Amanda Hamilton and her expert team check to see whether or not the three families that they helped to shed weight last year have maintained their healthy lifestyles.
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One year ago, three families from Northern Ireland
set off on a unique week-long experiment
at Lusty Beg Island in Fermanagh.
Cara talks there about going and getting buns or whatever,
we would get a cake.
Can you remember the last time you felt really good about your body?
No, not right now this minute.
It's the jolly fat bloke is the mask that I wear.
Once there, they were forced to face up to
their unhealthy eating habits and their lack of exercise
in order to become fitter and healthier people.
They were given instructions and encouragement by four leading experts -
a personal trainer, two psychologists and a nutritionist.
If you can't pronounce what it says on the label, it's kind of a sign.
Using a combination of physical exercise,
lessons in nutrition and intense psychotherapy sessions
the three families were challenged to change their lives.
A year on, we meet up with them again to see how they've been doing.
Has anything worked? Or did they fall back into their old ways?
If I was ever asked to do Lusty Beg again,
I would embrace it with an open heart.
People still notice what we put in our shopping basket.
I have two say, we've had a very bad year
and I hope we don't have anymore like it.
As the families gather in Armagh,
they'll find out who fell by the wayside
when left to their own devices.
Isobel, Nick and Rachel are first to arrive.
I felt we should have done a lot more in a year.
But actually, as I say, a year isn't that long and actually,
we were at my sister's last night,
and we were looking through old photographs
and I was double the size of what I was whenever we started Lusty Beg,
so actually, it's going to be a slow, long progress
and hopefully out of it, it'll stick.
I'm definitely in two size smaller trousers than I was in.
Tops are just one size smaller than I was in,
so we're getting somewhere, albeit slow, but we're getting somewhere.
Cara and her family have had a difficult year.
I am back to what I was when I started Lusty Beg
and I definitely am feeling the effects of it.
I suppose the children have been the...
definitely the success of our story,
because they've both got over two stone off
and they're both exercising and they're both two different children.
I'd love to have been going back, you know, now,
and having lost a lot of weight and instead,
I'm going back with having it put on, you know?
So I have to say, I'm not looking forward to it
because I do feel like I've failed.
-How are you?
-Going to cry!
Are you well?
-Are we right in the head doing this all again?
-No, definitely not.
Mum Rosie and daughter Ellen are last to join the group.
We've come a long way, we have.
We both know that, Ellen and I, but we still have a way to go as well,
so we're still on the journey. We haven't completed it.
It's remarkable the way three such different families
can be joined together because they have a common goal.
It's lovely to be here again. It's strange.
We have seen each other a few times, you know, in between,
but not all at once, so, yeah, it's lovely.
I'm very glad there's no obstacle courses now!
These three families were united by a unique experience,
but what motivated their attempt to change their lives?
First family to arrive for their week-long retreat
was single mum Rosie and daughter Ellen.
Do I blame myself for being this weight?
Yes, yes, I do. There's no-one else to blame.
When I look in the mirror, I do not like what I see
and I know all the right things to say to myself
to make myself feel better,
but at the end of the day,
the bottom line is that no, I am not happy with the way I look.
There's some shops were things fit me perfectly
and then that's the only ones I shop in,
but it's hard when you're overweight.
It's a bit...makes me feel a bit down.
Johnny had recently married Cara, mother of Ryan and Ellie.
I've got so much weight to lose, it's like I don't know where to start.
It's like climbing a mountain when you're at the bottom of it,
it's like getting that start on it - I just feel it's too far to climb.
And as well, for the children, it's one thing me having weight issues
but now, all of a sudden I've realised
that my children are that way as well and that's really upsetting.
So, I'm dreading the change, but it has to be done.
And there was Nick, Isobel and daughter Rachel from Dundonald,
desperate to end their love affair with takeaways.
Chippie, Chinese, Indian, pizzas, so much choice out there.
A variety of curry to eat every day. I eat something different every day.
Far too easy.
I always remember Mum saying, if you don't lose weight, wee girl,
you're not going to be round whenever those kids grow up.
My mum says I've got puppy fat but sometimes I just don't believe her.
It's just a thing that I think is my fault for doing it.
The wee warning bell's going off big-time,
and it's time to do something about it.
At the beginning of the week
the families realised how much their weight was out of control .
Have you heard the expression "pinch an inch?"
I can pinch more than an inch!
They found the exercise and personal training sessions gruelling
but invigorating, giving them a new determination
to get back on the road to fitness.
