Multitasking Miracle

Like any busy mum I find it hard to incorporate a solid beauty routine into my already jam packed day.  That’s why I appreciate products that have multiple uses.  So, discovering DermaEraze Miracle Oil was an absolute boon!  This little bottle of fabulousness can be used on the skin and hair.  Although it is an oil, it absorbs like a lotion.  So, it is the perfect primer under my make-up for my dry skin.  I use it at night as a moisturiser and absorbs so quickly your skin feels soft and smooth from the first use.  But, it can be used over the whole body and is particularly good for scars and stretch marks.   I obviously have extensive scars over my entire body due to plastic surgery and have noticed a visible difference in the last three months of use.

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Created by world renowned Skin Repair Specialist Lorena Öberg, This formulation is made from the purest Olive, Almond and Avocado oils.  The healing properties of the oil make it an ideal product to use alongside aesthetic procedures such as micro-needling as it aids the skins ability to repair itself.

The Miracle Oil has done a beautiful job in keeping my hair extensions in great condition.  I use it prior to straitening and any other heat treatments as it keeps my ends smooth and shiny.  Again because it absorbs so well there are no issues with it causing the extensions to slip or the bonds to break down.

This is certainly a product that will remain a staple in my beauty routine.

Coming soon I will be revisiting Lorena in clinic to try her world famous DermaEraze Stretch Mark Removal Treatment. Just in time for bikini season!

Click here for more information on the DermaEraze Stretch Mark Removal Treatment.

The Big Boy Room

The thing about proper gym training is that the relationship you build with your trainer becomes so much more than that of a task manager.  The thing about being with someone who really knows what they are doing is that at a certain point they know your body and its limits better than you do.  Darrell stepped up our training by taking me to the area of the gym where the big boys train.  That part that I dared not tread in the past as I felt this area was off limits to me.  I am not sure if this is the former fatty talking or just someone who happens to have a vagina rather than a penis.  But, there is something about the testosterone fuelled weight lifting floor that scared the hell out of me.  But, full of excitement and a bag of nerves I followed Darrell into belly of the beast, also known as the body building floor.

Today we were going to do dead lifts.  I was going to do deadlifts!! My form was good and I felt stronger than I ever had my whole life.  That’s the thing about living in a fat suit, when you are in it though you are pushing every possible physical boundary with the sheer mass you are carrying you don’t feel strong.  Quite the opposite, you feel weak and at the mercy of something you need for survival yet can’t control.  So, this new feeling of strength was something almost spiritual.  Having spent the better part of my life hiding my body the idea of lifting weights was a bit cathartic.  The “big boy” room thick with testosterone and heaving with the kind of men that I feared would judge me actually respected my effort.  It was another stamp to add to my “passport” of places I felt I was not allowed to enter as a fat girl.  Whether societal or self-imposed there were just some things that were off limits to me in my old body.

But, this wasn’t all about my head.  Under Darrell’s expert guidance my body so beaten and scared from weight loss and plastic surgery was toned and taut.  The results were hard to dismiss and furthered my original hypothesis that it was all about excuses.  Once the barriers were dropped and I really took on board what Darrell was teaching me I had complete faith in the process.

Since this was written Darrell has moved.  What is a huge loss to me is a massive gain to clients in Leeds.  Darrell is so much more than a trainer.  He helped me in ways I could not have imagined.  You see the last thing I had wanted in the beginning was a male trainer.   Men in the gym generally had been something I tried to avoid at all costs.  But, the idea of working one on one with a male PT was something of nightmares.  It was my own jaded view of men in general I suppose, but in my mind they represented everything that kept me weak.  These were the kind of guys that mooed at the 16 year old Melissa.  I suppose I stereotyped all “fit” men in this way.  But, Darrell changed all that.  He showed me that my only limitations were self-imposed and anything was possible.  He pushed me continuously and encouraged me to lift more and was always there to spot me when I needed it, whilst at the same time knowing when to hold back and let me take care of business.  The sessions we had were about pushing the limits I had and helping me attain a strength I didn’t think possible. We had many a conversation that started with me saying “I want to be able to do Tough Mudder or I think I want to enter a charity boxing match or I want to be able to do pull ups unaided.”  His reply was always “you can do it” “we can train for that”.

So, Darrell I can’t possibly thank you enough for what you have given me.  You are a credit not only to your profession, but more importantly to your gender.

I will continue this journey with a new trainer.  So, this is not over yet!

