Transformation – Danielle Fancellu

danielle fancellu - 1*I have known Danielle for three years now and watched her struggle with her body, image, and self-esteem this entire time. Earlier this year her world turned a little upside down, forcing her to tackle, see and handle things she hadn’t before. Where in the past she may have turned a blind eye to these emotions, for the first time, she stared at them head on. The change has been phenomenal!!! Many will see the change as being physical. I have always said and continue to say, if there is a ‘fat storage’ issue, there is a health issue. In some cases it is a mental health issue. When Danielle started to consider things differently, think of herself differently and started to not allow things to bother her to the same degree, the fat started shifting. She improved her health. But most of all, she found love and pride for herself. When Danielle made a passing comment to me “I am proud of what I have achieved” my heart melted. The day had come. Then at PT she made another comment to me “For once I don’t look at my body and hate it wanting to be skinnier; I want to improve what I have but I don’t hate it anymore.” What a huge statement!!! My work here is done!

One of my biggest goals in life is to help people improve their health and well-being and to find their self-love and worth; something I use to struggle with for the first 36 years of my life. When I looked at Danielle, I saw a lot of my old emotions, and it would break my heart.

I adore Dani beyond words. She is my client, my PA and above all, one of my very closest friends that I love with all my heart and soul. To see her blossom into the incredible young woman that she is, to see her self-worth grow, to see her health improve and her smile brighten, gives me the greatest pleasure. I cannot say I am proud of her. It truly does not do her justice.

Dani, you are truly an inspiration to so many women out there, struggling with their inner demons. I love you babe and am truly honoured to have you in my life and to have had and continue to have, the pleasure of holding hands whilst we travel together, through this thing called life.

For the purpose of the public’s curiosity, Danielle has lost a total of 38.5cm since the ‘magic moment of emotional truth’ in April this year. Compare this with her total of 47cm since the day she officially received her very first ever measurement with us on the 27th of July 2012. Pretty incredible comparison! Mind you, those figures have gone up and down at variable rates throughout the three years! And for the record, Dani ate and continues to eat, better than anyone I have ever coached before, trained and still trains, better than anyone I have ever trained before and is the perfect student in every single sense of the word. It is incredible how much your mindset actually place a part in your personal development and physical changes!!!

Without further ado, I bring to you Dani’s story, her words:

“They say everything happens for a reason, and I believe this down to the very last letter.

I came across Terrific Fitness over three years ago when I unwillingly attended a nutrition workshop ‘Why low fat food is keeping you fat’ with my sister in law. At the time I was trying very hard to lose weight and I was getting nowhere fast. I’ve battled my weight all my life; You know those people who could eat what they liked and not gain a thing – yeah I was never one of them. I was heavy for my age growing up, setting me up for a healthy dose of self-esteem issues from a very young and impressionable age.

In my teens and early 20s I discovered that I could manage my weight by counting points and exercising 7 days per week; so that’s what I did.  My goal wasn’t health, it was weight loss, and whilst I was getting thinner I didn’t care what the consequences were; I just wanted to feel beautiful and accepted – and if being thin was the answer, then I had no problem with this.  I didn’t ever want to feel like that little girl in the school yard who felt unloved and unworthy of having friends because she was ‘fat’.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I perfected this lifestyle so well that not only did I lose weight, I also lost my period and ignored the other red flags that resulted.

Four years ago my family experienced a particularly hard time – both my parents were dealing with significant health issues and I didn’t have the resilience to cope. I carried on my excessive training schedule, continued to eat like a bird and began emotional binge eating which resulted in rapidly gaining all the weight that I had kept off.  This vicious circle was my life and although I wanted to put a stop to it, I didn’t know how. It upsets me now that in the prime of my life, my own reflection made me sick.  So I attended Terri’s workshop as an incredibly lost, anxious and unhappy young woman. I was overweight, on medication for anxiety, had long standing self-esteem issues, and no confidence OR period.

What Terri taught me that evening changed my life; I was blown away by everything that I had learned. With Terri’s support and guidance I made changes to my nutrition (the secret FB group wasn’t like it is today – I only had Terri’s help), started attending group fitness classes and commenced PT on Sunday mornings; these all saw my health improve, my periods return, my emotional eating stop and sparked a passion in me for functional nutrition. I fell in love with training and my strength and fitness improved in leaps and bounds. Initially I did see some physical changes, but not the changes that I was working hard for. So when my progress halted, I was disappointed by the lack of reward for effort.

Despite this, I didn’t allow myself to give up; I believed in what I was doing and continued to eat well, train hard and give it my all during PT.  As weight loss wasn’t happening, I was driven by other goals; strength, health, fitness, perfecting technique and becoming a walking nutrition encyclopedia. But I became very frustrated and disheartened that no matter how hard I tried….my results just didn’t reflect the work that I was putting in.

What I didn’t realise that I was still self–sabotaging my efforts, just not physically…allow me to explain the other side of my story…

Even at my thinnest, I still hated how I looked. If I wasn’t hating a particular part of my body – I would cringe at my reflection and say to myself ‘you are ugly’…as you can see, it’s much more than a weight issue…sometimes the cruelest judge is the one staring at you in the mirror.

