The weight is over... ; After sifting through hundreds of applications, today The Journal and Real Radio can reveal our Fit Factor finalists for 2013. [Newcastle Journal (England)]
(Newcastle Journal (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The weight is over... ; After sifting through hundreds of applications, today The Journal and Real Radio can reveal our Fit Factor finalists for 2013. In a four-page special, KAREN WILSON reveals what's ahead for the Fit Factor Six and tells their stories
THEY come from all walks of life - a coach driver, training co- ordinator, dental nurse, business network director, mental health nurse and custodial officer - but have one thing in common.
They've all battled with their weight for years and reached a crunch point that's made them want to change their lives.
With the help of trainer David Fairlamb and his team, our Fit Factor Six will undergo an intensive 12-week fitness and healthy- eating programme that will give them the skills and mindset to be trim for life.
Jon Kirby, station controller at Real and Smooth Radio, said: "We knew that selecting the final six would be tough, as it was last year, but this year we had so many worthy entries that even selecting 20 applicants to come in to Real Radio for interviews caused much debate.
"On the day itself we could have chosen them all, they all deserved to be in, but we needed to get it down to six. Following six hours of interviews and after much deliberation, we finally agreed on six wonderful and deserving people.
"Like last year, we've gone for a mix of ages, backgrounds, lifestyles and personalities so that these brave individuals can inspire as many people as possible in the North East to kick-start their own fitness revolution.
"When we all met for the first time at David's gym with Gary and Lisa from Real Radio Breakfast we knew that we'd made the right decision and we have a great group of people ... all strangers to each other but all with one common goal."
The Fit Factor Six have been set a group challenge - to lose 20st 13lbs between them during 2013 - which should spur them to continue losing weight after the intensive regime finishes. Trainer David said: "On Monday I set out what I expect from the group.
"The winner of the holiday prize to the five-star Fortina Spa Resort in Malta won't necessarily be the person who's lost the most weight. It will be the person who's most committed, helps others the most, is disciplined with turning up on time and promotes what they've learnt at work and within the family to inspire others.
"They will be eating 'lean and clean', in other words what the body was designed to eat. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs and water will be the basis of their diet. There won't be any processed foods, so that means no rice, pasta or alcohol.
"Last year our winner Dan Henderson was best man on his brother's stag do and he didn't drink, so they've got no excuse!" The group met up and were given personalised gym clothes by our kit sponsors Vivus.co.uk and also got to meet Port of Tyne director Ian Gibson, who has lost almost 12 stone since being selected for last year's Fit Factor. They were also shown food diaries kept by last year's contestants to show them what they'll be in for.
"This challenge is going to be 85% to 90% mental for the first few weeks as they need to change their lifestyles completely," said David.
"It's a major shock to the system, but once they get into a routine and re-calibrate their mindset they'll be able to change their habits for life."
Although it will be tough with four training sessions per week, including two gym sessions and a Saturday morning beach bootcamp, it will also be fun, with activities like power yoga, paddle boarding, rugby, football, volleyball, badminton and zumba.
Our heaviest entrant at 22st 11lbs is mental health nurse John Thompson, 39, from Ashington, who also has the most visceral fat around his organs. A visceral fat rating over 13 is unhealthy while a reading of over 20 is very dangerous. John's reading was 28.
At 15 stone, 24-year-old dental nurse Kate Pickard, from Chester- le-Street, is the lightest of the group, yet her body fat is still a high 45.3%. A healthy body fat level should be under 32% for women and under 20% for men.
All six of our Fit Factor contestants have body fat readings of over 45% with the highest belonging to 36-year-old training co- ordinator Kerry Robertson from Shiremoor. Over half of her body weight (51.1%) is fat and she has the highest visceral fat rating of all the women at 14.
Over the next three pages you'll find out the stories behind the statistics and see how our team hope to transform their lives.
