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(From August 2013) Slimmers Niamh O’Neill-Munro and Hayley Russell have lots of reasons to celebrate after losing over 3 stone between them.

As well as looking great and feeling fitter, Niamh 18 and Hayley 17 have been named Young Slimmers of the Year 2013 at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group in Hoo. Now their win could see them reach the national finals of the competition, where they will be in with the chance of winning £2,000.

The competition celebrates Slimming World’s bright young things, recognising 16-21 year olds who’ve transformed their lives by adopting healthier eating habits and getting active. Obesity is a huge problem for the younger generation and research shows that overweight teenagers are likely to continue to struggle with their weight as adults and develop weight-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol*. So Niamh and Hayley’s weight loss and healthy lifestyle isn’t just great for their health now but for their future wellbeing too.

Life was very different for Niamh and Hayley just a few months ago. They were unhappy with their size, their self-confidence had taken a knock and sometimes they felt like the odd one out with their friends. But Niamh and Hayley joined their local Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall in Hoo, which is run by Ash O’Neill, and began their transformation.

Hayley says: “I started going to group with my Mum 8 weeks ago and I was really nervous the first time I went, I felt a bit embarrassed and I thought everyone would judge me for being overweight at such a young age. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone was really friendly and kind. I settled in quickly and I’ve made lots of friends – of all ages. I love going to group and seeing everyone each week now and I’m nearly a stone lighter too!”

Niamh and Hayley began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan, which encourages slimmers to fill up on healthy foods and make small changes to the way they shop, cook and eat that make a big difference to their waistline, like swapping white bread for wholemeal or fast food burgers for homemade. They say: “The eating plan was completely different from what we’d expected. We thought losing weight meant not eating very much or cutting out your favourite foods. Talking to other members in group and sharing ideas, we’ve learned a lot about food and can cook lots of recipes ourselves now. Being hungry isn’t a worry and we can still enjoy favourite meals like burger and chips or Sunday roast, just cooked more healthily.”

Niamh who starts university in September has blossomed since dropping from 12 stone 5lb to 10 stone and she no longer feels like ‘the odd one out’. She says: “I love being able to wear the same clothes as my friends having dropped from a size 16 to a size 10 and enjoy going out with them more now I’ve lost weight. I’ve got so much more energy, I walk everywhere and am looking forward to doing lots of swimming on holidays this summer. I used to feel self-conscious about doing anything physical like that in public but I don’t anymore – I’m too busy having fun!”

Ash O’Neill who runs the group, says: “Everyone in the Hoo St Werburgh group is so proud of Niamh and Hayley. They’re a huge inspiration. They’ve learned healthy habits that will stay with them for life so worrying about their weight is definitely a thing of the past. Obesity in young people is such a huge problem and it affects how they feel about themselves as well as their physical health. Now Niamh and Hayley have the skills to make healthier choices and are much more confident too. I hope they’ll inspire other young people in the area by showing them that there’s no better time to take control of their weight than right now.”

Everyone from the age of 11 upwards is welcome at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall, Pottery Rd every Thursday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm and young people aged 11-15 can attend for free when they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian and have the approval of their GP. It’s a great way for the whole family to feel healthier. For more information visit www.slimmingworld.com or call Ash O’Neill on 01634 250170 07733 264751.

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Photo Credit Gemma Morson Photo Credit Gemma Morson

Try this second recipes from Michelin star chef and Gary Rhodes protegégé Paul Welburn, head chef at Searcys.

Chocolate tart pastry–

                200g icing sugar

                400g butter

                3 large eggs

                700g plain flour

Chocolate tart filling-

200g dark chocolate

100g butter

75g olive oil

70g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

6 eggs

150g caster sugar

 

Lemon curd icecream

1 litre milk

200ml double cream

60g milk powder

300g lemon juice

325g whole eggs

200g egg yolks

300g caster sugar

 

Salted caramel popcorn

25g pop corn kernels

50g clarified butter

150g caster sugar

Pinch of coarse sea salt

 

Other ingredients

Chocolate crumble (optional)

 

Method

For the pastry, start by creaming the butter and sugar together till pale, add the eggs and beat till smooth, add the flour and then mix until a smooth dough is formed, don’t overwork the pastry or it will affect the finished texture, wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

Once rested roll out the pastry to 2mm thick and line 8 x 4inch tart moulds and then fill with parchment paper and baking beans and blind bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°c for 12 minutes, remove the baking beans and return to the oven for a further 4 minutes till golden brown.

Once cooked allow to cool before trimming any excess pastry with a sharp knife, keep the cases till ready

For the ice cream, place the lemon juice, eggs, yolks and sugar in a pan and cook over a medium heat stirring all the time and cook until the mixture thickens and remove just before it reaches the boil, once cooked pass through a fine sieve .

In a pan bring the milk, milk powder and double cream to the boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon curd, allow the mix to cool and then churn in an ice cream maker , and store in a plastic container till required.

For the pop corn in a pan place the clarified butter, heat the butter and add the popcorn kernels and continue heating until the kernels begin to pop, place a lid on the pan and remove from the heat and allow the kernels to continue popping.