This may surprise many people who know me, but for those who know me well, they can easily pick up on the subtle hints of how I felt about myself. I often thought of myself as a wallflower and boring; when going out, I felt like no-one would look at me twice. My outfits were chosen based on how well they covered my backside, jeans were a no no (although I have been breaking that rule for 12 months now) and any photos I took were waist up only! I regularly downplayed anything positive that I achieved, and felt like I was I wasn’t good enough, frumpy, replaceable and insignificant – these are the things I would say to myself…all the time. All my life I was planting seeds of negativity in my head, so naturally this is all that could grow.

Earlier this year my self-confidence and self worth took a battering. I don’t need to go into details but let’s just say you should never place these things in somebody else’s hands because they will drop it every single time – and mine was shattered. I felt unworthy of happiness, love, friendship and living a successful life. 

Those self-hating thoughts that used to whisper in my head were now screaming at me. My struggle was starting to eat away at me every minute of the day and following a very heartbreaking conversation with Terri, it was obvious that this damaging way of thinking was destroying my spirit. In order to stop this, I needed to start doing something about it; I followed her advice and sought a professional for guidance on improving my self-esteem. In doing this I was given the tools that I needed to help me combat the thoughts, feelings and emotions that were weighing me down.

This step was a little frightening, but I was also determined to start feeling good about myself – mentally and physically.  After a few months of implementing these tools daily, coupled with requesting Terri to step up my training (and she didn’t disappoint!), I began to notice the changes; my clothes were becoming loose and my body parts were becoming leaner and more defined. I replaced my size 13 jeans with size 10 and just recently needed to replace these again. People around me began complimenting me on the changes they noticed – this was music to my ears as it meant I was finally looking the part that I had been playing for so long. My measurements were going down and although I’m not a fan of the scale, out of curiosity I have jumped on them and am 8 kilograms lighter since the start of the year.

But I also noticed the emotional changes; from having to force myself to shift my thoughts to a more positive place, it started happening by itself. I was seeing things from other perspectives, and I was becoming more grateful for the things that I usually take for granted; slowly my attitude started to change.  It hasn’t been easy…but neither is hating myself all the friggen time.  I’m not completely there yet, but I’m trying my hardest and I have what I need to bring me closer. Above anything else, this was the most important change that I needed to see.

I am proof that even if your training and nutrition is perfect, if you are constantly putting yourself down, your body listens. The heaviest weight I have lost is that of the negative and self-hating thoughts that were living in my head; they dragged me down and stopped me from going anywhere but backwards.

I am now setting goals in all areas of my life; I want to be stronger, spend more quality time with loved ones, complete my studies, read more, help others, but most of all be a good person; these are the real seeds of happiness that I need to be planting. When I’m having a crap day, it’s not my jeans size or waist measurement that is going to comfort me.

Joining Terrific Fitness has been the best decision I’ve ever made.  The commitment and dedication from each of the trainers to helping our members is second to none. Theo, Tania and Daniel; you are amazing at what you do and I adore and admire all three of you. Thank you to my cheerleaders ‘Mamma’, Mimma and Georgette; your existence is proof that angels walk the earth. Thanks for Terrific Fitness I no longer dress to hide my body, I dress to flatter it. I also no longer train to punish my body, I train to reward it and it is when I’m training that I truly and unconditionally feel good about myself.  I’ve learned so much; not only about exercise and nutrition, but being part of a community who care, support and help each other, and what it takes to be to be the best you can be. These are learning experiences that I cherish and will guide me for the rest of my life. 

One of the greatest gifts that you can give anyone is the ability to make them feel that they are important and the world is lucky to have them, and I thank TF from the bottom of my heart for giving me this gift.

Terri, not only are you an exceptional trainer, but one of the most remarkable and amazing human beings I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting and calling one of my best friends. From the day our paths crossed you have stuck by my side and have given me nothing but unconditional love, guidance and support (and a good laugh and leg bashing on a Sunday morning) and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Thank you for taking me under your wing and helping me become the woman I am today – I truly look up to you <3

I know it took us a little while to get here but you made it fun and I wouldn’t change a thing. I think we both now understand the reason it took so long….. I look forward to being by each others side when we are both setting and kicking new goals.

And I promise you I am proud;

-I have finally done this the right way; I eat and ENJOY real food and have committed to this despite the opinions of others

-I still trained my heart out even when I didn’t see results

-I can almost keep up with my amazing training partner

-I’m now setting new goals

-I asked for help when I needed it

But most of all I am proud that when I look in the mirror, I no longer feel like I desperately want or need to change anything. I know how difficult it was to get here and I am proud of the hard work that I (we) put in. I still have goals but I’m OK with what I see, and more and more I’m believing that maybe I am enough, just the way I am.

The goal wasn’t the weight or the measurements, the goal was not giving up…I didn’t, and I promise you that I never will xxx” – Danielle Fancellu, Thomastown

*Weight Loss and Training Disclaimer