Let’s just do it ourselves – that’s the mantra of two Amble sisters on a weight-loss regime, who have shed 15 stone between them so far.
And Mandy Russell and Ange Robinson still have further to go, aiming to lose 20 stone between them, despite having lost nearly eight apiece since September.
Ange, 45, had been down for a gastric bypass operation, but when the psychologist said she wasn’t ready, the two decided they could go it alone.
For further motivation, they started their new routines on September 1, 2012, the third anniversary of their dad Brian King’s death.
“It just felt right,” said Ange. “It took us that long to get over it, so it felt right.”
With help from GP Dr Ben Burville for dietary advice and exercise regimes from the personal trainers at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre in Alnwick, the two set out to change their lives.
Ange said: “We just eat differently. We still eat big meals, just the right things at the right times. And I taste my food a lot more now.
“We had to give up lots of things we thought we would miss,” said Mandy. “But we haven’t – we don’t miss it.”
And the lifestyle has led to more than just a loss of weight.
“Every single ailment I had has now gone, like migraines and other aches and pains,” said Mandy.
“I stopped smoking as well,” added Ange. “I couldn’t walk around the block with the dogs this time last year.”
Two of the tips they offer are to do it yourself with help from your GP and the gym and to do it with someone. Someone who can be honest with you, like a sister.
“The key thing is to come out of denial and realise you are in control,” said Mandy.
Other things they have learnt along the way include only weighing yourself once a month, as you are more likely to notice a big difference, and to fit exercise into your existing routine, not allowing for excuses.
Mandy has two children and Ange three, and both of them also have dogs, so when some of the kids go to karate lessons at Willowburn or when they take the dogs out, that’s when they exercise.
Mandy said: “We take photos once a month and it’s been the best thing we’ve done. That’s been really profound because you can see the changes in body shape.”
Now both of them are set to take part in the Race for Life in July, raising money for Cancer Research due to their family’s experiences, and Mandy is taking part in the Great North Run later in the year.