She piled on the pounds through emotional eating but now she’s completely transformed her figure.

[Sarah Buchanan | Daily Star]

Mel Lovell ballooned to 19.5st after binging on crisps, pastries and biscuits.

The 48-year-old felt “intimidated” going to the gym so she decided to take up a different hobby to help beat the bulge.

After taking up pole dancing just 12 months ago, the mum-of-two has dropped 10st.

The mum-of-two has been filled with newfound confidence as the sport helped to tighten her physique and tone up her loose skin.

And the size 10 lady says the unconventional exercise has given her a rock-hard core that proves she is strong both inside and out.

Mel, from Devon, said: “At my induction lesson I couldn’t even lift myself up the pole. But I felt like I needed to know how to do this.

“You just build it up, it’s about how much you want to do it. It took me about four weeks before I could even lift myself upside down. Now I’ll do it 30 times a lesson.

“It took me about six months to be able to climb from the bottom of the pole to the top.

“I can’t stop doing it. My body has changed so much just from doing pole. Three years ago I’d get on a plane and I’d be too embarrassed to ask for the extension for the seatbelt so I’d pretend it was fastened.

“Before pole my body looked a mess. I looked old. Now I feel tall when I walk and my body feels tight.

“I just feel so strong inside, being able to climb up three metres and hang upside down and do all these tricks. You need so much strength, you’re lifting your whole body up.”

“Before pole my body looked a mess. I looked old. Now I feel tall when I walk and my body feels tight."

— Mel Lovell

Despite her progress, Mel said that standard forms of exercise weren’t working out for her.

She explained: “I was going to the gym twice a week, but I just felt like everyone was looking and laughing at me.

“It turned into going once a week. I didn’t like swimming because it showed too much skin.

“A friend of mine said we should start running. It took about six weeks to run without stopping. One day it just clicked. I was doing 5k or 6k runs.

“I was feeling better and had more motivation. I could play football with my son. But I didn’t really lose any more weight or change my shape. I had bingo wings, loose skin at the tops of my legs, my tummy was just dropping and dropping.

“I liked myself with clothes on, I thought I looked nice, but I didn’t like myself without clothes.

“I didn’t really enjoy any of it. I really couldn’t notice the difference with my shape. I was unhappy with my body and with horrible loose skin.”

"I just feel so strong inside, being able to climb up three metres and hang upside down and do all these tricks. You need so much strength, you're lifting your whole body up.”

— Mel Lovell

It wasn’t until she saw a social media post about a womens’ only pole fitness class that she was spurred on to sign up.

Still feeling self-conscious about her figure, Mel did one-on-one sessions with coach Jo Greer from Pole Dance Plymouth.

The tough mum’s fitness regime now consists of three hours of pole dancing per week, plus an hour of boot camp training – and she even has a pole at home.

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