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…

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You’re gonna feel a little prick

So, if someone told you they could make the skin on your face and neck instantly look younger by sticking hundreds of needles in it what would you think?  A bit scary right?  Well, when that person is the amazing Milena Lazarova of Dr Joney De Souza Skin and Laser Clinic, what you actually say is wh at time should I be there?

14102600_10154515608085955_3755839774309327548_nDr Joney De Souza’s clinic in the heart of Harley Street has become one of my favourite clinics.  Whether I am there to see Dr Joney for a bit of needle artistry or the always gorgeous Milena Lazarova I am never disappointed.

Micro-needling with the Dermapen or Goldpen has recently become the hot treatment of choice amongst celebrities.  The treatment involves using a device with tiny needles on the end of the pen that make the smallest of punctures in the skin.  This process relies on the skins natural ability to repair itself.  So, these tiny injuries to the skin stimulate collagen growth, reducing the size of your pores and instantly giving you smoother looking and feeling skin.

When a treatment involves needles one would automatically assume there will be an element of pain involved.  But, with the pen in the expert hands of Milena it was more relaxing than anything else.  The “needling” felt a bit like a soft cactus being run over my face.  Even in the most sensitive parts of my face near my eyes I experienced no pain.

14718859_10154736122475955_8509224452825945405_nThe great thing about the Dermapen treatment is that it can be repeated every couple of weeks for maximum results.  But, as a boost for the skin now and then it is certainly a beautiful treat.  The results following the treatment were instant.  My skin was glowing when I left the clinic and in the days following my make-up went on like pure silk.

The Dermapen/Goldpen is a very versatile treatment that not only works for anti-ageing, but also can be used for scar correction, stretch marks, blemishes and is even used to promote hair growth for those suffering from thinning.

 

14045787_10154503926875955_5277541631543853675_nThe results of my treatment were so dramatic that it was recently featured in Woman magazine.

*Like all aesthetic treatments micro-needling should only be performed by trained practitioners.

 

 

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#NoExcuses

14721649_669567459868728_1004468577750512185_nSo it begins! I have never made my advocacy  for the Abby Pell’s of this world a secret. Those amazing super humans who embraced the “no excuses” hashtag with both hands and got mostly hate for their effort.  I remain an advocate for all body shapes.  But, why is it that these women who have chosen to push their physical limits get so much hate?  As anyone who has followed me knows I used to weigh over 350 pounds.  I am certainly not the poster girl for gym bunnies by any stretch of the imagination.  But, this topic intrigues me, particularly in light of the recent controversy over Eugenia Cooney’s YouTube channel and the petition to ban her.  Now I do agree she certainly has an eating disorder.  But, has the pendulum swung so far that it is now ok to body shame those we consider too skinny?  There are super sized (by their own description) fashion bloggers that if they were experiencing the same vitriol as Eugenia we would be going out of our way to defend them.  Are they not just as much of an example of an eating disorder as Eugenia? I don’t know the answer.  But, I digress.  This is about really digging deep and saying NO actually there is no excuse for this middle age spread.  Yes, I have lost a lot of weight and have been incredibly lucky to have been able to have the extensive plastic surgery to remove loose skin.  But, that just put me on a more level playing field with the majority of women.  I am an extremely busy mum of seven year old twins.  I don’t want to get up at 5am to do crunches in my living room any more than anyone else.  But, having lived most of my life in a fat suit feel I would be doing myself the ultimate dis-service by not finding out what is possible.

7d8d319de325f162b18b58dfdf687460So, my question was; what happens when an average mum drops all excuses and hits the gym?  Well the first step like most of my body transformation would require expert help.  This would seem the easy part.  But, I soon found out that picking a personal trainer is very much like finding a therapist or partner for that matter.  You need someone you trust and that you can work with.  I searched for months before I found Darrell Wilson of DW Holistic Fitness.  During our first meeting he blinded me with the science of exercise.  It’s not that I expected a personal trainer to be dim.  But, I suppose we all hold silly stereotypes of the super fit perhaps being more muscle than brain, to which I profusely apologise.  Darrell has an incredible knowledge of not only the science of behind exercise, but also knows everything you can possibly think of about the nutrition needed to lose weight and gain muscle. His ability to explain the reasons behind every movement is nothing short of astounding.

Over my many years as a serial dieter I have possessed many a gym membership.  For the most part it was the usual story.  Following the obligatory “New Year’s resolution” I happily handed over my bank details to a very pushy sales person and for a month or two religiously went to the gym losing that same two stone repeatedly each year only to gain it back the second I eyeballed a cream cake. But, the fact is walking halfheartedly on a treadmill and pushing around a couple of dumbbells for an hour does not a six pack make.

There is certainly much more reason to be motivated when you have someone at your side to tell you exactly what is happening to your body during exercise.   Having thought I knew quite a lot about the topic myself soon learned I didn’t know much at all.  So, having found “the one” we started training. I think the best part of working with a great PT is that you are really motivated to make progress.  Was I sore the next day?  Yes!  I found muscles I didn’t know existed.  The feeling of satisfaction following each workout cannot be put into words.  The truly amazing thing is how quickly I felt the results.  I am obviously a work in progress, but having been working with Darrell for just over a month now the difference in my body is very noticeable.  The satisfaction in seeing the free weights go up each week is an awesome feeling.  He is a ball buster in the nicest possible way!  The workouts are always challenging, but the fact that I am seeing the results is such a great motivator.  I started out with a marked weakness on my left side as compared to the right.  But, over the last few weeks I have seen such a big difference that my left side has nearly caught up.

I have certainly come a long way from the “Davina” hand weights collecting dust under my bed.  Having that support from someone at your side each session is extra motivation to stay on track.  I have been resistant to having a trainer in the past because I felt self-conscious.  But, Darrell in addition to knowing what he is talking about is a genuinely nice person that spurs you on in such a positive way.  I can’t think of a better cheerleader in this very foreign territory.

So, I remain without excuses and on the way to finding out what is truly possible.  This is chapter one of a series on building a better body.  Will I end up with a six pack? Don’t know! But, what is certain is that building a better body is so much more complex then losing weight.  So, with science, good nutrition and a truly inspirational Trainer there are no excuses and no limits!

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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.

Cereal Killer

Food, food food!! How I love you!!  My long term love affair with the bastard is not a secret.  In fact it is my best friend, lover, confidante and arch enemy all wrapped up into one dysfunctional package.  Due to this crazy dynamic I have to keep myself fully on top of the food situation or literally I can guarantee I would eat myself to death!  So, when someone offers me a free meal and not just a meal but delivers it to me at work I can hardly say no. Can I? Well, can I?  The answer is a big fat juicy no!  But, this is a bit different.  A company in South East London called Bed N Breakfast prepare a gorgeous breakfast tailor made to your dietary specifications, which for me can be quite a vast list.  Obviously, with my main concern around how things are prepared and the use of any fats as minimal as possible.  What I received was amazing!  I chose the veggie breakfast which was a massive portion big enough for me to share with one of my colleagues. The gorgeous Hannah, in between her many media commitments managed to deliver heaven on a plate.  It was gorgeous!!  Everything was piping hot and looked amazing.  As a lover of all things yummy, the fact that I can order something this gorgeous that is also healthy is a huge bonus.  I am literally salivating thinking about it!  For me the commitment to healthy food is something I really value.  As I have to balance my love of all things yummy with the absolute need to keep it clean and healthy this kind of care and attention to the important details is vital.  I would certainly order again, in fact has anyone seen my phone?  I need to put this chick on speed dial.