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DOWN AND OUT ON THE COUCH; GLASGOW TOPS UK'S LAZIEST CITY POLL.

PEOPLE In Britain are becoming lazier and fatter - and Glasgow has been named the laziest city in the UK.

Research conducted by the Nuffield Health Charity shows the city has more couch potatoes than any other part of the country.

The research showed that the people of Scotland, and Britain in general, were getting lazier and fatter every year, with more and more admitting to missing out on exercise and healthy eating.

The survey says that more than half of Brits would take the lift instead of two flights of stairs, while one in six people would not get out of their chair to change the TV channel if the remote was broken.

Psychology experts have blamed the jump in couch potatoes on increasing workloads and the stress of modern life.

Dr Cynthia McVey, lecturer in psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "Traditionally the Scots are hard workers so it is unexpected to find that they are getting lazier. Just because they won't get up to play with the kids does not necessarily mean they're lazy, it can also mean they are working very hard."

Psychotherapist Simon Matthews, a senior supervising teacher from the Hoffman Institute, said: "Laziness is a way of escaping reality, it's easier to zone out and sit on the sofa instead of facing reality.

"We need to exercise. Sometimes we have got to make ourselves do it to lift the mood and that will be beneficial for the body, mind, and soul."

We spoke to two Scots who managed to eascape their couch potato past.

CHRISTINE MITCHELL

THE Weight Watchers group leader knows all about being a couch potato ... and she admits it is almost too easy to slip into the lazy lifestyle.

Christine, 38, was a self-confessed fixture on her sofa before she turned her life around.

She used to have a social life revolving around dinners and eating, and would never do any exercise at all.

She recalled: "It's terrible, because once that lifestyle becomes your way of life, it is a vicious circle that is very hard to get out of.

"It's easy to stay stuck in the house and remain a couch potato because you feel bad about your weight and lack of exercise.

"That makes you have lower self-esteem and feel worse, so you don't go out or do anything.

"And you always find something to do inside or some reason not to go out or exercise.

"You're constantly tired, you lose your zest for life, you dread going to things like weddings and parties, and worry about starvation diets and all that."

But Christine insists it is also easy to find the way out.

"The way to help yourself is little steps, constantly making progress," she said.

"You don't need to go to the gym to get exercise. Just get out of the house and walk for as far as you can. It's always better to do something than nothing."

Christine has stayed thin for 11 years and has won several awards and been in the Weight Watchers magazine since losing weight and getting fit.

She added: "It's important to know that it is possible, and the important message is that it can stick as well.

"I know I have had my life changed, and it has also made a huge difference for my little boy Keir, who is 11, because I know he has had a much more active life because now I do as well."

PAULA STALKER

LOOKING back on how she used to live, Paula Stalker admits she was one of laziest women in Scotland.

The 45-year-old never exercised and spent her evenings in front of the TV, remote control in hand, and gradually her inactivity took its toll on her weight and her health.

Paula ballooned to a size 22 and weighed over 18 stone but, after experiencing breathlessness and heart palpitations one day, she decided to turn her life around.

Two years on Paula, now a size 10, leads a healthy and active lifestyle and has even found love - she is marrying her fiance Stephen in October.

She revealed: "I couldn't drive until last September, so I used to walk to the bus stop, but I didn't do any additional exercise.

I never went to the gym. I walked simply because I had to."

Paula, who works full-time and runs slimming classes, added: "I was lazy and I didn't do anything to help myself.

"I don't think my head was in the right place.

"When I used to come home from work, I'd have my tea and sit down and watch the telly. That happened most nights - now I never watch the telly.

"I was a couch potato. It got me down but it wasn't until I visited my grandmother's graveside and I couldn't breathe that I panicked and realised it had finally beaten me.

"Then I found Scottish Slimmers.

"I now lead an active lifestyle, I do a fulltime job, run my classes, and still do my walking."

Paula has some advice for "couch potato Scots".

She added: "Look outside the box. Try something a bit different because as soon as you start a healthy eating plan and being a bit more active, you start feeling the benefits."

CAPTION(S):

NEW LOOK: Christine turned her life around HEALTHY: Paula ditched counch potato life
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 11, 2009
Words:889
Previous Article:THE BUM SHOW; Cheeky girl Christine's beach break.
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