Good food and nutrition was also a vital component of the experience.
Anything that's green is good for you.
-And you like tomatoes, don't you?
-Do you not like tomatoes?
I was expecting something
a little more substantial than a bowl of leaves.
Porridge - that's a good sign.
Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton highlighted the dangers of an unhealthy diet.
What your parents do, what size your parents are and what their habits are
really predicts the life outcome of that child, which is terrifying.
When I looked at it,
I didn't realise it until I looked at this photo,
and it looked completely different to what I am today.
Clinical Psychologists Dr Rachel Andrew and Dr Raman Kapur
helped the families explore body image and psychological improvement.
I want to be the way I used to be.
There's no harm in it,
but it would be nice just to have somebody to flirt with you.
I suppose it was like the time I was going to look at wedding dresses,
some people even, you would hear them saying something,
you know, and I'd feel like saying, "I know I'm fat, but I'm not deaf."
What if I said, why aren't taking your gym kit?
Why aren't you going to the gym before work? Why aren't you going to gym after work?
You know, and you always have an excuse.
You two feel free to fight too!
The therapy sessions enabled the families to become more open.
As a group, they formed a bond.
The hunger pangs are going.
I'm really looking forward to the next few days.
It just keeps getting better, like. I'm amazed.
There's no such thing as an expert, really, you know?
I've learned a lot over the years, but you're your own experts.
You're the one that's going to have to make decisions when you go home.
They learned about self motivation and discipline.
You want to go back to that way of life? It's up to you, no pressure.
-What did you just do?
By the end of the week, the families were armed
with the tools necessary to make a change in their everyday lives.
I feel like a new person. I feel like I'm cleansed from the inside out.
I feel better than I felt for years.
At the end of the experience,
the families were brought together for a final weigh-in.
Before Lusty Beg, Isobel was six stone overweight.
Her partner Nick was clinically obese.
Rachel was more than seven stone, a risky weight for someone so young.
By the end of the process, the family had begun to shed the pounds
with Isobel losing more than a stone.
When she arrived on the island,
Rosie weighed more than 15 and a half stone.
At more than 13 stone,
her daughter Ellen's weight was putting her health at risk.
They had lost more than a stone each by the time of the weigh-in.
It's been a long time since I've seen that on the scales.
Cara and her family needed to lose by far the most.
She was advised to lose 11 stone to reach her ideal weight.
Her children's weight put them at serious risk of health problems in the future.
At two and a half stone overweight, Johnny had the least to lose.
After Lusty Beg, Cara had lost one stone nine pounds.
Her husband Johnny had almost reached his ideal weight.
Ellie and Ryan had lost more than a stone and a half each.
Between them in two months,
these three families lost more than 11 stone.
After struggling for years, they started a process of change.
They were more confident and happy in their own skins,
all because of a change in their mindset.
But have they sustained this?
Since Lusty Beg, the families have had varying degrees of success
in maintaining their healthy lifestyles.
Now they have the chance to look back...
..helped on by nutritionist, Amanda
and family psychologist, Dr Rachel Andrew.
-Look who's here!
-Haven't seen you for ages!
So what Rachel and I thought we'd do,
just to get the energy going, is have a game.
We're not going to make you run around a field, don't worry!
We're going to have a game in the theatre
and we'll tell you all about it if you follow us.
If you hear Isobel saying an excuse, you hold up and go "excuse!" OK?
All of you.
If you hear Isabel saying something that's a good idea, "good idea!"
OK? It's about encouraging yourselves
and actually becoming a bit more self-monitoring.
-Who wants to go first?
-I was waiting for that one.
So, talk us through the last year for you, Nick.
The good teaching and experience
is put into practice for a good three months,
then came along Christmas, and...
Christmas is one day! Christmas is one day!
I'm sorry, I think it's a good excuse!
Next winter, what would be a good idea?
Maybe we could set ourselves a challenge,
like doing a charity walk or something together as a group
and by meeting up to do that, it would actually be a motivator.
Because we're so spread out, it's going to be hard.
Excuse, Johnny, you're saying that's an excuse?
Well, if you can meet up to party you can meet up to do that.
Anything else that you look back on the year and think, hm...?
Speaking personally, if there had have been someone come out
every couple of months, just to drop in to see how things were going,
I think it would have been a case of
I didn't want to let anybody else down.
Why is it easy to let yourself down and not but others down?
That's quite interesting.
When you get... when you're overweight,
you have very low self-esteem anyway, would you not say?
