AFTER over indulging a bit too much at Christmas, January is a time when many vow to shed the pounds. Anyone looking for an inspiration should look no further than Cath Cairns, who since this time last year has lost an amazing 110lbs, or nearly eight stone.
Cath signed up to local Weight Watchers classes in a bid to achieve her goal and has been helped every step of the way by group leader Rebecca Mills, who started the class in Berwickshire last year after shedding 82lbs herself in 2010.
Another one of Rebecca’s star pupils is Terri Renton, who lost 4st 4lbs last year. Both are determined not to let the pounds creep back on.
With classes about to start for 2013 in Coldstream, Dunbar, Duns and Berwick, they believe anyone who has the will and determination can follow their example.
As caretaker at Duns Volunteer Hall, Cath is a well-known figure around the town, but her size used to put her off from standing up at audiences at big public events, even though it had become part of her job.
After growing tired of not feeling happy in her own skin, Cath joined Rebecca’s Weight Watchers class last January determined to make some positive changes but she is shocked by the results. “I looked at some of my old clothes the other day and had an ‘oh my god’ moment,” Cath explained.
“I couldn’t believe that I used to have to wear things that size. I think my weight loss has shocked and surprised others and myself.
“Working at the hall people see me all the time and it was encouraging to have them come up to me and comment on how much I’d lost. It made me feel better about myself.”
A very brave Cath had a very public weigh-in back in November when she stood on the scales in front of a packed Volunteer Hall audience during the interval of Duns Players’ performance of ‘Flare Path’.
Although it was a nerve-wracking experience, the result and reaction from everyone in the room was a massive confidence boost.
“This time last year I absolutely hated the way I looked,” Cath added. “I just didn’t like myself very much, but now I’m feeling much more positive.
“I used to hate having to go into shops and trying clothes on, but then having to hand them back to the skinny minnie assistants because they didn’t fit.”
Terri, who this time last year was a size 20 but is now an enthusiastic member of a local running club, faced similar issues.
“I’d go into a shop for an outfit to wear for a night, but then see myself in the mirror and feel really down.
“I still eat well and I don’t deprive myself of things I like; it’s all about having them in moderation.
“I joined Weight Watchers after I tried other diets and programmes that didn’t work for me.
“To be honest I thought Weight Watchers was going to be another one I started but didn’t stick with. so to have now been at my target weight for four months is fantastic.”
Teacher Rebecca described both Cath and Terri as “a real inspiration to other group members” and says that although starting a diet in January has become something of a cliche it is as good a time as any to make a change for the better.
“Losing weight not only makes a difference to your appearance it does wonders for your confidence. Cath being weighed at ‘Flare Path’ proved that.
“Joining Weight Watchers is all about making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. It’s not just a January thing.”
Both Cath and Terri admitted to feeling anxious before being weighed at the first meeting they attended but said if anything the routine of being weighed helped in the long run.
“It definitely makes you more focussed,” Cath added. “When I was first weighed I was more than I thought I was, but everyone is in the same boat and its the banter between everyone in the group and the support we give each other that’s the best part of it all. To anyone who is considering joining up, I’d say if you’re going to do it do it for yourself – not anyone else.”
Rebecca Mills now hosts Weight Watchers sessions on Mondays at 5.30pm in Coldstream Community Centre; Tuesday at 10am in the Royal Mackintosh Hotel in Dunbar; Tuesday at 5.30pm and 7pm in the Salvation Army centre, Berwick; and Wednesday at 7pm in the Volunteer Hall, Duns.
For more information ring Rebecca on 07553472486 or visit www.facebook.com/rebeccamills.ww.