From Fat to Fantasy: Turning the Corner


Hi friends! I’m Gemma, and as I mentioned in my last post, I’m one of MediEvil Nutrition’s Athlete Ambassadors.  It still feels amazing to be able to describe myself as an athlete, having come from a point where I was so overweight, I was told I might die!

In my last post, I explained how I was able to shift my mindset from fat to fit – when I finally understood what emotions lay behind my unhealthy eating habits.

Today, I’m going to share with you how I got my physical fat-loss programme started, as well as some tips to overcome any struggles you might have in your own fitness journeys.

The Magic Bullet

I had finally understood myself well enough to know that I automatically turned to food for comfort at times of emotional distress. Knowing that – as well as my Doctor’s shocking news that my body was a ticking time bomb – had finally given me the determination to succeed in changing my body and my life.

What I didn’t know, was HOW to do it.

Like so many people, I turned to magazines, social media and so-called diet ‘experts’ in my quest to find a magic bullet that would help me lose weight fast.  I was so desperate that I believed all the advertising hype: I threw away the contents of my kitchen cupboards and only bought foods labelled ‘diet’. I bought countless pills and potions claiming they would miraculously shed the inches.  I can’t begin to tell you how much money I wasted looking for the next quick fix.

I soon discovered that despite the convincing testimonials, there was no magic bullet that would transform me overnight into the slim and sexy women selling the products.

The Treadmill Trap

It took a burst of courage to overcome my reluctance, but I finally signed up to a gym. Avoiding eye contact, I made my way over to the treadmill and began a slow shuffle. I was convinced that cardio was the only way to lose weight so I plodded away until I was inevitably spotted by a newly qualified personal trainer. Once again, I was a sucker for the sell and handed over my cash, believing that as promised, I would transform my body in just 12 weeks.

It is probably no surprise that at the end of 12 weeks I was feeling despondent once again, having lost – not weight – but money and self-esteem.  Thank goodness it was at that very moment I first met Debbie Gunning.

Finding a True Trainer

Former 800m Team GB athlete, Debbie Gunning, found me sobbing in the changing rooms. With genuine kindness, she simply listened to everything I had been through, then handed me her card and told me not to give up, but to contact her when I was ready. She would train me herself!

I spent the next 2 years training with Debbie – starting with simple, basic exercises, then onto a long-term plan she tailored specifically to me, which got me running 5K within a year and eventually a half marathon!

When I moved to another part of the country, Debbie showed me how to ask the right questions to make sure I found another trainer who would be right for me. That’s how I found Rob Frampton, my current strength trainer.

After venturing off the treadmill and onto free weights, I haven’t looked back! My training sessions with Rob are super tough but I still love him to bits at the start and at the end (if not so much in the middle!).

Here are some of the lessons I learned I learned from my amazing trainers:-

  • It takes time and perseverance – if someone tells you it’ll be quick and easy, then you can’t trust them. A good trainer will make you a long-term plan with ambitious but realistic goals.
  • Building muscles will help you shed fat – weight loss is not all about cardio. A balanced exercise programme will include weight training because the stronger your muscles become, the more fat you will burn up – even when you aren’t using them!
  • A great trainer will listen to you, and work with you  – They will get to know you personally, and your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t sign up for ‘cookie-cutter’ programmes or let your PT send you off to work out while they hang out elsewhere. Expect more!
  • There is no Magic Bullet –  there are some great products that will help along the way – but diets, pills, potions or quick-fix programmes are not the answer alone. Sustained weight loss is about shifting your mindset and mental focus.  That’s actually great news – you can eat healthily, and leave the fads behind.

Becoming a burlesque body-builder, I’ve learned that beauty lies in strength. My trainers helped me find my inner strength and turn the corner.  I hope this post helps you to do that same!

Gemma X