THE race is hotting up to find Sunderland’s Biggest Loser.
Five months into the year-long weight loss contest and the slimmers are starting to see a change in their shape.
The finalists have been having one-on-one classes with Faye Werbelow three times a week, as well as unlimited use of Fitness 2000 gym in Roker in a bid to help them change their lifestyles forever.
The contest was devised by gym owner Les Ojugbana after watching ITV’s Weight Loss Ward, filmed in Sunderland Royal Hospital, and Wearside being ranked sixth from the top of the UK’s 150 most inactive places to live.
At the end of the year, the person who changes their body the most will win £1,000, a free gym membership, a photo shoot with David Lawson Photography and a hair makeover with Jen Deighton Hairdressers for the shoot.
Sunderland University student Emma Dougherty, 21, from Grindon, says she’s delighted with her progress so far.
After entering the contest at 21st 8lbs, she’s lost 2st 4lbs.
“I’ve had personal trainers before, but it’s never worked in the way this has,” she said.
“I love coming here and training with Faye, she’s really helped to inspire me.
“I’ve completely changed my lifestyle and have started clean eating. I used to eat lots of pasta with sauces but I don’t do that any more. I actually eat three times a day now, whereas before I would eat once and really late at night.”
Fellow finalist Sarah Hagan, 39, from Farringdon, whose starting weight was 21st, said: “My little boy’s been poorly which affected the times I could attend classes, but I’ve really noticed the difference the past few weeks.
“I’ve lost 9lbs now and I’ve started noticing a change in my fitness levels. I used to be wary of gyms before, I thought everyone would be looking at me, but this gym isn’t like that. It’s given me the push I needed.”
Trainer Faye knows all too well what the finalists are going through.
After changing her diet and approach to exercise, she dropped from 15st 6lbs to 10st 6lbs and found a new career as a personal trainer.
“I’m pushy with them, because I know what they are going through,” she said. “It’s tough love, I don’t accept excuses. When Les started this contest, he made it clear it wouldn’t happen overnight – it’s about a lifestyle change and being patient.”