In a separate pan add the sugar and begin to heat until a dark amber caramel is achieved (be careful not to burn the caramel) then remove from the stove and add the popcorn and stir immediately to coat each piece, add a sprinkle of salt and stir in ,  place the coated corn on a piece of greaseproof paper , and allow to cool and the caramel to harden

For the tart filling melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water, add the butter and incorporate, remove the bowl from the heat and  add the olive oil and whisk in to emulsify, then add the flour and cocoa powder and mix in thoroughly,

In a separate bowl place the eggs and sugar and lightly whisk until pale, fold this into the chocolate mixture and mix together.

Pipe the filling into the tart case and place In preheated oven on 170°c for 7 minutes.

To serve place a tart on the plate, add a sprinkle of chocolate crumble (optional) a scoop of the lemon curd ice cream and top with some of the salted caramel popcorn.

Around 40,000 people across Medway are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the NHS believes many more may not know they suffer.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicts there may be as many as 65,000 people in total with high blood pressure across the Medway towns and is urging people to get tested and ‘know their numbers’. Read More

28 People that completed a Healthy Weight programme in June 2013, lost a collective 60kg and shaved 97cm of their waists.

The Gr@nd’s Healthy Weight team have been supporting adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above on a 12 Week programme .Participants learned about nutrition and tried a variety of exercise taster sessions, which has helped them to make little changes to lead a healthier lifestyle. Read More

healthy foodWould you like tips on making family meal times healthier? If you are a parent or carer with children aged 2-4 there are free advice sessions taking place near you from September.

The MEND 2-4 Programme, run by Medway Council’s Public Health Team offers a great chance for local families to learn about healthy lifestyle choices in a fun and creative way.

The course involves children and a parent or carer taking part in a 90-minute session, once a week for 10 weeks. Each session deals with issues that many parents face from fussy eating to temper tantrums.

There is also advice on reading food labels and encouraging children to try new fruit and vegetables, all of which builds a foundation for lifelong healthy living habits. Read More

John Getley with wife Katrina Getley and granddaughter Olivia aged 13Local man John Getley who has recently recovered from a stroke is encouraging other stoke survivors to attend a new support group which meets for the first time in Medway in September. More

Interested in a career in fitness? Medway Community Learning is holding an information day, where potential learners can meet the tutors, find out more about working in a gym and have a go at some exercise activities.

The information day is Wednesday, 17 July 10am to 2pm at Medway Park. Wear gym clothing and bring a water bottle. Places are limited so please call to book.

MCL is running gym instructing courses in August and September and a personal training course in September. To find out more about these courses or to book a place on this information day, phone 01634 338400.

Calling all families who want to get healthier and more active – healthy lifestyle course MEND starts again this September – sign up today.

As part of National Child Obesity Week (1-7 July), the Public Health Team is encouraging families to join the free MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it) course. The 10-week course takes place at various venues around Medway and supports children aged between five and 13, who are above a healthy weight, and their families to become fitter and healthier. More

Back Camera A free Pregnancy Information evening will be held at Temple Mill Children’s Centre in Strood on Monday, 8 July.

The event will be held in celebration of the 6th birthday of the National Children’s Trust’s Early Pregnancy Evening.

The evenings are run bi-monthly and give advice and information on a wide range of subjects, including reflexology, nutrition, baby massage, water birth, midwifery, health visitors, baby sensory and much more.

The event is free to enter and families who attend will also be given a free goody bag.
For more information contact the centre on 01634 338200

P1000652Two super-slimming couples from Hoo St Werburgh have discovered a new zest for life after winning a weight loss competition.

Carol and Tom Shave and Jill and Malcolm Smith’s success has transformed their lives and seen them crowned Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World Couples of the Year 2013.

The couples, decided to join the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group after realising that their weight was putting their health at risk.
They say, “We didn’t suddenly wake up with a weight problem, like most people our weight crept up gradually. I think it’s easy for couples to become comfortable with one another, and meals out and nights in with a takeaway or a bottle of wine take the toll on the waistline over time. But we realised that our size had reached a point where it was making us unhappy and we knew it would affect our health.” More

A Better Medway’s Healthy New Year campaign has received over 1500 health pledges since its launch in November, and there is now only a few days left for people to make a pledge for the chance to win an iPad 3.

During the last 10 weeks, residents have vowed to improve their health and well being in 2013 by making a health pledge. Pledges include giving up smoking, eating healthier foods, cooking more meals at home and getting more active. More

A free 12-week healthy lifestyle course will be launched in January for young people in Medway aged 13-17 years old, run by A Better Medway health improvement services.
Designed to help young people work towards a healthy weight, the ‘Fit Fix’ course will encourage healthy eating and physical activity to improve their health and well-being. The course will also give participants the chance to cook healthier versions of their favourites.
The young people that take part will receive one-to-one support for up to one year, as well as gaining a Level 1 Award in Personal Well-being.
Dr Alison Barnett, Director of Public Health said: “This initiative gives us an opportunity to work with the teenage population in Medway, educating them in sustainable healthy behaviour.
“With this 12-week course we hope to provide them with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to make healthier choices around healthy eating and physical activity.”
To request an application form phone 01634 333101, email
or visit website

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