I’d go on fad diets like Atkins or I’d only eat eggs.”
Although Letitia did manage to “lose a stone in a couple of weeks” through these types of gruelling diets, this didn’t prove to be sustainable, and she would inevitably fall back into her own ways after a while, piling “it all on again”. Nowadays, Letitia sticks to a well-balanced diet, keeping to 1,300 calories a day, and compliments her healthy eating regime with exercises such as running and boxercise.
As per the NHS website, the recommended calorie intake, generally speaking, is around 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,500 calories per day for men. Nutrition experts advise having a healthy, balanced approach to food, with people encouraged to eat “a wide variety of foods in the right proportions”, while staying hydrated with plenty of fluids.
This includes eating a minimum of five portions of fruit and veg every day and cooking meals based around higher fibre starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, pasta, or rice. Proteins like beans, pulses, eggs, fish, and meat should also be incorporated into a balanced diet, as should either dairy products or non-dairy alternatives.