Kerry Robertson: Fit Factor weight loss is a family affair

Kerry Robertson gives more weight loss top tips following her life-changing experience of taking part in last year's Fit Factor

Gemma Robson and Carl Martin
Gemma Robson and Carl Martin

Kerry Robertson: It’s a family affair.

We are now past the half-way point and the Fit Factor guys are smashing it. They have lost over 13st in six weeks between them and they all deserve a big pat on the back as it’s all down to them.

Self determination can be a powerful thing and even more powerful when buoyed and supported by close relatives and friends. But if you have just one negative comment or unsupportive behaviour from a close relative or friend it can cause deflating damage!

Losing weight is mainly a solo effort as it’s all about you and how you feel, your actions and reactions towards food and exercise, but being social animals we often rely on others for moral, emotional and practical support. We all know that losing weight in a group, with a friend or family member can give much better results than going it alone.

This year’s Fit Factor competition has, for the first time a couple entered. Gemma Robson and Carl Martin have been together for a good few years and have two beautiful young children. They have, in the past managed to lose weight together on various diets and plans, but I’m guessing they like and enjoy the same things, and as family life takes over they have both fallen by the wayside and found the weight creeping back on.

Not anymore, they are not only in the Fit Factor competition together they are in it together forever, supporting and keeping an eye on each other and generally guiding each other through the complexities of weight loss.

Ash Cuniff another participant in Fit Factor has managed to make weight loss infectious and fiancée Claire is dropping the pounds too. Family plays a big part in helping each other and giving encouragement when needed.

My experience was and still is positive. My husband has always been svelte and really not in need of losing weight, although I’m on my own in the act of losing fat, emotionally I’m very well supported. The hubby has made sacrifices for me and adapted to life without so much as a moan or a whinge.

At the very beginning I asked him if he wanted to eat what I was eating with added extras like pasta, rice and potatoes on his plate or did he want to fend for himself as I wasn’t prepare to cook two different meals, he was happy to fend for himself and as a result has gained a few pounds in the process.

He was having pizza, curries and cheese toasties, some may think that’s not supportive but I believe that the quicker I got used to naughty food being around me the better! It only made me more determined to be good! I like him with a little weight on him but I love him for being my rock and all round number one fan.

When I ran the Great North Run last year I knew I was running towards ‘home’ my husband, little boy, Dad and Step Mum were at the finish line and they are all part of my world. When we reunited at the finish line it was very emotional and I could see the pride on their faces. It made every ache, pain and injury worth it! Plus I raised over £1,000 for charity!

Family is the single most important factor in many people’s lives. Last year’s Fit Factor winner John Thompson lost an amazing 5st which is a fantastic achievement but he didn’t do it alone, he did it with the dedication and support of his whole family, his wife lost 3st 7lbs, his son lost 4st and his daughter lost an amazing 1st 7lbs. Wow! If there was ever an advert for families working together the Thompsons would be the stars! They continue to this day, supporting and encouraging each other.

So how can a family benefit from a parent losing weight?

Well, before I lost weight, hubby would do everything, I was so lazy and tired all the time. When I started losing weight I would say don’t pass me things (like the TV remote), make me get up off the sofa and get it myself. I started doing lots more round the house but the most important change was with my little boy.

BWL (Before Weight Loss) I wouldn’t take my boy to soft play without the hubby as he would go on the frames and slide with him as I couldn’t fit or mainly because I was scared I’d get stuck. I wouldn’t have gone for walks with the scooter or trike, for fear of not being able to keep up or being able to run after a runaway toddler. Even going to the park was difficult.

I couldn’t take him on the slide and it hurt to sit on the swings. I do have one big regret, I was so ashamed of my size that going swimming was out of the question and as a result my boy isn’t keen on swimming and the last time we went he cried the whole time, the guilt I feel is terrible.

We are going swimming today and will start to go each week with the warmer weather coming; hopefully my wee man will start to enjoy the pool soon!

