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After Ciara Owen found herself locked in a vicious circle of restrictive eating during the week then binging on the weekends, she decided enough was enough. Having joined a fitness training programme, she turned her life around and won’t look back after finding the fun benefits of exercising and eating properly.

She first began her weight loss journey back in 2017 to help her mental health, but gained it all back during the first Covid lockdown in 2020.

But the following year she made a choice that changed her life.

“I decided that in 2021 I needed to change my habits and lifestyle,” she said.

“I began doing it on my own but I found I was not sticking to any regime, throwing everything out the window after a weekend of drinking or eating out.

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“I found myself in a constant cycle of being restrictive with my food, then binging, and repeating the cycle.”

In May last year, the 27-year-old from Wexford, Ireland, stumbled across a fitness program called Project X, founded by personal trainer Diren Kartal.

“I had found Diren on Instagram on my discover page and I really enjoyed his content and overall energy,” Ciara explained.

“The idea of someone holding you accountable to your habits and encouraging to implement healthy habits, I joined up to the one month programme and loved it.”

Through help and guidance, Ciara soon learnt that being restrictive with food isn’t the way forward, and enjoys treats in moderation.

“I enjoy the ‘nice’ things in moderation,” she smiled.

“I have increased my protein intake by eating more meat and eggs, which is something I used to be afraid of as I thought I would gain weight.”

Working with Diren also widened her knowledge on the benefits of strength training.

“Diren’s programme focuses on weight training which is something I love,” she said.

“Working on all the muscle groups on the days is something I prefer rather than split arms or leg days.”

Having found a programme that works for her, Ciara has noticed a huge difference in her mood and general well-being.

“It has helped massively in terms of how I treat my body, I appreciate that I need to look after it and when I don’t, I see a massive difference in my overall mood and energy,” she explained.

“I know that when I eat good nutritious food, workout, and get out for my walks, I’m in such a better mood as I know I have achieved something and I am doing it for me and me only.”

Ciara’s exercise plan consisted of:



Goblet squats

Barbell bench press

Seated rows

Bicep curls

Ciara’s daily meals:


Protein yoghurt with fruit


Skinny bagel with two bacon medallions, one egg, salad and relish.

Chopped chicken salad

Taco salad bowl


Teriyaki salmon with baby potatoes and steamed vegetables

Spaghetti Bolognese with protein pasta

Chicken curry with rice.


Protein bars



If you have been affected by eating disorders and are in need of help for yourself or someone else, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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