United Kingdom

Eat, Shop, Save: Family saves £550 and lose stone in 8 weeks

A junk food-loving family who live on 'beige fried foods' and fear their finances are getting out of control due to impulse buys have revealed how they turned their health - and their spending - around in just eight weeks.

Sergio and Fatima Paiva live with their daughters Helena, 16, and Victoria, four, in Southport, and appear on ITV's Eat, Shop, Save tonight, completing a two month challenge to become healthier and more sensible with their money.

The family live on fish and chips, chicken nuggets, and pasta, along with lashings of mayonnaise and pasta, with Fatima spending £160 every six weeks on diet pills she buys online - despite not knowing what they contain.

After discovering they have spent £3,502 on impulse buys such as gym equipment and a fancy camera they have never used, she starts writing down any urges she has to shop - saving £400 in eight weeks. Along with their new healthy diet and ditching the diet pills, she saves £560 and drops a stone in two months.

Sergio and Fatima Paiva live with their daughters Helena, 16, and Victoria, four, in Southport, and appear on ITV's Eat, Shop, Save tonight, completing a two month challenge to become healthier and more sensible with their money

Kicking off the show, Fatima admits: 'Our whole diet is based around deep fried fast food. I've tried every diet under the sun and spend £160 every six weeks on diet pills.

'I take three pills a day but don't know what's in them. I lie about how much I spend - when something costs £80 I may say it was £10'.

A concerned Sergio adds: 'We only eat vegetables probably once a month. I worry about Fatima's health and want her to be healthy. I also worry about our finances'. 

Presenter Ranvir sends in top chef Dale Pinnock, savvy shopper Kate Hardcastle, and personal trainer Tom Pitfield to put them on an eight week challenge.

After discovering they have spent £3,502 on impulse buys such as gym equipment and a fancy camera they have never used, she starts writing down any urges she has to shop - saving £400 in eight weeks

Self confessed yo-yo dieter Fatima admits she has tried lots of drastic diets over the years, including a time when she lost five stone in five months. 

Investigating the label-free diet pills she buys on the internet from abroad, Dale sends them to a lab to be tested and discovers they include diazepam, antidepressants, caffeine and laxatives. 

Dale exclaims: 'I have to admit I'm quite surprised by what we've actually found in these pills, it's a really really confusing and quite vast cocktail of really really strong pharmaceutical drugs. 

'These things can have some very very strong profound effects on your brain chemistry. You need to make your GP aware that you're taking these'.

Dale tells Fatima that when it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race, and the quick fixes have got to go. 

Savvy shopper Kate Hardcastle challenges Fatima to stop the spending by writing down anything she sees that she wants to buy in a little pink book, and holding off any purchases for thirty days

Dale believes that to break the yo yo diet effect, he needs to inspire Fatima to ditch the fast food and get back into the kitchen to learn how to make tasty and healthy food from scratch. 

He kicks off with a nutritious dish packed with flavour: Cod and chorizo skewers with a tabbouleh salad. And it's a hit with the whole family.

Baking instead of frying, he leaves a healthy recipe book with the family, which they put into action immediately, and includes plenty of fresh vegetables, couscous, lean meat and salads.

Designing a weekly food menu and shop, Fatima says of their new diet: 'It's like someone's opened a new door for a new journey.'

Next savvy shopper Kate Hardcastle confronts Fatima's online shopping habits, counting up the pricey impulse purchases and revealing they add up to a whopping £3,502. 

She challenges Fatima to stop the spending by writing down anything she sees that she wants to buy in a little pink book, and holding off any purchases for thirty days. 

She explains that this simple trick forces you to find out how much you really need something, and by adding up the money you would've spent, you can feel excitement for how much you are saving, instead of spending.

Next, it's down to personal trainer Tom Pitfield to get the family moving more, ditching the expensive gym membership she doesn't use and working out from home. 

They said goodbye to the deep fat fryer, and mealtimes are now colourful, healthy home cooked food

Along with their new healthy diet and ditching the diet pills, she saves £560 and drops a stone in two months

Tom's trick is to use a powerful motivational tool to make fitness fun is music, and he shows her that marking down each time you exercise on a tracker can really help to keep you going.

Three weeks into the Paiva family's Eat Shop Save challenge, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK and the country went into lockdown. The restaurant where Sergio worked as a kitchen manager closed down, leaving him furloughed on lower pay. With money getting tight, Fatima finds work on the frontline as a key worker at a hospital.

Despite the difficult circumstances, the family pulls together and embraced their healthier lifestyle. 

They said goodbye to the deep fat fryer, and mealtimes are now colourful, healthy home cooked food. Daughter Helena says the family has been experimenting in the kitchen, and she has started to like more vegetables.

At the end of their eight week challenge, Fatima reveals she saves £160 every six weeks by no longer taking diet pills, and £400 from resisting impulse buys. 

Ditching the diets and embracing healthy living has brought Fatima steady and sustainable results on the scales - losing one stone in eight weeks.

With the family happy, healthy and more financially stable, Fatima says: 'It's not a diet any more. I feel much healthier, you know when you wake up in the morning and you feel good with yourself. I wouldn't take diet pills ever again'.

Paivas' diet and expenditure: Before 

Paivas' diet and expenditure: After

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