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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Birthday will be extra special for Carlisle weight-loss woman

Having battled with her weight since school, Lisa Cowdrey is now celebrating as she approaches her 40th birthday five stones lighter.

Lisa Cowdrey photo
Lisa Cowdrey, left, with trainer Joan Clifford

The 39-year-old, from Kingmoor, Carlisle, has lost an entire quarter of her total body weight in a year.

She was inspired by her sister Amanda to join women-only Curves fitness centre following bad experiences at other gyms in the city.

At the time she weighed 20st 5lbs and said her confidence was rock bottom. But now she has even found herself getting wolf whistles from men in town.

Lisa, who is virtually blind in one eye and suffers from various health problems including asthma, said she had always been big since childhood.

“I’ve been trying to lose weight since school but it was really hard,” she said.

“Every day life was a struggle because I wasn’t confident enough even to get on a bus. I couldn’t go into a changing room in a shop. I felt like everyone was staring at me.

“It was the same at the gym. With us both being big we felt that we weren’t getting the help or support we needed and felt really paranoid.

“But I’d decided to do something about it. I turn 40 at Christmas and I just thought enough was enough.”

That’s when her sister Amanda, 38, from Belah, was given a free trial pass for Curves and encouraged Lisa to join her at the gym.

She said it was different to anything they’d tried before.

Lisa said: “It’s not like other gyms. It’s like a little family. Nobody is looking at you and everyone is really friendly and helpful. We’ve made so many friends and it keeps you motivated to keep coming.”

She combined her new fitness regime with a Slimming World eating plan and says it has changed her life.

In a year she has dropped to just over 15st and as well as looking better, the doctors are pleased with the impact it has had on her health.

Now she says she is a different person. “Five weeks ago I was a godmother for my dad’s niece’s little one. That was a big moment for me,” added Lisa.

“In the past I would never have been able to do that. I just wouldn’t have had the confidence to stand up there.

“I can’t believe how different I feel. I’ve had so many nice comments – I’ve even had men whistling at me in town.”

Amanda, who has also dropped over a stone, said she is very proud of her sister.

Lisa is continuing with her regime until she reaches her target weight of 12st.

And Julia Clifford, who runs Curves with sister Jo, says that if she reaches her goal she plans to enter her in the national Curvette of the Year competition next year.

“Lisa and Amanda are both very special members. They are little rays of sunshine. Lisa in particular has overcome so much,” said Julia.

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