Woman's TV experience that changed her life

HARROGATE woman Helenka Skelton will be hitting TV screens this month and proving she is the "biggest loser".

Helenka who ballooned from a size ten to 17 stone will be taking part in Biggest Loser on Living TV. The revenue and benefits officer for Harrogate Borough Council decided enough was enough when she was refused a ride in a theme park on a holiday to Italy.

Helenka, who has never been in a gym in her life, decided to apply to enter the ‘House’ and she was chosen from over 10,000 applicants to join 11 other hopefuls. There was also a 25,000 jackpot up for grabs.

The show divides the 12 contestants into two teams, each team with their own personal trainer.

Throughout the week the teams battle it out to see who can lose the most weight.

There is also a mid week challenge which varies from week to week and the winning team are allowed to add weight to the other team’s total. On the Thursday of each week, both teams are weighed and the team with the least weight lost must vote for someone in their team to leave the house.

The programme, hosted by Vicky Butler Henderson, is described by Helenka as “a healthy version of Big Brother” and she claims the hardest thing about living in the house was in fact not eating healthily but being away from home – although she did miss her favourite mexican dishes a little bit!

She found the gruelling exercise regime very difficult, contestants were expected to exercise four times a day.

Although she can’t reveal too much, Helenka did say she may not have won any pounds but she has lost two and a half stone and it is still coming off.

“I was the eldest female in the show and the only one who was married and I missed home terribly. This was actually the harder part of my journey. I did try to pull out but my team trainer Mark Bailey just kept talking me back. He even took my suitcase!”

“There was no takeaway to tuck into, or chocolate to crave for in front of the TV but it has changed my life. I can now walk to the top of stairs and don’t have to stop and catch my breath or clutch my heart.”

Since coming out of the house Helenka has been exercising five or six times a week after being given a free gym pass at The Academy. She would like to say a big thank you to the centre and particulary to her two trainers, Carolyn and Dave, who she claims “carried on where Mark left off “.

However she has found watching what she eats more difficult since leaving the controlled environment and returing to life at home. Despite this, she has been well disiplined and is still losing weight rather than putting it on.

Helenka’s gym pass runs out in December and although she says her husband, Mark is being very supportive and helping her, she would like to hear from any one who would like a training partner. Contact her on 01423 556461.

l Biggest Loser is shown on the Living TV channel every Wednesday at 9pm.