By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta, The Connacht Tribune
It’s the competition where the more you lose, the more you gain – as eleven men and women continue their battle to be officially crowned Galway’s Biggest Loser.
The excitement is mounting now as this is the half way mark in the weight week which sees the participants between the ages of 26 and 54 being weighed in every Monday night and being put through their fitness paces for the rest of the week.
The initiative, which began in the Claregalway Hotel’s Core Fitness Gym, involves the participants getting personalised nutrition and fitness programmes and as well as raising money for their individual chosen charity, the winner at the end of the eight weeks, will be given more money based on their individual weight loss, by Paul Gill of Claregalway Hotel.
Gerry Fallon from Loughrea is one of the participants and he is already seeing the benefits though he admits last week wasn’t a good one for him as his weight remained the same.
A road maintenance worker on the M6, Gerry sometimes gets to walk for miles though knee trouble stops him from jogging.
The 49 year old father of two says he was careful enough with his diet but that the nutritional advice on this Biggest Loser Galway programme has opened his eyes.
“I was trying to be careful but I wasn’t doing it right. I would eat fruit with my lunch instead of spreading it out throughout the day to use it as a snack. I love fish but used to eat it in batter. I have cut out sugar and replaced my regular bread with rye bread, ” he said.
Gerry has lost eight pounds already and is determined to put the rest of the time to good use by keeping up the regular gym work under the keen eye of his personal trainer.
John Kelly (35) of Ballinasloe is a cab driver who runs his own company and like a lot of drivers suffers the pitfalls of the sedentary lifestyle of the work.
He admits that the “bottle of coke and a chocolate bar” were his staple snacks on the job and that he decided it was time to get healthy for his own sake but also for his wife, Edith and children.
“I was a devil for the quick energy rushes that soft drinks and chocolate gave you. I signed up determined to lose weight and get fit.
“I have already learned how to cook simple, healthy meals keeping an eye on my portions and I go to the gym in the Claregalway Hotel three nights a week. I also get a 5K walk in around Ballinasloe most days.”
He has lost twelve pounds to date and feels he is on a roll. He has also cut out the coke and chocolate and says he is getting great support from his wife and four children, aged twelve, nine, five and three.
Hairdresser Donna Lydon (32) signed up to the programme once she realised “enough is enough” and that she was too long battling her post-baby weight when the boys are aged nine and eleven.
Donna, who is from Mervue but works in Renmore, admits her biggest downfall was take-away food and eating on the go.
“I have now learned that even if you are only eating a mandarin to sit down at the table and focus on what you are eating. This is just one of the great tips I have got from my personal trainer, Karolina, who is great at motivating me daily with texts and phone calls.
“Though we don’t have targets as such my own personal one is to lose two stone by the end of the eight weeks. I have lost seven and a half pounds in total but this week I want to up the ante and lose about six pounds before my next weight-in on Monday.”
She says her husband, Kenneth, is a great motivator too and he is her chauffeur at the moment as she doesn’t drive.
She is also afraid of water but would love to do some aqua-aerobics, which are available at Core Fitness.
Donna says her weight really ballooned after the birth of her babies until she weighed 16 stone.
The full list of participants are Gerard Maloney (39), Lisa Hynes (26), Stephen Kerins (31), Teresa Sheridan (54), Eileen Corcoran (35), John Kelly (33), Jacinta Ramsey (44), Caroline Lydon (34), Donna Lydon (32) and Gerry Fallon (49).