NAME: Sarah Green AGE: 38 FROM:Jesmond, Newcastle JOB: Director of leading business network WEIGHT: 16st 7lb HEIGHT: 5ft 10in BODY FAT: 46.2% VISCERAL FAT: 10 MY STORY There's 13 months until I'm 40 and I want to start again as a HEALTH y fit woman with 40 years in front of me. I've lost weight in the past with Weight Watchers and Slimming World after having my daughter Jemima, who's now eight, and while I might have changed things for a period, it's never been a full lifestyle commitment. I've been married for 13 years to Mark who cooks great food in large quantities and is a lot more active than me, and after I had my second baby Barnaby, four, I went back to work after five months and never invested the time to lose the weight. As director of CBI North East, three-course dinners a couple of times a week are an occupational hazard of the job and too long on trains, in the car or at a desk adds to the problem.
I eat far too much chocolate and too many glasses of wine, as well as picking at what the kids are eating. On a pretty normal day I'll be on the train at 7am and home by 11pm. So I'm not very good at planning what I eat or planning exercise into my working day. I'm also doing this for HEALTH reasons. My mam has suffered from three types of cancer - breast, womb and thyroid - which means I'm in a high-risk group. Having seen her suffering, it's not fair on the family for me to add to the burden by not taking control of things I can control - my weight. I also have an underactive thyroid, which has had a big impact on my energy level in the past. I'm quite a determined person so the fact that I've got this demon is a self- control issue. I'm not proud of being overweight. It bugs me. To change that would give me great personal confidence. I want to demonstrate that I can overcome these challenges and build in fitness to a pretty busy life with a full-time job, two young children and studying for an MBA. Fit Factor is a massive opportunity and I feel really excited about it. At the moment I'm a size 16/18. If I could get into a nice size 14 pair of jeans that would be amazing. It would be great to be more active with the children and not be embarrassed in my swimming costume too. If I could get to 13 stones in 13 months
I'd be where I was 13 years ago when I got married and it would be a great achievement. On a normal day I'll be on the train at 7am and home by 11pm. So I'm not very good at planning what I eat SARAKATE PICKARD NAME: Kate Pickard AGE: 24 FROM: Chester-le- StreetJOB: Dental nurse WEIGHT: 15st HEIGHT: 5ft 6ins BODY FAT: 45.3% VISCERAL FAT: 9 MY STORY: I was always a size 12 until I had my daughter Megan, who's now five. I had Strep B and had to have an emergency Caesarean so I was out of action for a while, but I can't make that excuse anymore. I thought one of the reasons I was putting on weight was the contraceptive implant so I came off that two years ago and I was also diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, which can make it harder to lose weight. Since I had Megan I've got lazy with food too. I work part time at Mr Bholah's dental surgery in Gosforth and if I'm home late I might just get a takeaway.
Because I would have a banana for breakfast and snack on fruit, I'd think I was being HEALTH y. But I was ignoring the pot noodle or pastie for lunch, the takeaways twice a week and the bags of crisps. I suppose I was in denial. I've been to Slimming World, but it was complicated and I didn't stick to it and I've tried cutting out carbs, which didn't work. All I ever seem to lose is a couple of pounds and feel like I'm going round in circles. I haven't got any confidence and I can't find anything to wear. I want to be able to get clothes in normal shops not fat shops as I'm a size 20 to 22. I'm in leggings all the time, so you don't notice when you're putting on weight and I avoid the scales. There's times when I've cried in the changing rooms and I hardly go out, except for a special occasion. Because I don't feel comfortable in a swimming costume, Megan has swimming lessons instead of me taking her. I'd love to be able to run around with her and help her with her dancing. I don't want my little girl to grow up thinking this is a normal way to be.
