Woman, 31, reveals incredible transformation after losing 4st

Woman, 31, reveals her incredible transformation after losing 4st and reducing her PCOS symptoms thanks to counting calories and a gruelling fitness routine

  • Scarlett Harvey, 31, from England, weighed 13 stone and felt uncomfortable 
  • But after learning about her PCOS, Scarlett set about changing her lifestyle
  • Scarlett, who lives in Dubai, lost an incredible four and a half stone

A woman has revealed how she lost four and a half stone and reduced her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms after overhauling her diet and exercise routine.  

In 2018, Scarlett Harvey, 31, from England, weighed 13 stone and felt uncomfortable and self-conscious about her appearance – despite portraying a confident and bubbly image to others.

After trying a number of crash diets including cutting out carbohydrates, the young woman still couldn’t shift the weight, which she credits to bad eating habits as a teenager when she was bullied at school because of her bigger frame. 

But after learning about her PCOS diagnosis, a hormone imbalance affecting women that can lead to acne, infertility and difficulty losing weight, Scarlett, who lived in Dubai, set about changing her lifestyle.

As well as eating healthier and calorie counting, Scarlett discovered Muay Thai – a boxing and martial art sport that became key to her transformation – and lost an incredible four and a half stone, and even won a Dubai Muscle Show Bodybuilding competition. 


In 2018, Scarlett Harvey (pictured right in 2020), 31, from England, weighed 13 stone (pictured left) and felt uncomfortable and self-conscious about her appearance – despite portraying a confident and bubbly image to others

After trying a number of crash diets including cutting out carbohydrates, the young woman  (pictured in 2020) still couldn’t shift the weight, which she credits to bad eating habits as a teenager when she was bullied at school because of her bigger frame

‘I remember coming home from school and just eating rubbish, like Wagon Wheels and penguin bars, peanut butter on bread and endless bags of crisps, and then hiding the wrappers as I was ashamed,’ Scarlett said.

‘I was also bullied at secondary school for my fat legs – which were not fat, they were just strong and muscly. But as a self-conscious teen, I didn’t see that and the very unflattering school uniform didn’t cater for teen girls and their changing bodies.’

In 2009, Scarlett’s eating habits changed slightly for the better as she became a teacher and was too busy to go out for lunch or snack on treats – mostly making meals at home and taking them with her to work.

Unfortunately, when she moved to Dubai in 2015 for a teaching position, she fell back into an unhealthy eating routine – finding it easy to get guilty pleasures delivered at any time of day or night.

She said: ‘I had always been outwardly confident, high energy and bubbly and just living life to the fullest. 


But after learning about her PCOS diagnosis, a hormone imbalance affecting women that can lead to acne, infertility and difficulty losing weight, Scarlett (pictured left before her weight loss, and right, after), who lived in Dubai, set about changing her lifestyle

As well as eating healthier and calorie counting, Scarlett (pictured in 2021) discovered Muay Thai – a boxing and martial art sport that became key to her transformation – and lost an incredible four and a half stone


Scarlett (pictured left before her weight loss, and right, after) even won a Dubai Muscle Show Bodybuilding competition

‘However, inwardly, since the start of 2017, I began feeling a little uncomfortable in my body and by the end of that year, I was very uncomfortable within my own skin.

‘I was constantly overeating, anxious, self-conscious, unhappy and generally slipping down a downward spiral of negative self-image and mental health.

‘In 2018, I was on a mission to drop some weight in the six weeks before my holiday but did this without educating myself and used the classic method of just simply cutting out the carbs.

‘This classic method turned into the classic mistake that most people make, as when I went on holiday, and ate carbs and drank alcohol, I gained back more weight than I had lost.’

Fed up with the diets that never worked and feeling unhappy with her body, Scarlett decided to try something new, joining a local gym and doing 30-minute boxing classes every day.

In 2009, Scarlett’s eating habits changed slightly for the better as she became a teacher and was too busy to go out for lunch or snack on treats – mostly making meals at home and taking them with her to work. Pictured, Scarlett in 2020


Unfortunately, when she moved to Dubai in 2015 for a teaching position, Scarlett (pictured) fell back into an unhealthy eating routine – finding it easy to get guilty pleasures delivered at any time of day or night

This proved to be life-changing for the former teacher, who soon changed her entire approach to weight loss.

