Well, I did it. Biggest Loser ended last night with a Train the Trainer session which allowed us losers to wreak revenge on the trainers who have pushed us to our limits over the course of the last ten weeks.
Of course the people at the OLT are no dosers, as we would say in Derry. They knew that by the time last night landed, and the rose tinted spectacles of having come out the other end of the programme still alive were firmly on, that we were likely to be more affectionate and less aggressive towards the folks who forced us up Southway, or increased the weights on the bars, or who inflicted burpees on us with no mercy...
There is no doubt this has been an emotional experience - and I wasn’t prepared for it to be so. I figured it wasn’t really the TV programme, it was a series of classes run at a community centre. It couldn’t be that tough. I wouldn’t find myself in tears of frustration at times, and tears of pride at others.
But I have, and every week when I have walked through the doors to a new class I have worked as hard as I could and achieved more than I ever would have thought possible just ten weeks ago. I came to the programme with the hope that it would change my life - and it has. I have improved and most of all my attitude has changed.
This isn’t going to be all high praise from the newly converted exercise enthusiast’s handbook however - I think in the interest of fairness it is only appropriate to point out the worst bits as well as the best bits.
The tough times? Well they started the first time they asked me (all of me) to get into a swimsuit in public. The first big challenge over, the second challenge was hauling myself out of the baby pool in William Street. With no steps to climb up I’m not afraid to say my exit from the pool was less than graceful. I felt like a beached whale flopping over onto the deck.
The first time I was told what a ‘plank’ was, was also tough, but not as tough as actually being expected to do five in a row.
There will, always, always be a special place in hell for Spin Class - it and myself have not reconciled over the last 10 weeks and nor do I expect we ever will.
And as for the trek up Southway, when I was among the last back into the OLT, feeling every ounce of me wobble up that hill, that was as mentally challenging as it was physically challenging.
But the good times have been great. The encouragement from the team at the OLT - who provide this programme at knockdown cost of just £50 for ten weeks - has been second to none and the team spirit from my fellow losers has been brilliant. We have laughed, cried, got angry and got silly at times together. I have made friends who I know I will stay in touch with above and beyond these ten weeks.
Seeing the beginning of my physical transformation has been brilliant. For the first time in my life I have realised that truly making yourself slimmer and healthier is not a matter of diet alone. (I know, it should have been obvious).
So - the nitty gritty. In ten weeks I have achieved the following: I have lost 12lbs in weight and 21cms off my bulk. I have dropped two full BMI points and two dress sizes. I have a waist again - having lost 9cms from my waist alone. I can finish classes now. I can finally run the length of myself - and maybe a bit more.
My family have benefitted from a fitter, happier me. My self confidence has soared - not only due to my physical appearance but to my pride at being able to achieve my goals.
All that is left is to say thanks to my team-mates, especially Edel and John and the rest of the Red Team, the trainers at OLT, the staff behind the scenes who have pulled it all together and everyone who has encouraged me. I can assure you this is only the beginning.