Watch this space…

A Clockwork Orange Peel

Cellulite!!  Ugh!  It is not even a pretty word.  A bit like moist, every time I hear it I just cringe!  First of all everyone has a bit of cellulite at one point or another.  But, unfortunately I have it all the time.  Primarily because I spent the majority of my life morbidly obese, cellulite is the price I have to pay for my years of gluttony. Although I have lost a huge amount of weight and have had reconstructive surgery for loose skin, the cellulite in one form or another remains.

I have tried lotions, potions and various notions.  Short of voodoo I have yet to find a miracle.  Now I am sure you have heard of the various anti-cellulite tights and leggings.  There are several companies that make them, all with very ambitious claims about “impregnated” fabric and that they sacrifice a live chicken in the factory to ensure your positive results.  Ok, I made that last bit up!! But, you see where I am going.  There are some very grand claims out there for what is often a very mediocre product.   As some of these products are very expensive, the last thing you want is to spend £200 on what ends being a pair of lazy pants you wear on the school run.

I am very much a believer in finding those special treasures in places you would not normally look.  I love the idea of trying something from a lesser known company as often they have something super special, but perhaps the world hasn’t discovered them yet.  I met this amazing and very inspiring entrepreneur Fabia Santos at a plastic surgery conference.  Her company called Yoga Compression Garments was not one I had heard of before, but her belief and dedication to her products hooked me right in.  I wasn’t sure why at the time, but she was definitely someone I wanted to know better.  There was the added bonus I suppose because it is a Brazilian company I thought if anyone in the world is going to know how to make your ass look good, it’s going to be them!

Over the course of researching the products what I learned was that in addition to the leggings which I will get to later, Fabia has dedicated herself to helping women going through reconstructive surgeries.  She attends hospitals herself to ensure post surgical garments are fitted properly and educates medical staff on the importance of garment fitting in the healing process.  I suppose this resonated with me because I have been in the position of trying to get myself into post surgery garments that in retrospect did more harm than good.  One very ill-fitting corset I had following abdominoplasty  I referred to as “the juicer”.  The second I put it on my clothes were soaked with the excess drainage.  So, the work she does is an integral part of the healing process for women that are already feeling quite vulnerable following life changing operations that are not always cosmetic.  As a professional Fabia is someone who really “walks the talk”.

The leggings are called The Yoga Emana.  They absorb heat from the body and return in the form of “long infrared rays”.  The rays are then absorbed into the skin and stimulate circulation and cellular metabolism.  The leggings contain bio-active crystals and so these properties are not lost when they are washed.  Amongst the many benefits that are purported:

Increased cellular metabolism
Increased skin elasticity
Reducing the appearance of cellulite
Thermal equilibrium
Reduction of muscle fatigue

So, with my magic leggings in hand I was off to try them myself in hopes of conquering these beastly dimples! Putting aside that they are meant to benefit you by wearing them, as a product they are beautiful and really flattering.  The instructions are that you are to wear them 12 hours a day.  I must say this was easy as they go with everything and really give you a beautiful shape.  They are so comfortable, yet hold everything in as well as pushing that excess junk in the trunk up perfectly.

The initial trial is meant to show results within weeks.  As I have particularly bad cellulite I took before pictures over six weeks.  The results were everything that was promised.  There was a marked difference in the smoothness of the skin and I definitely found the dimpling in my upper thighs in particular to have reduced.

Although I was primarily trialling them in order to ascertain the anti-cellulite properties I did actually find that there was a marked difference in how my legs felt following a run when wearing them.  So, there is definitely something too the claims about reducing fatigue.  From day one I was able to pack more punch into a workout wearing my Emana’s.  All in all the trial was extremely successful.  I can’t recommend them enough.  They retail for £95, which is a reasonable price for leggings that deliver the goods.  They remain in my normal rotation as my go to workout wear as well as sneaking them under other garments as a much more comfortable option to your standard “suck in your gut” pants.  An all around great product from a fabulous company.

 

Unbotched

1235099_10151916503800955_1325535349_nIt seems at the moment we are saturated with headlines and television shows all about the horrors of plastic surgery and aesthetics gone wrong.  Now don’t get me wrong I love a bit of reality television.  My own massive physical transformation was the result of participating in  reality/documentary television.  But, I have been thinking lately that the emphasis seems to have shifted from the “feel good”, albeit cheesy style of the ugly duckling that in the end becomes a beautiful swan to the disasters.  Because if you unpick the whole aesthetic and plastics industry you will find that for every botched boob job or filler fiasco there are thousands and thousands of very happy patients whose lives have been changed for the better following their procedures.  I do love a fairy tale! But, what this is really about is celebrating the amazing work of those who do get it right the first time. 

