IT was kid’s stuff for childminder Karen Miller when she took on an innovative weight loss challenge for the sake of her first grandchild.
The 44-year-old wanted to shed the pounds and improve her health for the sake of granddaughter Sophie Collins – but ended up winning the challenge.
For shedding 26lbs she picked up the £300 first prize in the Arriba! Wellness Club 12 Week Community Weight Loss Challenge.
The mum-of-three has problems with discs in her spine and faced surgery but now plans to put that off because of her new found fitness and healthy lifestyle which has led to her taking less medication.
Having lost almost two stone in just three months and dropped from a size 14 to a size 10 she now has the energy and enthusiasm to pamper 11-month-old Sophie – and the children she looks after in her nine-to-five job.
The innovative challenges, run by award-winning nutritionist and health coach Jackie Liddle, focus on sensible and sustainable weight loss and feature advice about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
Karen, who lives in the Rift House area of Hartlepool, with 44-year-old steelworker husband Colin, said: “I wanted to do this so that I could be healthier and enjoy Sophie.
“It’s had an amazing effect on my health and I have learned so much more about healthy living.
“I loved the classes and enjoyed learning about nutrition and keeping hydrated.
“Jackie was always only a phone call away whenever I needed any extra support.
”I just feel so much fitter and healthier and I’m only taking half the amount of tablets I used to for my back problems.”
Karen, who is mum to 25-year-old Kirby, who is Sophie’s mum, and sons Dominic, 23 and 12-year-old Ellis, is yet to decide what to spend her winnings on but said that Sophie will benefit.
It is the second time in recent months that Sophie has made the news after the Mail featured the emotional homecoming of soldier dad Aaron Collins who was on tour in war-torn Afghanistan when she was born.
She is again the centre of attention thanks to Karen’s slimming success.
The community challenges cost £39 for an initial session and 12 full classes with the fee going towards the cash prizes and room hire.
Prizes of £300, £200 and £100 are paid out dependent on class sizes with the winners those who lose the largest percentage of body weight.
Mrs Liddle said: “Karen worked really hard and was a great asset to the class. She was determined to do it for her own health and wellbeing and for Sophie.
“It shows what can be achieved by people who are prepared to listen and learn about weight loss and sustainable healthy living.
“Karen followed every lesson and the result is there for all to see. Her health has improved enormously and reducing medication has got to be a huge plus.”
Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Brierton Sports and Community Centre, in Brierton Lane, Hartlepool, from 6.45pm.
A new challenge gets underway on Tuesday, May 17, and people are welcome to attend on the night.