Weight off her mind

Emily Burgess
Emily Burgess
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LOSING 3st in just six months is quite an achievement for anybody.

But even more so for a 12-year-old.

And St George’s High School pupil Emily Burgess is feeling like she has a real weight off her mind after starting a new, healthier lifestyle.

She no longer gets teased because of her weight, is no longer classed as ‘obese’ and has made school sports teams for the first time.

Emily, from Marton, says she has much more energy and confidence after she kick-started her transformation with a 10-week family-based weight loss scheme, called MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!).

The turning point came last Christmas when Emily was in her last year of primary school and was weighed with all her fellow pupils, as part of a national scheme for monitoring childhood obesity.

Her mum Yvonne was shocked to receive a letter stating, at 13st 7lbs, Emily was clinically obese.

Shop-keeper Yvonne said: “That was a wake-up call. We knew she was overweight, but that really hit home.

“She started to lose some weight even before she started on the MEND programme.

“We couldn’t get on the January programme because it was full, but we managed to get a place on the April one.

“Emily was a bit nervous and wary, but I was there with her, to support her.

“It was something she wanted to do herself, it wasn’t something anybody forced her to do.

“It wasn’t like a diet, it was more a change in lifestyle, to be healthier.

“The focus wasn’t on numbers or weight, but on making healthy choices.

“Emily started swimming, we got her an exercise bike, she became more active. She recently started jogging too.

“She carried on with everything once the MEND programme finished.

“Emily also started watching ‘I Used To Be Fat’ on MTV, the programme about youngsters in America losing weight – that really inspired her.

“I’m really proud, she’s done so well. We’ve supported her, but she’s made all her own decisions.”

Living above their convenience store, on Newhouse Road, means temptation is never far away for Emily and mum Yvonne, who herself shed 7st on the Rosemary Conley programme.

Emily has ditched chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks, which she was having virtually every day and now only has as occasional treats.

She now tucks into salad and fruit and drinks plenty of water. Her portion sizes are much smaller too.

And Emily is delighted with how good she feels.

“I have a lot more energy. I’ve joined the school rounders team, which I could never have done before, because I couldn’t run.

“They took my heart rate at the start of MEND and it was 100 beats per minute and by the end, it had gone down to 79 beats per minute and is probably lower now.

“For every 1lb I lose, I get £1 in money and I am putting the money towards a stereo for my bedroom. I feel more confident now and more out-going.

“I did used to get picked on because of my weight, but not now. I’m enjoying doing all the exercise.

“I can choose different clothes now – the only problem is my school uniform is too big!”