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Before reconstruction

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After

My own experience could not be further from the “Woman’s implant explodes on the school run” horror stories that get so much attention.    Following a huge weight loss I had a disfigured body.  Even the biggest body confidence cheerleaders could not possibly argue that the body I had following weight loss was nothing less than a train wreck.  Masses of loose skin that hung from every bone on my body, which even the most vigorous boot camp, would not be able to shift.  In addition to the unpleasant aesthetic, the skin was a health hazard that only served as a dark reminder of what decades of obesity had done to me.  It was a dark cloud that hung over the success of my weight loss.

 But, I was offered the holy grail!   My loose skin was removed under the most professional and expert conditions.  Mr Paul Baguley is nothing short of amazing!  He, like the many other professionals registered with The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS – Ya I know!) that do amazing work.  These are in fact the very people often left with the task of putting humpty dumpty back together again following a fall off a dodgy surgeons table.  But, sadly what we see most of the time are the disasters.  These are often the ones that will be discussed on internet forums for what is seen as “stupidity in the name of vanity”.  Putting aside that at some point there was probably a really good reason they wanted the surgery in the first place.  One should never be punished for the desire to improve how they look or correct something that is not quite right.

IMG_20140227_110505Yes, as a matter of fact I am trying to recapture my lost youth, what is wrong with that?  Sadly when I was in my 20’s the world was not ready for the 300 pound pin up.  Keep in mind this was a pre-Beth Ditto/Tess Holiday world.  As glamourous as I tried to be I was never going to be anyone’s pin up girl.  Unfortunately I was relegated to the fat heap with the rest of the retro rejects.  I am not in any way condoning that but, it was what it was.  As a result I never enjoyed the body freedom that I wished for.

The fact remains that plastics along with the non-surgical options such as Botox, fillers, thread lifts, etc give those that choose it a much needed boost some times.  It is not about making you look like someone else, but about looking like a better version of yourself.  I understand the politics and this essay is not about that.  I will save that for another time.  But, what I am talking about is focusing on the safe and talented professionals out there that are making people’s lives better.  I for one am grateful for every nip/tuck and syringe I have had.  It has allowed me to be the person I didn’t get to be at 18.

**There are of course situations when things do go wrong and luckily there is help out there when that happens.  The Safety in Beauty Campaign is an initiative that supports those who have had less than satisfactory results.  They use their position to educate the public about safe practice and advise those who in extremes are left disfigured by poor practice.

My Name is Melissa…

hamburger-1349595-mMy name is Melissa and I am a food addict.  I know I have written about this time and time again.  But, I have come to the realisation that I have lost control.  I had my weight loss surgery in 2012.  Following a serious war on fat I raised the flag of victory 18 months later.  I had conquered the demon, never would I allow food to rule my life again.  For the first time in my life I felt like I was in control.  It was a great feeling!  But, in the last couple of months something has changed.  I had a really horrible start to the year.  At one point I thought I was going to lose my house, it seemed as if everything I was falling apart including my mental health. In the chaos of all that was happening around me an old friend showed up to try and cheer me up. In all his glorious calorific loveliness. He let me cry on his shoulder and held my hand when I felt alone.  I should have known better.  But, I thought I was better now, stronger and could handle him being in my life again.  I was so wrong!  What I didn’t realise was that even after all this time I wouldn’t know when to stop and say no.  The aftermath of my lapse in judgement was shocking. I had gained 15 pounds in three weeks.

pizza-2-1364933-mIn my previous body a stone or even two or three was meaningless and honestly hardly noticeable, now in this smaller frame all I see is bulging fat.  That damned F word!  I avoided its use for decades as for some reason being overweight or the extremely overused “curvy” seemed to feel gentler on my delicate psyche. But, it was a lie.  There was no curve, just lumpy, bumpy horrible, jiggly fat.  Curves, more cushion for the pushin and various other colloquialisms only serve to push us deeper into denial. Personally, having hid behind the big and proud agenda for years I don’t believe there is anything empowering about giving up on yourself and accepting a bloated time bomb of a body in an attempt to normalise obesity. This doesn’t mean that as a woman I have to conform to societies so called ideal body shape. But, is more about putting the onus on me to set a good example to my daughter.   The last thing I would want for her is to spend 20 plus years trapped under 350 pounds of flab.  In the years that my addiction to food had its strongest hold I could rationalise my obesity. When I discovered I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome it was as if I had found the Holy Grail.  This was my license to hang all responsibility on a mysteries “syndrome”.  Therefore, from that day forward it wasn’t my fault any more.  It wasn’t the three big macs I loved so much killing me, I had a disease, a ticket to allow my addiction to take complete control of me.  Something happened one day, it wasn’t good enough any more.  All of a sudden it hit me that rather then empowerment, I had rendered myself completely dis-empowered.  The fact is love it or hate it the world is not a nice place to be in when you are fat.  I had to work twice as hard to gain the respect of colleagues.  I had to prove myself everyday to those that looked at me and automatically thought I was the laziest person on the planet.  As much as I ate, I was certainly not lazy.  In fact from a health point of view I was one of those lucky fatties that never had the stereotypical obesity related ailments.  This made hiding behind the bbw flag much easier as I could declare myself fat and hit!  But, underneath I was eating myself to death.  I suppose it’s a bit like the functional junky.  They can rationalise how much smack they do because they still get up every morning and go to work.  It is only a matter of time before the addiction catches you off guard.  But, I digress, this is about me now.  I suppose there is a certain amount of victory in realising I am slipping before going completely off the rails and having a full regain. I really can’t imagine what that would do to the psyche.  I know many people that it’s happened to.  Is there anything worse than being fat?  it is something that you have a certain degree of control over.  So, no there isn’t anything worse than being fat for me.  It isn’t like getting cancer or hit by a bus.  Those are things outside of your control.  Having experienced what it’s like to be thin the idea of being fat again is the stuff of nightmares.