She said: ‘I loved this class because 30 minutes was sustainable to my lifestyle at the time and the gym was only a 200m walk from my front door.

‘It was an excellent release for my lifestyle pressures and pent up emotions as well as my mental health and when I was there, the coach asked me: “You’ve lost weight before, why did you give up? When will you give up this time?”

‘That stuck with me and I thought: “I will not give up this time! I lost 13 pounds in six weeks.”

But in June 2018, Scarlett was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance which can make weight loss more difficult, and bring around stress, anxiety and dietary intolerances.

Fed up with the diets that never worked and feeling unhappy with her body, Scarlett (pictured) decided to try something new, joining a local gym and doing 30-minute boxing classes every day

After learning about her diagnosis, the young woman set about changing her lifestyle – including everything from food to fitness – but started by removing her birth control implant, which she believes contributed to her fluctuating weight. 

In July 2018, Scarlett flew to Thailand to join a five-week fitness retreat, where she discovered Muay Thai – a boxing and martial art sport that became key to her body transformation.

Although she lost no weight during her time there, the physical and mental challenges spurred her on to find a local Muay Thai coach in Dubai and continue her training. Within six weeks of returning home, she had dropped a stone.

She said: ‘I noticed through all of this that I began making changes to my mindset. I stopped eating out and drinking at rooftop bars and was doing one-on-one sessions of Muay Thai.

‘I also realised that late nights, lack of sleep and alcohol did not make me feel good, both physically and mentally.’


This proved to be life-changing for the former teacher (pictured left, before her weight loss, and right, after), who soon changed her entire approach to weight loss

By January 2019, Scarlett had lost 33 pounds and, feeling passionate about her new sport, decided to enter the transformation category of the Dubai Muscle Show Bodybuilding expedition – and won.

During her training, the young woman spent three months learning how to accurately calorie count and balance macro-nutrients in her meals, which saw her lose another stone.

WHAT IS POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.

The three main features of PCOS are:

  • Irregular periods – which means the ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation). This can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
  • Excess androgen – high levels of ‘male hormones’ in the body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair.
  • Polycystic ovaries – the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts).

Source: NHS Choices  

She said: ‘Being a short girl at 5.1ft, I was told that I would need to drop as much weight as possible to fit into the smallest weight class possible.

‘This was to give me the best chance as Muay Thai fighters are usually quite slender and lean with long arms and legs to punch and kick. 

‘I managed to drop another six pounds by myself following my own advice and then I decided to seek professional help and invested my money into nutrition support.’

In November 2020, Scarlett also entered the Dubai Muscle Beach competition and came in at second place.

Her fitness accomplishments aren’t the only positive from the new lifestyle; the trainer’s last two PCOS check-ups have also come back clear and she has no symptoms and no cysts.

She said: ‘I could have stopped there, I was very happy with my achievements and my body and health, having completely overcome PCOS too. 

‘However, when I had proved to myself that I could go that far, it set a fire inside me to see how much further I could take it.’

The fitness lover is now a pro bodybuilder, athlete and transformation coach, helping others to get fit.

As for her diet, Scarlett follows a flexible diet plan which means she can eat whatever she likes as long as it fits into the daily caloric target and macro-nutrient target set by her coach.

She added: ‘I do not crave anything and enjoy eating a clean and healthy diet following the 90/10 rule – eating 90 per cent clean with 10 per cent treats to satisfy my desires. 

‘Occasionally I’ll eat steak and when I am off work and have more time, I will make meatballs, homemade chicken burgers, homemade pizza and cottage pie. As for treats, I love French toast, pancakes or muffins from the local coffee shop.

‘I am very creative in the kitchen and can basically make anything I fancy in a clean sugar-free, dairy-free version! I love to bake cookies and banana bread too.’

Scarlett has documented her transformation on Instagram @little_red_dynamite and also runs a podcast called With Purpose, where talks about her transformation journey.

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