Russell’s Real Lives
Hello Russell, goodbye ‘Dubai stone’ – Safia’s Story
Living in Dubai has many upsides. This bustling hive of endeavour attracts some of the most successful and driven people in the world, seeking out the lifestyle to match. Safia is one of those career focused individuals who has made Dubai her home for over 20 years. Being in the real estate business, it seemed the obvious place for her to further her career and raise a family. The mum of three beautiful boys, she juggled work, family and home successfully. She was always busy, putting her family and her clients before herself, but in the process she was able to carve out a wonderful life for her three boys to enjoy. However, as so many of us who live and work in this great city are all too aware, the upsides often come with a personal price to pay – the ‘Dubai stone’ was Safia’s.
Long hours, grabbing unhealthy food on the run, eating out, little time left to exercise – all of these can add up over time to weight gain and after the birth of her children Safia’s weight started creeping up. Her hectic lifestyle meant she was finding it increasingly hard to resist the food that was causing it. The combination of stress and being time poor led her to turn to food for comfort at the end of a busy day. “I convinced myself every time I looked in the mirror that I was fine, but the scales told a different story. I was buying bigger and bigger clothes and I was beginning to feel really self-conscious about it,” recalls Safia. “Real estate is a client facing business and part of being confident is feeling good about how you come across to others. My weight gain was eroding my confidence and that’s something I rely on in my line of work. I knew that if I didn’t change my behaviour around food the weight would keep creeping on. That’s when I decided I needed someone who understood to help me turn things around.” That’s when Safia turned to Russell.
Of course, she was an avid follower of his ‘Ask the Expert’ column in Friday Magazine and had read his replies to the many people who had written in asking for guidance about how to lose weight for good. “What he said made so much sense to me,” says Safia, with real conviction in her voice. “Russell’s approach is so different. I like the way he doesn’t advocate anything drastic – no fad diets! Instead he works with you to create a harmony between your mind and your body. It’s about totally transforming the way you think and feel about food. It’s about being kind to your body. It’s about learning to take control of your lifestyle rather than it controlling you. It’s a philosophy that really appeals to me, because it’s about change for life, not just for the short term. What he does sticks, and it has allowed me to make positive decisions about what I eat and how I live my life.”
After only 5 sessions with Russell, Safia was amazed to find she had lost 12kg. “I was so thrilled when I stepped on the scales. Russell doesn’t believe in weighing yourself all of the time, so I’d noted my weight at the start of the process and decided I would check it after the first couple of weeks. At that point I’d lost 4kg and was already feeling so much better. I had loads of energy, my skin looked glowing and I was starting to embrace exercise, just as Russell said I would. From then on the motivation I felt went from strength to strength.”
Safia was able to control her portion sizes without giving it much thought. “It just all felt so natural. I like socialising with friends and often that would also be about food to. More often than not I would go for the unhealthy stuff, but after working with Russell I could go out to eat, choose wisely and still enjoy myself. I just knew that I didn’t need to rely on food to feel good. Instead, what made me feel great was the fact that I had the power to choose and it felt empowering to make the right choices for me.”
Not only has Safia changed the way she views food, but she’s also enjoying the fact that she’s fitter than she’s been since she was in her twenties.“I love taking a brisk walk, cycling and swimming. Russell taught me that one of the most important ways you can show love to yourself is by respecting your body. I’d let all of that go, blaming the fact that I didn’t have the time to fit exercise in. I realised that was nonsense. It was more that I felt too tired and unmotivated to do it and I would find any excuse not to. The irony is that I actually have more energy now that I’ve got my fitness back! With Russell’s help I’ve completely changed my life. Everyone I meet, who knew me before I lost the weight comments on how fantastic I look and they ask me what my secret is. Of course, I say Russell Hemmings!”