Most women will recognise the names in the short paragraph below. I am actually going to be bold enough to state that most women will have been intimate with at least one or two of these names over the years, especially in the run up to a Wedding day.


I wonder how many men would know what this list is? The fact of the matter is we crave thinness and without entering into an extracted debate on how we all ended up this way – we simply have.

Many of us start these innocent diets as the latest answer in our quest to be thin only to be crushed some weeks or months later when our eating returns to normal and the pounds pile on. In fact these diets start off so innocently but can soon turn into treacherous monsters in no time at all.  They generally involve eating too little, eating only one food group, and in no time the boredom sets in and off the wagon we tumble.

A regular and favourite topic of conversation in my boutiques is weight and how much of it must be shed before heading up the aisle. I honestly, totally and utterly understand the dysmorphic view most women in Britain have of their bodies.  Out of the thousands of beautiful women I have dressed in the last few years only a few have ever said that they love their bodies and have no desire for change.

Most will stand in front of my big mirrors and body part by body part annihilates themselves.

Having gained some weight over the last 18 months due to a personal injury every day for me is defined by the scales and tightness of my clothes. I have gained almost one stone and my size 12 jeans are screaming at the seams. Add to that the mid forties drama making it harder to shift and you will understand why I too have tried the aforementioned list of “miracle” diets.

It’s easy to understand why I was enthralled and excited when a Personal Trainer came into my shop last year to meet me, apart from the fact she was tall, amazing with a captivating smile and a personality and full of zest I simply knew she was going to make a difference.

Pauline Richards was in the process of setting up her business YOUNIQUE which is based in Buckinghamshire and lives in Beaconsfield.

The first time we met we talked for hours about my brides and the Quest for Thinness in general. We discussed “yo yo” dieting, Bridal boot-camps that plummeted brides weight mid fittings but didn’t sustain it. We talked about weight gain mid fittings and so on. This discussion was born out of my concern for Brides health at this vulnerable time of their lives when they needed to be in tip top condition but also for my concern that their dieting was having a huge impact on how their dress would ultimately fit.

Pauline Richards is a Personal Trainer but not just any old Personal trainer.

Pauline was on TV at 17 in the Gladiators, she also played Hockey and Netball for England. She turned to athletics and reached international standards at 400 metres and the Heptathlon.

She has won triple Gold medals, silver medals all competing for her country; she has competed in the Commonwealth games and starred in the film Gladiators. The list simply goes on.

So its fair to say she had some credibility and so when she came back six months later with a fitness programme that is YOUNIQUE I was thrilled to hear all about it. It considers your lifestyle, it sets goals and assessments, its more than sessions in a gym with a PT, nutrition is a massive part of it and Pauline insists you see her Colleague for a detailed consultation on your diet.

Last week I agreed to go on the YOUNIQUE programme which Pauline designed in consultation with me. At my assessment I was confident that I was going to be scored as a bit unfit but healthy.

My staff and family all call me the “FAT POLICE” as I never indulge in chocolate or snacks and am appalled when others do.  I eat 6 pieces for fruit a day, drink 2 litres of water, have salad and fish or chicken for lunch, never ever eat processed or packet anything. I would sooner die than eat tinned vegetables and even have my own allotment to ensure all I eat is organic and local.

I am on my feet 12 hours a day, am reasonably active although I have not properly exercised in the last 18 months due to my foot injury but I do yoga, walk and ride my bike.  I don’t smoke, I do drink and sometimes too much but it really is my only vice.

The bottom line is this – I was told I am not healthy as I don’t regularly exercise, I don’t eat enough, I eat too much fruit, not enough protein and I eat at all the wrong times of day. I left the consultation feeling very disappointed in myself and crushed.

On reflection this last week I can see its all true but I didn’t realise it. I have other symptoms too like irregular sleep patterns,  I am too tired to exercise, I work late so eat late and so on.

Last Tuesday I handed over my body to Pauline.  I have been weighed, measured, seen a nutritionist and I am on the YOUNIQUE plan.

I intend to chart and share my progress in the hope of inspiring my brides to stop the FADDY diets and seek professional help.

It’s funny to admit all of this because I am such a detailed (read control freak) type of woman. I would never entrust a dodgy car show room to service my car or indeed a cheap cobbler to touch my Jimmy Choos but that is exactly what I have done with my health in the past. I have entered into so many faddy diets, followed the latest celebrity work out. At now point did I ever consider getting a professional health assessment.

Bizarre really as we all go to the dentist every six months but we don’t go to a fitness / nutritionist check up until we have a problem?

So with lessons learned I am hoping to change the destiny of my health.

Pop back next week and see how it’s going, I will be honest, frank and candid about the joy and pain.


Ellie x


p.s am I thin yet?




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