Being body shamed was a wake-up call says Antony Costa of Blue
Body-shamed by a national paper, Blue’s Antony Costa was determined to turn it into a positive experience; and recently got help from a clinic in Bury St Edmunds.
Criticism comes with being in the spotlight and Antony’s had his fair share of jabs over the years. His approach has always been take it on the chin and prove the doubters wrong. The Mail Online article, though, was a wake-up call.
Photographed walking through Windsor earlier this year, the piece poked fun at the father-of-three’s “ill-fitting coat... fastened at the middle with just one button... making for a slightly more snug fit around the middle”.
Calling his current look “a far cry from his boyband days”, readers’ comments were harsher. One posted, “photographer who took the main pic is lucky that button didn’t pop off and break his zoom lens”. Another wrote, “tight?!?! That’s an understatement, those buttons are squealing”. Another said, “He was always the ‘lardy’ one”.
Making the most of touring the world with Blue, body image wasn’t something that used to bother the singer and actor. As long as he had his health and his family, he didn’t care.
“People started saying stuff in the street. This was pre Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; they would say ‘you fat this, you fat that’. I’ve been in the public eye since I was 18 and I feel like people need someone to pick on and sometimes it’s you, I used to think they would pick on me for no reason. You’ve got to grow a thick skin and carry on with what you’re doing.”
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That changed when one of Antony’s Blue band-mates texted him about the Mail Online story.
“It was a wake-up call. Let’s be straight, it was negative but I’m pleased they told me what they think. My missus said ‘just turn it into a positive’, which I did.”
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Since March he’s exercised more, eaten healthier, given up carbs and sugar; and ditched the fizzy drinks, fruit juice and alcohol for water. He’s also had 3D Lipo locally - a noninvasive treatment that uses different technologies such as cavitation, radio frequency and cryotherapy to reduce fat, cellulite and tighten skin.
It’s specifically designed to tone and hone in on difficult areas, which is why the treatment isn’t necessarily just for people who are overweight. It’s also for those who may lead a healthy lifestyle but still have stubborn areas they still can’t budge even with regular visits to the gym and a good diet.
“Why not? I read a statistic the other day that male grooming is up by 40%. We’re humans as well as men. We want to look after ourselves,” says Antony, who’s had 10 or 11 3D Lipo sessions at several places since March - losing four to five inches around his body and nearly two stone in weight.
“It’s great and spurred me on to keep going. I like to talk on behalf of the average bloke. A lot of men have tweeted me saying ‘you’ve really helped me, you’re an inspiration, how did you do it?’ I just big up the diet and big up 3D Lipo because it’s really helped. It’s all about being strong-minded and if you start seeing results then your head is in a different space and it makes it easier. You don’t want to go back to your old life style. I’m happy in myself, I’m really buzzing, my confidence is up...
“It’s a shame we live in a world where you get judged for looks and stuff like that. I’m doing it for my family, for work. It makes me laugh because if someone gets too thin, ‘oh they’re ill’ and if someone’s too overweight ‘oh they’re really fat’ so you can’t win. As long as you’re happy with yourself and how you feel that’s all that matters.”
He had his latest 3D Lipo session at Bliss, part of Gymphobics, in Bury St Edmunds, while appearing in the Ruth Rendell mystery A Judgement In Stone.
“He’s our first celebrity but the 3D Lipo head office has had loads... Amy Childs, Darren Day (who was turned on to the treatment by Antony). He was a lovely guy, very approachable, very accommodating, very genuine; he came into the gym and chatted to people, had photos,” says owner and manager Jackie Stuart, who also owns Bliss in Norwich.
“We’re the only ones in the town who do 3D Lipo and he was the only guy we’ve done because we’re a women’s-only environment. In Norwich it’s a different kettle of fish, I see loads of men. Most are slightly older, they’ve got a bit of a beer belly or they’ve lost a bit of weight and they want some extra help. Most women we see are probably either gym users and likely to be in their 40s. We don’t tend to get many young people.”. The treatment is becoming very popular, with 15-35 people undergoing the hour-long process at her clinics every week.
Without getting too sciencey Jackie says there are basically two ways to get rid of the fat.
One is melting or cavitation. Described as a firm massage, this involves using ultrasound equipment to cause the fat cells to vibrate and rub against each other, eventually bursting into the intercellular space. It starts working straightaway; with one session a week for eight weeks recommended.
The other is freezing or cryolipolysis, cryo for short; and can kill up to 40% of fat cells. Good for getting rid of what she calls “mummy tummy”, it’s like turning a grape into a raisin but can take three-six months to work because you’re waiting for the cells to die.
In both cases the cells are then disposed of via the lymphatic systems. Different techniques are used for each method but both result in permanent, rather than spring back, loss.