FFIT Cymru: five lives changed forever, with a staggering 13 stone total weight loss

By Raspberry Jim,

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Delighted leaders of S4C series FFIT Cymru are celebrating after losing a “life-changing” 13 stone between them in just eight weeks.

Staggering results were revealed about the five leaders’ improved health and fitness levels as they took to the scales for the last time in the S4C series finale, which is now available to watch along with the rest of the series online at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

Over the past two months viewers have tuned in as leaders Nic Davies, from Penygroes, Carmarthenshire; Mathew Thomas from Gaerwen; Catherine Lewis, from Caernarfon; Judith Owen, from Llanwnda; and Leon Welsby from Bridgend, have overhauled their health and fitness routines in a bid to transform their lives.

During that time, the leaders have received expert support from fitness trainer Rae Carpenter, psychologist Dr Ioan Rees, and nutritionist Sioned Quirke; with detailed plans shared online for everyone to follow.

Nic, Penygroes, Carmarthenshire

Nic, who works at Glangwili Hospital, has seen his weight plummet from 18 stone 4lbs to 15 stone 0.5lbs. His cholesterol levels have halved since the beginning of the series, and the fantastic news is he no longer needs to take tablets to combat high blood pressure. After enjoying the 5k parkrun challenge in week 7 of the challenge, he has now started training for this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon.

Leon, Bridgend

Meanwhile, Urdd youth worker Leon, from Bridgend, has lost a phenomenal 48% of his fat mass: a result which saw his weight plummet 3 stone 11.5lbs. Now weighing 17 stone 10.5 pounds, he has a much lower risk of having a heart attack, a very real threat due to family history. And he has completed what he set out to achieve, and will now be able to ride on the rollercoaster which he was previously turned away from because of his size.

Judith, Llanwnda, near Caernarfon

After years of health problems, former head teacher Judith was determined not to let Crohn’s disease hold her back any longer; it was time to get in shape. Not only has she shed the pounds – shrinking from 13 stone 1lb to 11 stone 8.5lbs – she also no longer needs to undergo an operation for a hernia. She has joined a weekly running club and her fitness age is now 10 years younger that at the beginning of the series… and is actually younger that her current age!

Catherine, Caernarfon

Young mother, and bride-to-be, Catherine had a crippling lack of self-confidence caused by her weight. She has lost a total of 2 stones and 2.5lbs, and over 12 inches from her hips, which has seen her grow in confidence, becoming more outgoing and active, which has seen massive benefits for her and her young daughter. This is a journey she vows to continue; with a wedding to plan, nothing will hold her back now!

Mathew, Gaerwen, Anglesey

The series saw proud dad-of-three Mathew return to the rugby field and training with boxing legend Joe Calzaghe! That certainly did the trick, and Mathew has caught the fitness bug once again. His fitness age is now 20 years younger than at the beginning of the series, with a total loss of 2 stones and 10 pounds and an impressive 10 inches off his waist. He’s also quit smoking, and the fresh air has reduced the age of his lungs by 10 years too!

FFIT Cymru presenter Lisa Gwilym, who also vowed to get active as part of the series, said: “I’d like to congratulate our fantastic five on their amazing weight loss results which are very well deserved.

“Their dedication and hard work has been absolutely inspirational to witness during the show’s run, and they’ve really thrown themselves into every aspect of the FFIT Cymru journey.

“We are thrilled to have spurred them on in their life changing weight loss transformation and we wish them every success for the future as they embark on happier, healthier lifestyles.”

The benefits to their health have been assessed during a series of tests at Bangor University’s School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, which were undertaken by the leaders at the start and at the end of the eight weeks.

Tomos Jones, PhD Researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology, who conducted the tests with the five leaders, said: “It is clear to see that the leaders have worked extremely hard over the last eight weeks. As well as completing a 5k run, the tests that they have undergone here at the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, show an improved standard of fitness and an improvement in the state of their health.

“The leaders deserve a lot of credit for the success that they have achieved in their transformation and for inspiring others to do it for themselves.”

The entire FFIT Cymru series can be watched again as a box set, on demand, at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

FFIT Cymru will return for a second series in 2019, and if you’re interested in taking part, follow @ffitcymru on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch.

