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Personal way to shift those pounds.

Byline: By Elaine Blackburn

I don't want to be the "fat mam" at the school gate mocked by Eve's fellow pupils

- Elaine pictured right with husband Ian and daughter Eve

WHILE a happy marriage and new baby add up to a contented life, they can also lead to an expanding waistline.

Ask Gazette Deputy News Editor, ELAINE BLACKBURNE, who found it easy to pile on pounds "eating for two", but hard to ditch them.

Now, with the help of personal trainer Cheryl Harding, our Elaine is powering through her very own fitness plan.

She brings news from the gym counting down to a healthier New Year

IT should be easy, this weight loss lark. I've read the books, learned the eating plan backwards and even done some exercise. But the pounds simply will not shift.

In the past I have had varying degrees of success at getting rid of my many surplus pounds, but this time it is different.

Despite sticking to a well-known slimming club's eating plan, it has taken me most of this year to get rid of about 20lbs.

While a lack of willpower doesn't help, looking after Eve, my 17-month-old daughter, and working full-time also have a lot to answer for.

I can usually get through the day without too many problems but when I get home, what beckons are biscuits and cake bought for Eve and my Gazette photographer husband, Ian.

We are too busy to eat a meal before 9pm, so I'm constantly reaching for treats.

Then there are the calls from Eve for "mammy have some" as she offers a fork loaded with chicken nuggets and beans.

One of my biggest dreads is that my lovely daughter will pay the price for my weight.

Over the years I have constantly been taunted by total strangers who feel it is their right to call me names because of my weight.

It doesn't bother me because I've always been a strong person, although I know some people who cry themselves to sleep at night because of similar abuse. My fear is that Eve will become the next target for these morons.

I don't want to be the "fat mam" at the school gate mocked by Eve's fellow pupils.

And I want to make sure she gets the kind of upbringing I enjoyed - loads of sport and day trips out walking, which kept me relatively fit.

Although I was always chunky as a teenager, I was never really obese until I left college.

As a child of the '80s, along with thousands of others, I moved to London to find work.

I had always been quite sporty, even playing table tennis for my county, but living in a new city meant this was all scrapped for hours in the pub or watching TV.

Home cooking was switched to take-away Chinese, curries and kebabs and a year down the line, I was five stone heavier - and gaining.

Attempts to tackle it were never too successful, especially after an instructor at one snooty gym told me to go straight to my doctor as any exercise might kill me!

I went home in tears, stopping off only to buy chocolate as a consolation.

It was not until I returned to the North-east, I finally felt ready to tackle the problem.

A series of diets, but with little exercise, helped me lose around five stone for my wedding to Ian in February, 2001.

Contentment led to good intentions being abandoned and then I was pregnant.

"It's a very big baby," the midwife consoled me as my weight began to rise.

Any thought that the pounds would shift after my baby's birth proved optimistic. One beautiful daughter later, I still weighed 17 stone 4lbs at the start of this year.

By last month, I had managed to shift just over a stone. But how I need Cheryl now.

She aims to cut me down to size with a ten-week personal training course, so I pulled on dodgy leggings and an oversized T-shirt to face the first session at Fitness First, Stockton.

Surely, I hear you say, personal trainers are for the rich and famous, and gym membership for the lucky few? Well, no. Most members are as down to earth as you or I.

Cheryl started the session looking at my diet and taking measurements.

My first good news was that she insists sticking to a rigid diet does no good.

"The trouble is when you stick to many of the eating plans favoured by different slimming clubs, they don't tackle the real issues," she says.

"Faddy diets are no good for a healthy lifestyle, but we need to look at what is eaten as a whole and see where adjustments can be made."

So I was packed off write an eating journal so Cheryl could analyse my daily munching.

Then we then tackled the exercise equipment. Six minutes on the treadmill? "Excellent - no trouble at all," I thought.

But to my horror, Cheryl announced: "That's the warm up over. Now on to the exercises."

To burn fat and get the most out of a gym session, I need to raise my heart rate to a safe level then work through a series of exercises on my own. At the end of 30 minutes with sessions on the various weight machines, bike and treadmill, I was buzzing - but shattered.

Now all I have to do is to keep it up for the weeks ahead, when I'll be reporting back.

nFor further details on personal training sessions contact Cheryl on 07941 918587.

Elaine's body measurements:

Height: 5ft 6in

Weight: 16st 1lb

Waist: 40.6in

Hip: 51in

Thigh: 28.3in

Calf: 18.3in

Chest: 39.2in

Arm: 15.6in
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 4, 2003
Words:956
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Next Article:Good vibrations.


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