The biscuits have been packed away and the crisps are hidden; Ballymac’s Biggest Loser is back.
For anyone unfamiliar with the term ‘biggest loser’ it’s not some media campaign to poke fun at people who constantly misplace things. It’s a community event that offers people the chance to lose weight and get fit.
Ballymac’s Biggest Loser is a joint venture between Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership and Derry City Council and it’s co-ordinated by Roxanne Nixon.
“This year’s event is much bigger and better than last year,” smiled Roxanne.
“We have much more men taking part this year which is great because last year we didn’t have as many as we would have liked. We have split all of the men up this year and there are a few in each of the four groups.”
Those brave or indeed mad enough to take part in Ballymac’s Biggest Loser are split into either the blue, red, yellow or black groups. The groups are now into their third of what is a ten week programme and each week they are weighed and the team who loses the most weight at the end of the ten weeks is, yes, you’ve guessed it, crowned Ballymac’s Biggest Loser.
Hugh Boyle is a 44 year-old shop-fitter from Foyle Springs. Hugh is married with two children, one is aged 19 and the other is 15.
It’s Hugh’s first time taking part in Ballymac’s Biggest Loser but last year he took part in a similar event in Creggan.
Hugh also needs a hernia operation but has been told by his doctor he must lose some weight before he can proceed with the surgery.
“It’s really simple - the reason I got involved with Ballymac’s Biggest Loser is because I am over weight and need to get fit,” said Hugh matter-of-factly.
“I’ve a few stone to lose before I go for my operation but I’ve every belief that I’ll make it.
“We’ve only been going for three weeks and I have already lost almost a stone,” he said happily.
Ask anyone who has taken part in a community weight loss and fitness project and they will tell you that the most enjoyable aspect isn’t the exercise, the talks or the weigh ins, it’s the social side, the craic and as Hugh says, “the banter”.
“The blue team are winning at the minute but that doesn’t matter.
“Everyone is there to lose weight, get fit and enjoy themselves. The banter has been absolutely brilliant and there’s a good bit of slagging going on too.”
Hugh has been meticulous in his approach to losing weight. Not only does he attend the two classes every week, he has convinced his wife, son and daughter to join him in his healthy living revolution.
“I told them that I was getting rid of all the rubbish food in the house and they all agreed.
“My wife, who isn’t even taking part in the biggest loser, has lost over seven pound,” he laughed.
The groups meet twice a week in different locations and the activities range from kettle bells, spin classes and circuit training.
Thirty-one year-old Patricia Logue took part in last year’s biggest loser event but this year she has returned with two of her sisters, one of her sister-in-laws and a friend.
“It’s great craic and I would recommend it to anyone. I managed to lose a full stone in weight last year and amazingly I’ve kept it off so if I could lose another stone this time around I would be absolutely delighted,” said mum of three Patricia.
The participants always take centre stage when it comes to events like Ballymac’s Biggest Loser but both Patricia and Hugh praised the likes of Roxanne Nixon and the team of coaches who make the event possible.
“It’s an amazing event and at £50 for the ten weeks it works out at £2.50 per class,” said Hugh.
“Roxanne and the coaches are great to work with and I’ve no doubt, my team, the blue team will win at the end,” predicted Patricia.
If you would like to take part in Ballymac’s Biggest Loser contact Roxanne Nixon at the BHCP offices in 2 Dunluce Court, Ballymagroarty or telephone her 028 7127 1977