To follow FFIT Cymru’s nutrition and exercise plans, visit s4c.cymru/ffitcymru

Before and after weight and inches loss for each leader

 Nic

Start End
Weight 18st 4lb 15st 0.5lb

(-3st 3.5lb)

Waist 49″ 39”
Chest 54″ 42”
Right Arm 17.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 18” 14”
Right leg 27.5” 24”
Left leg 28” 25”
Hips 47” 39”

 

Leon

Start End
Weight 21st 8lb 17st 10.5lb

(-3st 11.5lb)

Waist 51 “ 40
Chest 51.5″ 43
Right Arm 16″ 14
Left Arm 15.5″ 13
Right leg 30″ 26.5
Left leg 30″ 26
Hips 49.5 41

 

Judith

Start End
Weight 13st 1lb 11st 8.5lb

(-1st 6.5lb)

Waist 41” 33.5”
Chest 44” 42”
Right Arm 14” 12.5”
Left Arm 14” 12”
Right leg 24.5” 22”
Left leg 24” 21.5”
Hips 43.5” 35”

 

Catherine

Start End
Weight 17st 5lb 15st 2.5lb

(-2st 2.5lb)

Waist 43.5″ 36”
Chest 47.5” 43”
Right Arm 16.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 16” 14”
Right leg 32” 27”
Left leg 34” 27.5”
Hips 53.6” 41”

 

Mathew

Start End
Weight 21st 2lb 18st 6lb
(-3st 8lb)
Waist 51.5” 42”
Chest 52.5” 47”
Right Arm 19.5” 17”
Left Arm 19.5” 17”
Right leg 31” 27”
Left leg 31” 28”
Hips 14.5” 41”

Former Rugby Player, teenage mum and children’s nurse set to star in new S4C show

By Raspberry Jim,

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A teenage mum, a children’s nurse and a former rugby player are three of the people chosen to feature in a new health and fitness programme on S4C.

FFIT Cymru, which is hitting screens from April 10, will follow five participants as they aim to transform their lifestyles for the better.

During the series, which runs for eight episodes, the five participants will embark on a journey of a lifetime, supported, advised and guided by the show’s team of experts; personal trainer Rae Carpenter, dietitian Sioned Quirke and psychologist Dr. Ioan Rees.

Serial snacker Mathew Thomas, who weighs in at over 21 stone, is hoping to transform his eating habits and shift the pounds after his wife persuaded him to apply for the show. The dad-of-three from Anglesey, who had a promising rugby career ended by injury, has already turned his life around after a 12-month stint in jail, after he fell into the wrong crowd . He is now hoping to overhaul his lifestyle with the help of FFIT Cymru’s team of experts.

Teenage mum Catherine Lewis, from Caernarfon, is hoping the show will not only help her lose weight but gain confidence. The 19-year-old mum-of-one has never been on a night out with friends as she feels too self-conscious about her weight. Having got engaged to her partner, Jac, at Christmas, she has yet to go wedding dress shopping as she wants to lose weight before walking into a shop.

Having struggled with his weight since he was young, Leon Welsby’s weight issues came to a head after the rollercoaster fanatic queued two-and-a-half hours to go on a ride in Spain, only to be turned away because he wouldn’t fit in the seat.  A night-time binge eater, Leon, who lives in Bridgend, is heading back to Spain in August with his employer – the Urdd – and his target is to be able to fit in the rollercoaster.

Children’s nurse Nic Davies wants to be a better role model to his two sons, Macs and Guto, and in his words, be a “Ffit Father, not Fat Father!”. The Llanelli resident used to play rugby 2-3 times a week, but piled on the pounds when he stopped playing due to the birth of his kids. The shift-worker is hoping to overhaul his lifestyle after his colleagues and doctors at Glangwili Hospital have also been nagging him to lose weight.

By her own admission, head teacher Judith Owen from Caernarfon has used her health issues as an excuse not to do physical exercise. The busy mum-of-two has suffered with Crohns disease for 20 years. After several surgical procedures, which saw her on one occasion contract MRSA, which put her life at risk, she had an ileostomy bag fitted. Despite more recently being diagnosed with epilepsy, doctors have advised her to do more physical activity. With an active family, she wants to do FFIT Cymru to do something for herself and sees it as her opportunity to ‘shine.’

Whittled down from 200 applicants, 14 hopefuls joined the FFIT Cymru team for an assessment day where they were put through their paces, emotionally and physically.

The final five were then revealed when the show’s presenter Lisa Gwilym surprised them at their homes and places of work with the news. She said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with our ‘fab five’ who at our assessment day all showed a real desire to overhaul their lifestyles.

“While each have their own reason for wanting to take part, they are relatable to many people across Wales. A shift worker who skips meals, eats irregularly and unhealthy food, finding it hard to keep up a regular exercise schedule. A teenage mum who struggles with confidence issues. A busy working mum who struggles to fit exercise into her life. A busy professional who skips meals during the day but then binge eats in the evening. And a family man who struggles to eat healthily and exercise, snacks in the evening, yet wants to be a good role model for his family.

“We’re really looking forward to working with them over the next few months to transform their lifestyles and our team of experts will be on hand to support them every step of the way.

“I think our five will be incredibly motivating and inspirational for the people of Wales and I can’t wait for the show to air next month.”

FFIT Cymru is a new eight episode TV series made by Cwmni Da for S4C. It will be broadcast from 10 April 2018. For more information go online to s4c.cymru/ffitcymru.