JEAN Leonard has never felt fitter.
The 59-year-old from Hartlepool is almost at the end of her journey as a contestant in the Mail-backed Weigh Forward campaign.
In the space of little over two months, she has lost about one and a half stone from a starting weight of 14st.
But for Jean, from the Brierton area of Hartlepool, the challenge has been so much more than a chance just to lose weight.
She explained: “I am eating healthily, I can run without stopping and I am exercising like I have never exercised before.”
Jean and the rest of the Weigh Forward finalists will find out their weight loss results at the finals of the competition tomorrow in the Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street, Hartlepool.
It has been a fantastic fitness journey for all of the competitors in the challenge run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Tavistock Leisure and personal trainer Steven Smith.
The weight loss challenge will eventually see one person win a hotel stay and one-to-one personal training for two months.
And for one runner-up, a month’s supply of personal training is the fantastic offer.
But Jean said: “I am not so bothered about the prizes. It is more about the weight loss and the change in my body mass.
“I have never really managed to stick to diets before, but this time I have had to.
“And if there have been days when I couldn’t get along to the training sessions, I have made sure I have got out on my own.”
Jean’s diet has changed from the likes of chips and chocolates to more healthy and nutritional meals.
Breakfast is usually brown bread toast followed by a lunch of yoghurt and fruit, and an evening meal of a baked potato or salmon with new potatoes and peas.
“I generally feel a lot healthier and all the contestants have become friends as well,” said Jean who is mum to Katie Leonard, 23, and Richard Leonard, 21.
Jean works as a checkout operator at Tesco in Hartlepool and said: “Everyone at work is really supporting me.”
But now, as the competition gets ready for its grand finale, Jean says her own fitness regime will go on.
“I am still going to go to Steven. He is a lovely lad and he is doing a great job.
“I will be keeping in touch with the other competitors as well. We have all got each other’s numbers.”
And she told the Mail: “Thank you for this opportunity.”
Anyone wanting to get fit can contact Steven on 07861520717.