A father and daughter team from Lurgan have proved to be an unbeatable combination when it comes to weight loss.
Paul McConville and his daughter Paula McDonald have lost three stone each after Paul overheard his daughter appeal for someone to go with her to Weightwatchers.
Paula (34) is a mum of two - Aodhan (9) and Fionnbarr (6) - while her dad Paul (59) is married to Angela and including Paula has five children.
Paul explained how the weight loss journey began.
He said: “I overheard Paula talking in the house, asking did anyone want to go along with her to Weightwatchers. She was really talking to the ladies of the house but I just decided there and then that I would, as I knew I needed to lose some weight. I had turned into a couch potato and was eating while lying on said couch.”
Paula added: “After having children I’d started putting on weight. I just wasn’t watching what I was eating. I was cooking with butter and cream, etc and there was a definite lack of activity.
“I couldn’t squeeze myself into a size 14 jeans in a clothes shop and there was no way was I buying a size 16 so I joined Weightwatchers instead.”
Describing how he felt about going to his first class, Paul said: “I was apprehensive to say the least.
“I thought I would be the only man but that was far from the case which made me feel more at ease.”
Paula also said she was a bit nervous at the start but leader Bernie Walsh and the other members were so welcoming she soon looked forward to going each week.
When asked what their biggest change in diet was Paul commented: “I cut back on bread and increased salads.
I now have whole wheat pasta and brown rice instead of white and love it!
“I no longer ‘treat’ myself all evening. I decided myself that I would not have any treats after a certain time each night.
“I drink loads of water but still enjoy a wee drink at the weekend just not as many, and it really wasn’t that hard to do.”
Paula said: “It was portion control for me.
“I was shocked at about exactly how much I could consume without really needing it.
“Now I bulk my meals out with things that are either zero pro points or I know are very low.”
In terms of exercise Paul has started walking and Paula is doing the same as well as going to the gym.
Paul said: “I started walking one mile a day and believe me that did take a lot out of me but now I walk at least six miles every day, hail, rain or snow.
“I find for me that it is a great mental exercise as well as physical.”
Paula explained: “Exercise has been a big part of my weight loss journey.
“I also started with the walking but now attend a gym and just love it. My fitness is very important to me.
Paul stated: “The best thing about having lost three stone is I find I have loads more energy, less aches and pains and have dropped from a 38” waist to 34”.
“My biggest goal was to get my hands on a Weightwatcher Gold Card.
“I have no intention of ever giving it back. I put too much hard work into getting it. This card entitles me to free classes for the rest of my life.”
Paula said: “For me, clothes shopping is now a pleasure instead of a chore.
“But the best thing of all is I had to have major surgery last year and my consultant told me I was in the best shape I could be in for what I had to go through and the fact that I was now so healthy that it would really speed up my recovery.”
Of Weigthwatchers Paul said: “Hearing how successful other members had been really inspired me.
“Bernie our leader is a wonderful woman and has time for everyone. It amazed me the fact that she remembered everyone’s names. That’s dedication for you.”
Paula added: “I would advise anyone that wants to lose weight and improve their health to join Weightwatchers.
“Bernie is a fantastic leader and is an inspiration. She has been there done that and has kept her weight off for a long time.
“I always looked forward to going to my class. My son Fionnbarr loved to go too before he started school as he always got a Weightwatcher bar to eat during class.
“We all get hints, tips and recipe ideas and it is just like one happy family.”