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Exclusive: Ola Jordan opens up about weight gain: 'I feel like I'm hiding – I have to change for Ella'

The TV stars tell HELLO! about their struggle

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Sophie Hamilton
Sophie HamiltonParenting Editor
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Ola and James Jordan have spoken exclusively to HELLO! about their weight gain following years of dancing on Strictly, after mum Ola shared a surprise bikini photo on Instagram.

MORE: Ola Jordan inundated with support after sharing bikini photo

Ola, 39, who shares two-year-old daughter Ella with husband James, posted a picture of herself and James posing by their pool in their swimwear, telling fans she is "disappointed" with her current figure and hopes the public post will motivate her to change her lifestyle.

WATCH: James Jordan dances with his daughter Ella

"Our friend took this snap of us yesterday trying to stay cool by the pool but OMG... it was a total shock, to say the least! When did we get 'mum and dad bods' ????" wrote the star.

The pro dancer added: "We know we're not in our best Strictly shape but hey that's what happens when you stop dancing for hours every day and have a baby (I just want to know James' excuse!) Stay cool everyone. I think I need to avoid the ice cream for a while!!!" She ended the message: "Couples That Eat Together Stay Together! @jamesjordan1978."

MORE: James and Ola Jordan reveal toddler Ella's separation anxiety: 'It's so hard leaving her'

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Ola and James Jordan by their home pool

In their weekly HELLO! Parenting column below, Ola and James open up about their weight gain and tell us how they are determined to get fit and healthy for the sake of their daughter…

HELLO!: Ola, tell us about the bikini photo you posted…

Ola: I feel like I'm hiding and I need motivation, I need to do something about it. I don't know what will make me do something otherwise.

I got so many lovely supportive comments from my Instagram followers after I posted the picture. I suppose everyone goes through the same thing – you can tell that people relate and it's hard.

Especially with Instagram, you do see perfect bodies all the time, perfect lives, and perfect outfits. But there's a lot of people who don't look like that, who don't look perfect. It makes you feel like you've failed in life when you let yourself go a bit, especially when you were a professional dancer for a living. It's hard, really hard. I don't have the time to exercise.

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Ola with her daughter Ella

James: It's the 'want' as well. It's not just the time. When you've worked out your whole life, you don't want to spend two hours in the gym – you'd prefer to spend it with your daughter.

Ola: I do, because when I'm in the gym I think about Ella, what she's doing, and I want to spend time with her. It's difficult.

I suppose it's a balance that you have to find and I find that hard because she's still like my little baby. Maybe when she goes to nursery full time I will have more time for myself but at the moment I feel like my time is hers.

I do everything. I tidy up a hundred times a day because my house is a tip! It's 'Mummy I want this, mummy I want that'. Ella's like a picker; she doesn't eat big meals, she eats little and often. So I feel like I'm serving food all the time.

James: Maybe you should serve food less and then she'd eat her big meals?

Ola: But maybe that's not her. Maybe she's more of a picker?

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The Jordan family

MORE: Exclusive: Inside James and Ola Jordan's luxury holiday with their daughter Ella

HELLO!: Do you feel pressure from society to be slim?

Ola: I do think it's a balance. I still want to be fit – not necessarily be thin and looking like I used to because I'm not sure that will ever happen.

But I still want to be fit and a good example to my daughter and I don't feel like I am right now. 

James: The reason we're both out of shape is that we're unhealthy and we're not moving and exercising enough. We're eating badly.

It's all well and good people saying we look good and it's about being well and happy. For us, it's about getting in control of what we eat and changing our lifestyle.

We're both overweight. We checked our weight online and we are clinically classed as obese for our height and everything, so that's not great because it puts pressure on different organs.

I even struggle to put my socks on in the morning because I can't get my knee up to my belly. I feel I move differently. I don't feel as agile. I'm an older dad and I want to be agile for my daughter.

We are at the stage where we both look at each other and think, 'Who are you?' I sometimes google ourselves and go, 'Look what we used to look like.'


Ola and James when they danced on Strictly

HELLO!: You worked out a lot during your dancing career, more than the average person…

James: A hundred percent. When we were doing Strictly, we were training about 10-12 hours a day. You're burning so many calories.

Ola: You know what gets me? People say, 'Oh, you'll bounce back, you're a professional dancer.' It's nothing to do with me being a professional dancer. I don't dance now because I've got a baby. I'm a stay-at-home mum so I'm not going to find it easy to bounce back.

James: We are just like everyone else. If everyone else was training 10 hours a day, they would lose loads of weight as well. 

Ola: I think something needs to be done, maybe go on family walks... I don't know.

James: It's tough, and as you get older, it gets harder.

Ola: I don't want to just accept my body like this. I don't want to be overweight and fat. I want to live as long as I possibly can for Ella. I want to show her that I'm healthy and I don't feel like we're doing that right now.

HELLO: Do you feel like this is a turning point for you?

Ola: I feel like I want this to be my turning point. That's why I posted that picture. I wanted to do something about it.

James: She told me she was going to post it, but I didn't think she would, because I know Ola is much more private than me. I don't care what people think about me but Ola's much more sensitive than me.

Ola: I am, and I don't actually post that much but something in me made me do it. I'm hoping that it will help me be healthy for baby Ella.

James: We look older as well because we're bigger. You wouldn't say, 'Oh look, there's that couple from Strictly, the dancers. You'd say, 'Oh two Teletubbies have just turned up!'

It's about being more active each day. At our age, the most important thing is what you eat. I'll sit there watching Love Island with a big bowl of crisps, a pack of Minstrels to the side of me and I'll demolish the whole thing within the first 15 minutes of watching it.

Ola: But then he's sitting next to me, and I go, 'Oh go on, give me one chocolate, and OK, give me a second chocolate, give me a third' – and this is where he drags me down with him!'

James: I agree!

Ola: And my weight goes up more than his and is harder to lose than his.

James: Sugar is the devil. It's the most addictive thing, isn't it?

Ola: We're addicted to it, and to break that addiction is hard. It's such a battle!

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