I entered Fit Factor because I can't let myself get any bigger. If I do it'll be so hard to get off. I'm engaged to Dean, 26, who I've been with for 11 years and I want to lose weight so I can set a date for my wedding. I've also got my cousin's wedding on May 29 at the end of Fit Factor so it would be great to look good for that. I've already started trying to make changes. Going to a bootcamp for the last six weeks has helped my motivation but I don't think I've lost the pounds. I need more support and someone to kick me up the bum! always a pudding. There's HEALTH y options but I always end up choosing the chips over the salad. I could make time for exercise but when I've been at work for 60 hours and have a rare day off, I think, 'I'll do it another day, I'm tired.' At my heaviest I was 20 stone but lost four stones with Weight Watchers but it crept back on and ever since it's been yo-yo dieting. Family life is one of the main drivers for entering Fit Factor but also my job's very physical so being stronger and fitter is important for my work. I want to retire and live for 40 years afterwards. My kids are getting older and Andy and I want to do more things together. Andy's overwhelmed that I've taken this step and he couldn't be more supportive.
We're going to do everything together and the whole family will eat the same things. I want to be around 13 stone but I'm just going to focus on every 10lb. My goal is to get back into my favourite pair of jeans that have been in the back of my wardrobe for five years. I've hung them on the front of my wardrobe as inspiration. When we married in Las Vegas three years ago Andy bought 20 pairs of jeans at the Levi's shop and I couldn't find a pair to get up my legs. I sat down on the steps outside and cried. I've been promised a trip to New York for my 40th next year so I want to be able to go into any shop, pick up clothes and feel really happy. After meeting everyone on Monday I feel it's achievable now, which I never felt before. I'm not nervous about it now and am looking forward to all the different activities. I feel like I'm actually going to be able to change my mindset now, as everything David and Ian said really resonated with me."
CHERYL WHIFFEN NAME: Cheryl Whiffen AGE: 38 FROM: South Shields JOB: Custodial officer WEIGHT: 17st 5lb HEIGHT: 6ft BODY FAT:48.6% VISCERAL FAT: 11 MY STORY I love my job, have a happy family life but hate myself sometimes. I'm married to Andy, an oxygen technician, and have four children Jennie, 18, Adam, 13 and stepchildren Lauren, 21, and Tom, 15. I come across as a happy, confident bubbly person - but not if you catch me on a bad day. Andy will tell you the true story about the girl who tells fibs to avoid going out with friends because I can't find something to wear or the wife who sat on the bed for an hour and cried because she couldn't find something to wear to go bowling and refused to leave the house.
That's the sad Cheryl inside. I've always had a horrible relationship with food, particularly comfort eating. You have a biscuit and before you know it the packet's gone. My willpower is terrible. I work weird shifts from seven to 15 hours and do nightshifts too. We eat the meals that are provided for the young people and there's well they were doing I decided to enter this year. I'm really looking forward to it. I don't want to let myself or the others down. It's not just a 12-week process, it's a change for life. My first mini goal is to lose at least three stones in the 12 weeks and, in total, eight or nine stones. I'd be over the moon to get down to 15 stone. NAME: John Thompson AGE: 38 FROM: Ashington JOB: Mental HEALTH nurse WEIGHT: 22st 11lbs HEIGHT: 6ft BODY FAT: 46.8% VISCERAL FAT: 28 MY STORY My weight problems began when I stopped playing badminton, rugby, football and hockey at about 19. The weight gradually crept on but the last few years I've just ate and ate and ate with the stress of losing my dad. I eat big portions.
The food's piled up high ... maybe five times the amount of a normal portion. I work long shifts and eat at all the wrong times, snacking on three bags of crisps in the evenings and three or four takeaways a week. A typical day would start with a good fried breakfast, then maybe lunch out at a restaurant or a takeaway. Tea could be a full dinner or another takeaway. At supper time I'm usually swayed by the kids wanting a takeaway! I've tried cutting down but I soon get back to bad habits. I do very little exercise now ... just the occasional dog walk. I'm still quite confident - you have to be in my job - but you look in the mirror and you don't like what you see. I recently got diagnosed with a fatty liver, which is caused by being overweight. I've also got asthma and my breathing is getting worse. My daughter Sadie, who's 14, wants me to be fitter to be around longer as she grows up. My 18-year-old son Phil is also over 20 stones and I want to set a good example to him. I toyed with applying for Fit Factor last year, but didn't. And then when I followed the stories and saw how JOHN THOMPSON My daughter Sadie, who is 14, wants me to be fitter to be around longer as she grows up
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