Norwich couple win super slimmers award after shedding 9 stone
It's normally the festive excess which encourages people to start the new year with a diet.
But for one Norwich couple the hard work was well over before the festivities began, as they spent their first Christmas as award winning slimmers.
Married couple Neil Bowers and Caroline Barney-Bowers from Friar Tuck Road, Lakenham, supported each other over a year of tightening belts and inspecting food labels and were recently awarded for their achievements at a glitzy ceremony, at Birmingham's ICC.
The pair, he a 38 year old systems test analysis and her a 37 year old community librarian, were presented with the award for couple of the year by comedian Jason Manford at the Slimming World awards.
Between them the pair shed more than 9st in 2011 and have seen their energy for life improve so much that they are tiring their children - boys aged three and eight - out.
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Mr Bowers said: 'We can keep up with our boys a lot better now, they are very active.
'Before we were never able to run around in the garden for more than ten minutes, now we tire them out.'
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Through walking, cycling, swimming and dancing, the couple followed a non intensive weight loss plan with the support of their local group at Harford Community Centre, run by Julia Jones.
'So many come through the doors and you see their lives transformed within weeks,' said Mr Bowers.
'It is not out of the question, it can be done.
'The group was a support network of local people, all on the journey together, which made it easier. Julia pulled me back after a bit of a struggle.'
Far from being a year of boring flavours and empty stomachs, 2011 saw the pair continue to indulge their love of food, as they learnt how to cook, eat and live better.
'The food is actually a lot better. Now we cook with fresh vegetables, it is not at all difficult, you can still have nice food, just in moderation.'
*To join one of Julia Jones' two groups in Norwich, call 07872 985 525.
*Are you looking back on a successful 2011? Call reporter Joe Wilkes on 01603 772 439 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.