Fit Factor finalists joined by the man that brought you deep-fried Mars Bars

The Journal editor Brian Aitken brought the story about a Scottiish 'delicacy' to the world's attention. Now he pays the price by joining our Fit Factor finalists

Taking part in the Journals Fit Factor 2014, left to right, Journal Editor Brian Aitken, Carl Martin, Carol Sijakovic, Craig Barbour, Lisa Embleton, Ashley Cuniff, Gemma Robson and trainer David Fairlamb
Taking part in the Journals Fit Factor 2014, left to right, Journal Editor Brian Aitken, Carl Martin, Carol Sijakovic, Craig Barbour, Lisa Embleton, Ashley Cuniff, Gemma Robson and trainer David Fairlamb

Call it penance if you will - but I am joining the Fit Factor finalists this year as they attempt to lose weight and lead healthier lifestyles.

You should too. In fact, you CAN too with the help of the recipes, advice and fitness videos we have on our website.

Penance? Well, whisper it, but I am the reason the deep fried Mars bar became known worldwide. I hesitate to use the word scoop.

If you look on Wikipedia you will see that the first recorded mention of the ‘delicacy’ was in the Aberdeen Evening Express in 1995.

The article goes on to say that the publication followed a tip-off phone call to a journalist about a Stonehaven chip shop frying Mars bars for pupils.

Not quite. I was assistant editor of the newspaper at the time and I got to hear about what was happening from the fryer himself who shared the same local as me. In fact the chip shop was opposite my flat.

 

I told the newsdesk, who despatched the reporter to Stonehaven to get the story. The following day it was picked up by the Daily Record and then it went viral, which is quite something considering so few people had access to the internet then - Google didn’t come along until September 1997.

I would apologise even more profusely for liberating the deep fried Mars bar from the confines of North East Scotland and helping to reinforce the stereotype of unhealthy Scots, except I gained a new perspective recently

After giving a talk to journalism students, at which I made mention of this notoriety, I saw a tweet from one of the students that said: “Met the guy who broke the deep fried Mars bar story - and he doesn’t even mention it on his Twitter bio.”

Along with personal fitness trainer David Fairlamb, The Journal launched the Great North Fitness Revolution four years ago do encourage people in the region - the second most obese region in Europe - to eat healthier and to exercise more.

For the past two years we have been working together on the Fit Factor, a regional competition similar to TV’s The Biggest Loser.

The results have been spectacular and this year’s six finalists were announced in the paper yesterday.

Now I am going to join them for the next 12 weeks as they undergo training with David Fairlamb and follow the Caveman diet, eating plenty of meat, fruit and vegetables but no carbs or processed food.

Apparently I can’t have soy sauce with my stir fry or fat free yoghurt with my turkey steaks. Deep fried Mars bars are definitely out.

Tomorrow we’ll tell you the remarkable story of a man who failed to make the Fit Factor final last year but followed David Fairlamb all the way and shed stone after stone.

You can too. Log on to www.thejournal.co.uk/fitfactor.

We’re also encouraging people who are on Twitter to use #fitfactor

Wish me luck - and good luck to you too

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer