Female, 22. Weight gain, acne and posture.

I have always been a very slim build and struggled to gain weight. The doctors were always aware that I was under weight but it’s never been a worry. I always ate 3 meals a day and wasn’t a fussy eater it was just considered genetic as my mum and sister are also slim. I became really conscious of this when I first started high school; I use to wear four pairs of tights at once to make my legs look bigger. I requested that my doctor referred me to a dietician, which I was excited about. I remember they had asked me to make a food diary, which I took with me. In a very quick 10-minute session she looked through the diary id kept and recommended that the mornings I had toast to try adding much more butter and to have two pieces not one. I left feeling completely deflated. In the past I have also tried eating more, or snacking more, eating more fatty foods and takeaways but never with any results.

In August 2016 a lot of things changed all at once in my life which I didn’t cope with well and as a result I lost weight and for the first time in my life developed what I considered really bad acne this knocked all my confidence and I began having panic attacks and episodes of complete hysteria. The doctors diagnosed me with mild depression and moderate anxiety and I was to participate in online counselling. I have a family history of mental health issues and have experienced the devastating effects it can have first hand. For my acne the

doctors wanted to put me on antibiotics and then failing this a course of treatment known as Isotretinoin. It basically stops the skin producing any oil at all. Which is effective in treating acne however has a long list of side effects including inflammation, dryness of the lips so dry that they are in a constant state of being chapped and flaky as there is no oil at all in your skin, nosebleeds, headaches, inflammation of the eyes and the eyelids, chapped and dry eyelids and nose, skin rashes, muscle, joint and bone pain, blood in urine and causes a person to bruise and bleed more easily. The doctors advised that I think carefully before taking this on however promoted its effectiveness.

My weight became more of a greater concern than ever and my skin affected my confidence so badly I wouldn’t leave the house for anything social.

I always thought of the gym as a place for people wanting to lose weight or for big body builders but it was something I hadn’t tried before and was running out of options.

I knew people who were at total fitness however wasn’t confident in going alone so looked into personal training. This is how I met Olivia. I was terrified to meet her, I remember thinking she wouldn’t understand like so many doctors and dieticians hadn’t before ‘just eat more’ is what I felt everyone in the past had said. Olivia was the complete opposite. She is so friendly and welcoming, I felt completely at ease in her company. She wanted to know everything about me not just about my food but my sleep, my stress levels my work, friends, family and relationships so she could get a complete picture of my life and how she can help. Olivia started by changing my eating habits, slowly, bit by bit so that it wasn’t overwhelming or unachievable and she explained exactly why I needed to make the changes and what effect they would have. It all made complete sense. I didn’t tell Olivia about my anxiety, I tried to focus our conversations on my acne and need to gain weight however on our third session she asked. She said I have a lot of nervous energy and wondered if that was why. I was amazed by how much she is aware of and can pick up on without you mentioning it. Once she explains where you’re going wrong and why you start to make sense of where you are and what needs to change. She drew diagrams and sent me recipes, kept food diaries and called to check in on how I was doing. I began looking at food completely different. I never felt I ate badly until you have it explained to you. The quality of the food I eat has improved, I read the labels and check what I’m eating, I’m a lot more conscious of what I am putting into my body and the effect it will have. Foods that will promote healthy skin and drinking 2 litres of water a day. In 6 weeks I saw a massive improvement in my skin and I now don’t have any acne at all, my skin is completely clear. Yes I get the odd spot here and there, if I’ve been out drinking etc. but I haven’t had a breakout since I started properly investing in what Olivia has taught me over 8 months ago. The improvement in my skin brought back my confidence, I rarely wear makeup now. My posture has improved significantly; with the photos Olivia takes every 6 weeks you can clearly track the changes. My anxiety has almost completely gone, when I’m eating better and exercising I’m in a more positive head space, granted I can still get myself worked up and panicked but I much more in control and capable of pulling myself back out of these episodes. I have gained weight, honestly I am not at my goal weight but this is the first time in my life I have gained weight and retained it. This isn’t an over night fix, I will for the rest of my life have to work on my weight, focusing on what I’m eating every single day but I’m getting there. I am well on the way. These are life changes not a quick fix’s. Olivia got me through a really dark time and completely turned my world upside down. I am now that annoying friend who tells you off for eating that, but explains why. I am the annoying girl in the office that’s constantly asking how many litres of water have you had today. I am the annoying daughter who has got her dad in the gym and swapped all his coffee for green tea. I have Olivia to thank for all of it. As cliché as it sounds, Olivia is life changing.