Battling the Bulge

Thirty staff at Spire Washington Hospital have signed up for a programme that’s aiming to help them get fit and shed their extra pounds in time for summer.

Demand for places on the free six-week project has been so intense that the hospital has a waiting list in case anyone drops out before the 2nd April 2014 start date.

Spire Washington and GetFitNorthEast

The weekly sessions, which will bring together nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle advice, were the brainchild of Spire Washington’s director, Shelagh Alderson.

She said: “The hospital has been in the spotlight this year when we featured in the TV programme Weight Loss Ward, which focused on the surgery we perform for patients struggling with obesity.

“Unfortunately, obesity is a growing problem in all walks of life – and just because you work in a hospital, it doesn’t mean you’re immune. I thought it would be great if we could provide staff who want to tackle their extra pounds and get fit at the same time with the incentive of a free programme.

“I had no idea it would prove quite so popular. There was such competition for the 30 places that we’ve had to start a waiting list for those missed out.”

The classes will be provided by GetFitNorthEast (GFNE), which was recommended to the hospital by staff members who were already members of the West Pelton-based group.

Fitness instructor Michelle Garton started the business eight years ago and GFNE now has six members of staff running 70 classes a week at around a dozen different locations between Washington and Consett.

Michelle said: “We have designed a six week programme for the hospital staff. It’s all about changing their lifestyles and diets to become healthier.

“We will meet once a week to discuss their progress and demonstrate the exercises and they’ll also have access to 24/7 support via the website and email.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this with a hospital although we do similar monthly challenges with other members and we have also worked with schools.

“The staff just need the right help and guidance, which they’ll then be able to pass on to the people they work with.”

The Spire Washington Hospital group will also have homework to complete online and they will be able access information on meals and home work-outs via the GFNE website. They’ll be weighed and measured at the start and end of the six week challenge and will be required to keep food diaries throughout. Those who need extra help with their meals will be provided with tailored nutrition plans and those who want to attend GFNE exercise classes will be able to do so at discounted rates.

Shelagh Alderson said: “We’ve had some great reports of what people have achieved through the GFNE programme and we’re looking forward to helping our staff start making a real difference to their health and lifestyles.”

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