I’m not alone in this feeling, Carl Martin, one half of the Fit Factor couple, only recently went swimming with his kids for the first time. The reaction of his children was enough for him to see that losing weight has a lot more benefits than smaller trousers. Enjoying time with your children is one of the biggest bonuses of losing weight.

What about losing weight as a spouse?

Being literally the bigger half was sometimes difficult for me. I would wonder if he was really happy with a big girl like me (I was about the size I am now, when we met) and I would often think if he wasn’t happy he could leave me and being fat I wouldn’t meet anyone else. These are just some of the confidence issues that come with being big. Fortunately for me, my hubby loves me whatever my size. I was also fortunate that my family provided me with healthy alternatives when visiting for dinner.

For some it’s not that simple. It’s sometimes reported that when a larger person embarks on a weight loss journey and achieves their goal, their other half can become jealous or envious of their achievements causing the relationship to break down.

Often a spouse can be concerned that their other half has suddenly become attractive to others and this can cause problems. Or, in some cases, the person who has lost the weight realises with the extra confidence and energy that comes with losing weight that there is the promise of a better life out there and unfortunately they move on leaving their weight and old spouse behind.

But the worst negative situation is the non-supportive spouse, family or friends, the saboteurs! They are the ones who say, ‘go on have a biscuit, one won’t hurt’ or they just don’t understand the diet and buy you chocolates and sweets. They are the ones who tell you that you can’t do it or you are fine as you are .... These are the people you need to see less of while losing weight.

Proving them wrong can be the best feeling in the world, along with losing weight!

There are lots more pros to losing weight than cons and in general everyone around a weight losing person benefits.

My family have recently admitted to me that since losing weight, I’m much more pleasant to be around and even at times can be ‘fun’ ... good to know! I’ll admit I was grumpy and annoyed with myself, which I took out on the people I love the most. Naughty Kerry! But I’ve also inspired others to start their own weight loss journey ... good job!

Confidence plays a huge part in life after weight loss. It can mean the difference between an individual going for a promotion or a new career entirely which can directly benefit a family with a higher income coming in, meaning more family trips and treats.

Larger people often shy away from promoting themselves at work and try to fade in to the shadows. Some are larger than life characters and use being bigger to their advantage in the world of work, like Big Daddy ... do you remember Big Daddy? Or Jeff Capes! But seriously, be it family life, work life, love life or just life, losing weight can benefit them all. What have you got to lose?

Kerry’s top cooking tips

Bring the family together with these hearty recipies:

Slow Cooked Country Pork

Pork Shoulder Chunks (enough for your family)

2 Leeks

4 Carrots

2 Onions

2 Tinned chopped tomatoes

Pint Homemade Chicken Stock

Choice of dried or fresh herbs

2 tsps Smoked Paprika

Dry fry large chunks of the pork shoulder, removing any large areas of fat (there will be some fat running through, this will melt during cooking) until browned off.

Place in a slow cooker or casserole dish and add the chopped leeks, chopped carrots, tomatoes, herbs and paprika. Pour in enough stock or water to just cover the meat and vegetables and cook on a low heat for six hours. Add more water if you want to make soup afterwards. After serving all the meat, any left over’s can be blended down to create a tasty soup to be used for lunch the next day!

Stir Fry

Get the family around the table and enjoy a stir fry together

Meat of Choice

Bag of Stir fry veg

Chinese five spice and paprika

Crushed garlic

Chopped ginger

Fresh Lime juice

Chopped mushrooms, peppers, courgettes and onions

Cheat Tip: Most big supermarkets sell bags of pre-chopped stir fry. Make sure they don’t contain any starchy carbs or sauces.

Heat a wok or large pan add one or two spray’s of oil, once hot add the chopped chicken or turkey or lean pork or beef and brown quickly constantly moving to avoid sticking, add a good dusting of smoked paprika, Chinese five spice, crushed garlic, chopped fresh ginger and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Add in the chopped mushrooms, pepper, courgette, etc and once nearly cooked add in a bag of cheat veg and cook down adding a little more spice if required.

Give the kids rice or a tortilla wrap with their meal.

Enjoy!

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