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Case Study:

Dee’s Incredible Transformation: Losing 20 Stone and Competing on the World Stage:

In an inspiring tale of resilience and determination, Dee, a woman in her 50s from Coventry, defied all the odds to compete on the world stage in bodybuilding, after a staggering transformation of her body, her mind and most other things about her lifestyle.  

Just six years ago, Dee embarked on a remarkable journey, shedding an astonishing 20 stone in weight and reversing multiple life-limiting medical conditions. Her personal journey has become the latest addition to Think Active’s #movingstories campaign, which aims to celebrate and showcase the extraordinary success of everyday individuals who have transformed their lives through physical activity. 

Dee’s fitness journey has been anything but ordinary. Battling a complex web of health challenges, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, type-2 diabetes, Achilles tendon injuries, and symptoms associated with post-menopause, she found herself in a dangerous state.  

Weighing more than 30 stone and reliant on a walking frame for mobility, Dee was confronted with a daunting road ahead. However, she made the decision to take control of her life and pursued the changes that were so desperately needed. 

“I was using my weight as a shield, keeping people at a distance due to the trauma from my childhood. But I realised that it was time to reclaim my life and start feeling better,” explained Dee. 

Dee’s transformation began with weightlifting and strength training, a choice that would prove to be life-altering. Through her unwavering commitment, she not only shed 20 stone but also managed to reduce her medication intake from a staggering 20 types per day, to currently nothing.  

Her dedication to training led her to the Pure Elite World Championship bodybuilding competition, where she claimed a remarkable second place.  

Today, Dee diligently engages in strength training five times a week, not only to manage the symptoms of her rheumatoid and osteoarthritis but also to slow down the deterioration of her condition.  

Additionally, she has adopted a clean diet to reduce inflammation, actively promoting the health benefits she experiences through her online presence on social media. 

“For six years now, I have been devoted to my training at the gym, spending four to five days a week pursuing my goals,” Dee shared.  

“Given my pain levels, I had to explore non-impact forms of exercise to protect my Achilles tendons. Furthermore, as a post-menopausal woman, preserving my bone density became a priority, and research has consistently highlighted the positive impact of strength training.” 

Throughout her journey, Dee has relied on the guidance and support of a personal trainer, and she remains an active member of her local gym. Her quest initially stemmed from a search for ways to cope with the pain caused by fibromyalgia. It was during this process that she learned about the potential impact of a processed diet and discovered the major influence of mental health on her overall well-being. 

“I vividly remember the days when I had to rely on a walking frame due to my weight. But now, thanks to my decision to pursue a better life, my existence is unrecognisable,” Dee added with a sense of accomplishment. “My personal trainer introduced me to weight training, and I instantly fell in love with it.” 

Dee’s journey encountered obstacles, particularly during the lockdown period. However, she emerged even stronger, finding a new personal trainer who helped her train for competition. Although she has realised that competitive life is not her goal longer term, Dee remains passionate about bodybuilding and continues to train.  

Her perseverance has not only enabled her to recover from trauma and mental health challenges but has also allowed her to overcome body dysmorphia. 

In reference to Dee’s extraordinary transformation, Abi Dixon, from Think Active, who is leading on the Moving Stories campaign, emphasised its significance:  

“Dee’s incredible journey perfectly exemplifies the power of physical activity in transforming lives. The campaign seeks to shine a spotlight on real people and their achievements, promoting both mental and physical well-being. Dee’s story is a testament to the incredible potential within each of us, to conquer adversity and rewrite our own narrative.” 


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