hot-dog-1149854-mI was and am completely responsible for my lack of self control.  I am human unfortunately and as such I have my own set of demons to deal with.  It is so hard!  I find myself upset and ravenously tearing apart the kitchen looking for anything that will sooth my troubled mind.  The high is instant, exhilarating with each orgasmic bite, but then there is the come down. The self hatred and guilt that lasts so much longer than the climax.  Food is a tough one you can’t completely eliminate it from your life.  But, what I need to learn to control is how I handle myself around it.

I need to constantly remind myself that food is not my friend and as much as I desperately want a pizza to cry into some times I just don’t have it in me to “just be friends”.  Maybe one day we can get together and reminisce about all my 3 am binges.  But, for now I need a game plan.  It is all about going back to basics.  Complete portion and calorie control.  I have been incredibly lucky that my blog allows me access to some amazing people and products.  With that I will be putting everything I have into getting my head back in the game.  Food may have one a tiny battle in the last few weeks, but has definitely not won the war.

Freezing myself Thin!

logo-newWe all have that bit of our bodies that we dislike. I am particularly lucky that I have been able to have a multitude of treatments to “fix” much of the damage a lifetime of obesity has done to me.  Although very pleased with the general results I still have pockets of fat here and there that exercise doesn’t seem to be able to shift.  I wish I could be more accepting of my remaining flaws, but I just can’t.  I know this issue goes far beyond what any surgical or aesthetic treatment can cure.  However, I do believe that if you are not happy with your body there is nothing wrong with trying to make it right.  Whether making it right involves diet and exercise or something more invasive than why not?

11267518_10153423392635955_1888581451_nEnter Meadow Clinic in Leamington Spa.  I was invited to the launch of their gorgeous new clinic.  Now obviously they must have been very special as venturing outside of London is quite unusual.  I was shown around by the gorgeous Mica . They offer a range of aesthetic treatments including massage, cellulite/fat reduction, REVIV vitamin infusions, a host of anti ageing remedies and a treatment called metabolic balance for weight loss.  Metabolic balance involves having a blood test and based on the results a tailor made nutritional programme based around what is best for you to aid weight loss and for general well being. I must say I find the idea really interesting and at some point will do a piece about it as I firmly believe that with nutrition there is no one size fits all solution.

11297177_10153423390930955_914372234_oAt the launch I had the opportunity to have a treatment.  As I have an odd pocket of fat on my waist it seemed the perfect solution to get back some symmetry.  Basically, on my right side I have a pocket of fat that makes that side appear bigger than the left.  Due to the due to the massive amount of skin removal, I would be bound to have the odd area that holds more fat than another.  So, following a consultation with the fabulous Jenny we decided that a targeted treatment was the best course of action.

The fat freezing process itself is totally non invasive and just felt like I had a big suction cup stuck on me.  In fact during the hour long treatment I managed to down 4 glasses of champagne whilst lying on the table (no I do not have a drinking problem!  I didn’t spill a drop). Following the treatment I was advised to eat as cleanly as possible and keep hydrated. I should see results after about three weeks as the fat cells die and get metabolised elsewhere. In the weeks following the treatment I saw the gradual reduction in the fat near my waist.  I am very pleased with the results.  Now if I could just find a six pack machine I would be sorted!

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Pre-treatment you can see how my right side has the pocket of fat that bulges slightly.

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Four weeks post-treatment. The appearance of my waist is flush with the other side.