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Strictly's Shirley Ballas' dramatic 20lb weight loss journey: see photo, plus how she did it

The Strictly Come Dancing judge revealed all to HELLO!

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The Strictly Come Dancing final is officially here, with head judge Shirley Ballas ready and waiting to see which of the remaining celebrity-professional couples will take home the Glitterball. Back in October, ahead of the 2020 series, HELLO! met up with Shirley to talk about everything from counselling to lockdown weight gain. 

MORE: Strictly's Shirley Ballas updates fans on health ahead of hospital visit

Shirley, 61, spent the lockdown period in south London with her boyfriend of now nearly three years, 48-year-old actor Daniel Taylor, and like all of us, put on a few extra pounds while cooped up during the coronavirus pandemic. But it wasn't until the Strictly Come Dancing judge paid a visit to her beloved mother that she decided to take action.

WATCH: Shirley reveals her favourite Strictly Come Dancing moments in 60 seconds

Shirley hilariously explained: "I went to visit my mother and she opened the door and said: 'My goodness, who's been eating all the cookies?'"

"I'd gained 20 pounds!" the famous dancer said. "I can't get into my clothes and I refuse to buy more."

In a bid to shed extra pounds, Shirley has been working out with Cara Stubbington, an online personal trainer, for at least one hour, six days a week. 

MORE: Strictly judge Shirley Ballas' before and after photos following 2019 surgery

MORE: Remembering the Strictly stars that are no longer with us

shirley ballas hello exclusive© Photo: HELLO!

Shirley Ballas began training six days a week after gaining 20 pounds during lockdown

"We do lots of arms and abs and we do a lot to lift my 60-year-old bottom so nothing is dropping all over the stage. She helps me tone all my bits and bobs. If it bobs, she tones it," head judge Shirley tells HELLO!.

DISCOVER: Who is Strictly star Shirley Ballas' boyfriend Daniel Taylor? Everything you need to know

The Liverpool-born star also candidly revealed that she had turned to counselling after writing her autobiography Behind the Sequins.

"It was very difficult to write," she says. "It's almost like I was reading somebody else's life."

The book brought back memories of several tough and unresolved periods of her life, Shirley added. 

shirley ballas pink dress© Photo: HELLO!

The Strictly Come Dancing judge has released a book, Behind the Sequins

"It put me into counselling – I'd been reliving everything and thinking if there was anything I could have changed or done differently. 

"I need to process everything that has been brought up by writing the book and also understand a little bit about why I have so many walls that go up."

Shirley's counselling is ongoing and is "definitely" helping, she said.

"I can see now, at 60, that I can let some of these things go and be happy. Rather than beating myself up all the time, I have to realise it’s okay to cry and show emotions."

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