The Journal’s Biggest Loser: Week One: Thrown in at the deep end

I have come to learn in the last week that you can’t undo 36 years of bad habits in a week. With the commitment on my part to sign up for Biggest Loser at the OLT in Creggan, I decided not to wait - but to get a head start on myself.

I promised myself one week of 100% on plan eating with Slimming World and the introduction of some form of exercise. So with new trainers bought, and a hoodie to keep me warm I set off walking the streets and occasionally trying to break into a run on occasion.

Needless to say running is not as easy as it was when I was nine and playing tig in the school playground.

In fact if my efforts over the last week have been anything to go by, come the day the of the Zombie Apocalypse I’m in serious trouble. I’ll just have to lay down and play dead.

Or at least I would have - last week.

I’m assured in ten weeks time, with my commitment set to high I may just be able to outrun the undead,

So, with the legs walked off me I was feeling invigorated as I arrived at the OLT on Monday night for the official registration. I had managed to join a team of friends who were already planning on doing Biggest Loser - and we found a name for ourselves, thanks to my followers on Twitter, of Four Crisps and a Diet Coke. We filled in our forms, paid over our initial £25 fee and waited for the moment of reckoning - the weigh in.

Thankfully unlike the TV programme of the same name this is not done publicly - your gargantuan size is not displayed on a flashing screen and no one batted an eyelid as I stepped on, or as the tape measure was wrapped around my hips.

It all seemed relatively painless and off I went home thinking life was going to be breezy. I was even more reassured when the timetable for the week was later posted online and I saw my first session was in the pool. (Swimsuit hang ups aside - I’ve decided nothing will hold me back and have even promised my children we will go to the pool at the weekend).

When it came to exercising in the water I had a certain image in my mind.

That image, I admit, was probably the pensioner crawl - you know bobbing up and down in the water, not getting a drop of the wet stuff on my shampoo and set and maybe having a wee chat as I swam.

At worst I was expecting some lepping up and down to ‘Let’s Get Physical’ for a bit before starting on the pensioner crawl.

I had my first sense that was not to be case when I arrived at William Street Pool and met the people from the Biggest Loser Group who had been in before us.

“My legs are like jelly,” one said. “I don’t know how I got out of that pool,” said another. “It was really tough going.”

I looked at them horrified and they quickly clarified “Tough going but good. It was definitely good.” But my this stage my nerves were shot to pieces.

The training was led by Tommy McCallion who quickly made it known this was not going to be a walk in the park - or a swim in the shallow end.

The session was taken in the training pool at William Street, which I’ve not been in since I was in first year at Thornhill - which I quickly calculated was 25 years ago. It took the form of resistance training, in a High Intensity Training style (short bursts of intense activity followed by short recovery periods before it started again).

I can safely say three things. After the first ten minutes, when my legs were begging for mercy, Tommy announced that was the end of our warm up and I very nearly burst into tears. If that was the warm up, I was in trouble, big trouble.

The second thing I can say is that at least in the water you don’t sweat as much - or it doesn’t show which is a good thing, right? The third thing is that as hard as it was I came away afterwards with a massive sense of achievement.

150 people have signed up for Biggest Loser.

In my colour group - the red team, if you want to throw your support behind us - there were people of all ages and all shapes and sizes.

As I struggled and pushed myself I looked around me and felt (and I hope this doesn’t sound patronising) exceptionally proud of every one of them as they pushed themselves to their physical limits.

Seeing others trying as hard as you keeps you going. Being in the same boat as others is a motivator.

We are just one exercise session into Biggest Loser and our camaraderie is already building.

The next week will bring more challenges not least the first Biggest Loser weigh in. I’ll let you know how it goes.

To follow my progress through the week follow me on Twitter @claireallan