-And you need that bit of help and support.
One thing that worked for me was you become your own training partner.
-Your own training partner?
You talk in your head to yourself, or even out loud, it has been known.
Cara speaks about low self-esteem
and it's something has struggled with all my life from when I was a very young woman.
I suppose, maybe just comes a point in your life when you say,
"I really don't want to feel like this any more."
I do not think there is a quick fix. I think it's a long-term process.
Isobel and Nick are the same weight they were last year,
but they have struggled, and they still find it hard to set boundaries for their daughter,
an issue for them all last year.
For the family it's one thing after another.
So, one year on, it's sounding like a mixed bag.
It all started very well, up until before Christmas
everything was going really well.
Then Christmas happened, then some birthdays in January, then Valentine's Day
then it just didn't ever start again.
So why don't you think it started again?
What derailed the whole family?
I don't think there was a derailment as such, there just wasn't any motivation to start again.
-Right, it got stuck in a rut?
I don't think the good habits were formed long enough.
It was just easier not to do the preparing, not to think ahead
and do it as you come to 6 o'clock, "What will we have for tea?"
I'm trying to figure out what drives those decisions day in day out.
I was forced into a place where I was not finishing work
until 6.30 or seven o'clock, nearly every night for 18 weeks.
See, where I am from, that's normal,
not to get back till seven or eight o'clock at night.
Sometimes the best motivation appearance that parents ever have are their kids.
Where are you on the boundary fronts, do you think, parentally?
really lacking big time. Rachel has fell back.
-She doesn't even think twice about going to the biscuit barrel.
-No, you don't.
There are things like that that she has let slip.
But Rachel was actually asking for boundaries when we were away,
it's maybe just reinstating them.
It is what all the statistics tell us, what you teach your kids
growing up, what they are used to is what they will carry on with.
It is difficult to connect with that sometimes,
but if we take the time here to say, "Right, it's about health."
It's about quality of life and all those things.
She's told us stuff that she told us before,
but whenever somebody is not there reinforcing it,
you do tend to say, sure, what does that matter?
Habits take a while to form
and when you have had 20-odd years of a bad habit,
to try and break that in a very short period of time is very difficult.
It is up to us, wanting that for ourselves to put our own motivation in.
I should maybe use this huge opportunity I've got now to get back into that mindset.
While some of the families have struggled with motivation Rosie
and Ellen have fully embraced their new lifestyles with Ellen
losing more than three stone.
I can't believe it has been a year and, you're both my star pupils.
What a fantastic result.
What do you think is different for you,
because you are markedly different from everyone else in that respect?
One of the things I have found is the need to be very honest with yourself.
Behind all those feelings of negativity and "I can't",
there's always an emotional excuse behind there somewhere.
It's cutting through it all and really getting to what lies in behind it.
And to do that you have to be honest with yourself.
That hurts sometimes and it is a very difficult thing to do,
because we can lie to yourself so easily.
I think with Rosie and Ellen that's it, there is no going back.
There's no sense of, I want to go back to bad habits, or it's lurking there.
There is none of that. They have moved on.
Cara is back to the same weight she was before the retreat.
However, her husband Johnny and her two children Ryan
and Ellie have continued to follow a regime of healthy eating and exercise.
Cara has struggled more than most over the last year and has
arranged to discuss recent events in her life with Dr Raman Kapur.
The New Year started off well,
we had got the keys to our new house on the Wednesday.
By the Sunday night, my younger brother was found dead.
It should have been a happy time, moving into our new house,
but, I suppose it turned into a sad time.
Then, a few weeks after that, my father was found dead.
He had died in England.
So, I suppose, at that stage, I was pretty crushed.
Yes, crushed is the word.
A lot of loss, death and disappoint to manage.
Experiencing all of that is tough...
Perhaps, your way of managing it was to go back to other ways,
really, because there is so much of it really.
It is making me look at what has happened over the past year and why have I not got the results.
I can come up with excuses, but, you know, as I say,
is that even acceptable?
I think it's always a tricky thing,
differentiating between excuses and understanding.
Maybe, you haven't...
I guess deeply understood
the impact that these awful losses have on you.
Often there is an emptiness in people's lives that they fill up
either by being over busy or overeating.
They don't stay with the underlying feelings.
I think that is what has happened to Cara in the last year.
Although Cara's recent bereavement has prevented
her from reaching her target weight, her family's progress has continued.
I suppose the children have been sheltered from how I'm feeling
and my emotions at the minute.
Today isn't all about problems. It is about celebrating their success.
That was part of the motivation for coming back and doing another show,
to show people that young children can do, it can be done.
It is a massive task for children of that age to shed two stone.
Dr Rachel has an idea.
Working together she introduces the thought of a family first aid kit to
remind them of the support they gave to each other in difficult times.
Cara, what do you think it is that
Ryan might do that helped you when you're feeling low or upset?
He would wait till it's quite and everyone else and come to me
and say, "What's wrong, Mummy?"
So asking how somebody is.
It sounds like you're really thoughtful about it, you take your time
-and pick the right moment.
What does Johnny do that helps you?
When knows that I'm having a bad day, or a bad time, he would make a healthy lunch and bring it down
to work without saying he was coming down.
So that I wouldn't go out and make the wrong food choices at lunchtime.
-I think we'll work as a team.
I think the two children are in that team.
But I think really, the three of us have to support her,
because she has done it for you two.
Just for a wee while, we have to do that for Cara.
'It was just incredible to see how many things that they've had to cope with.
'But also how many ideas they've had about how to do that and to stay strong as a family.'
I'd like you to help me, Ryan, by just ripping the page off,
folding it up and putting it inside this first aid kit box.
'I'm hoping by them taking away the first aid kit,'
there will always be a remainder of the things
they can all use to support each other, especially in really difficult times.
I know now that my emotions are quite high and I am not OK.
And that I do need help.
Maybe they'll inspire me and motivate me.
It's the end of the reunion in Armagh, have the families
got the answers now to get them back on track?
The two days of being in Amanda's company has given us a kick up the backside,
that I need as a mum too to try and think healthy choices for dinner.
She is reinforcing things we learned the first time round
and maybe have forgotten about.
It's really good to catch up where everybody is
and how they are feeling.
We've realised a lot.
In many ways I don't think it will ever be completed, it'll be a life long thing, you know...
But it becomes easier.
We have the experience,
we've all the knowledge that we need we don't really need the experts.
We can continue this own.
We've sorted the children out so this year will be about me getting myself sorted out.
Meeting the others again has been the boost Isobel and Nick have been craving.
While their weight loss is minimal they have now introduced
healthy eating and exercise into their lives.
I feel 1,000% better than I used to.
There is much more va-va-voom, if you like.
It can only get better from here on in.
I don't think I'm ever going to like it,
but it's not as much of a hardship.
This time round, there's definitely something clicked there that'll keep me at it.
We went on holiday in France and as hard as it was,
you know, I never had one croissant.
There has been a distinct change in the way we shop and cook and eat.
When we were in France, I was drinking a whole lot more water
than I had been doing and I actually could feel more energetic.
Peer pressure is very hard with children. That's the hardest bit.
It is not fair that other people can eat what they want.
I think that as well, you know.
Since the reunion Cara's determination has been at an all time high.
She has managed to lose more than two stone with the help of her
personal trainer Tony.
When I came into the gym six weeks ago,
I didn't even think I could even walk on the treadmill
and Tony reassured me from the minute I walked through the door,
that if had his hands into me for a couple of weeks I'd be flying.
His style works for me. Some people would call it harassment.
It's actually now Cara saying to me "Shall we go to the gym?" when I don't want to go.
There's a different focus this time, it is
Cara taking care of herself.
Cara's always had the focus, but life sometimes throws up things
to people that they can't deal with for a while.
I know where I want to be, right down to the pound now
and I am striving to that goal.
I suppose I am getting great inspiration from the children
I couldn't see the wood for the trees before that.
The kids have kept themselves on track. It's their determination too.
Ryan says, "I'm going swimming" then Ellie says she doesn't.
Or the next day Ellie says she's going and the two of them go. It's that helping each other.
Rosie and Ellen are no longer focused on just weight.
They are applying what they have learned to all aspects of their lives.
It's hard sometimes to keep focused,
yeah, in your normal everyday life.
Sometimes you find things slip away a wee bit.
I think we have both learned some very good habits from the
experience and we've kept them in our lives just naturally now.
I don't know, it's changed my life
and I am really excited to see what's ahead of me.
The motivation can't really come just from wanting to be thin.
The problems that you had will still be there,
so it's got to be a holistic approach to the whole thing,
the head has to be right and the body really will follow on.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Twelve months on, the families have gathered in Armagh with Amanda Hamilton and experts to review their year. Have they maintained their healthy lifestyles since the Lusty Beg Retreat, or has life got in the way?