Sunday 17 December 2017

Inspirations: They changed their figures and changed their lives

Photography by Kip Carroll Art Direction and Styling by Brendan Courtney Fashion edited by constance harris

From left: Eithne wears: Dress, €175, Coast; shoes, €95, Nine West; bracelet, €24; ring, €23, both Jon Richard. Earrings, stylist's own.
Rita wears: Shrug, €49.50, Star by Julien Macdonald; dress, €600, Pearce II Fionda; earrings, €5, Jon Richard.
Noelle wears: Jacket, €67.50, Collection at Debenhams; ballgown, €170, Debut; shoes, €43, Red Herring; earrings, €15; bracelet, €24,
both Jon Richard
Edel wears: Dress, €195, Principles by Ben De Lisi; shoes, €54, Star by Julien Macdonald; earrings, €12, Butterfly by Matthew
Williamson; bracelet, €24, Jon Richard
Leah wears: Shrug, €49.50; dress, €450; both Star by Julien Macdonald. Earrings, stylist's own.
Amanda wears: Dress, €89; shoes, €43, both Red Herring; gloves, €15.50, Debut; bracelet, €24, Jon Richard. Tights, Amanda's own
From left: Eithne wears: Dress, €175, Coast; shoes, €95, Nine West; bracelet, €24; ring, €23, both Jon Richard. Earrings, stylist's own. Rita wears: Shrug, €49.50, Star by Julien Macdonald; dress, €600, Pearce II Fionda; earrings, €5, Jon Richard. Noelle wears: Jacket, €67.50, Collection at Debenhams; ballgown, €170, Debut; shoes, €43, Red Herring; earrings, €15; bracelet, €24, both Jon Richard Edel wears: Dress, €195, Principles by Ben De Lisi; shoes, €54, Star by Julien Macdonald; earrings, €12, Butterfly by Matthew Williamson; bracelet, €24, Jon Richard Leah wears: Shrug, €49.50; dress, €450; both Star by Julien Macdonald. Earrings, stylist's own. Amanda wears: Dress, €89; shoes, €43, both Red Herring; gloves, €15.50, Debut; bracelet, €24, Jon Richard. Tights, Amanda's own
Edel Moran, 24, Castlebar, She is single and a trainee teacher.She is now a size 12, and has lost three stone. 'I don't ever want to be the size I was before again. I have so much more energy now, and even my mother says I have a bounce in my step. I know there is more to life, and people can be very judgmental when you are bigger. I would never judge a book by its cover.' Belted dress, €195, Coast
Rita Dandy, 64, Baldoyle, originally from Laois. She is retired, and has four children and four grandchildren. She is now a size 12, and has lost three stone 'As I started to lose weight, I regained my confidence. I do things now I used to shy away from. Eight years ago, I went into hospital to have an operation on my feet and was told I needed a triple bypass. We found out there is a genetic heart problem in the family. Two of my sisters have had bypasses and my brother passed away from the condition. My mother died at the age of 54 from it also. This was a major reason to lose weight. Losing weight has helped me hugely.' Dress, €104, Betty Jackson.Black; necklace, €27, Butterfly by Matthew Williamson. Earrings; tights, Rita’s own
Leah Tierney, 29, lives with her partner. She is a Montessori teacher with a son, Toby, aged one and a half. She is now a size 14/16 and has lost four stone. 'I feel so much more confident and sexier now. I was sick of being fat. I decided to stop thinking about losing weight and just do it. I'm proud of myself and my achievement. I got huge help from all my family, but obviously it was ultimately down to me to lose the weight. Teresa and the rest of the Curves team at Castlebar have been amazing also' Bolero, €57, Debut; dress, €225; ribbon and stone necklace, €24, both Star by Julien Macdonald. Earrings, stylist's own
Eithne Kendrick, 42, Walkinstown, originally from Cavan. She is married with two children, aged 5 and 10, and she’s on a career break at the moment from Dublin City Council. She is now a size 8/10 and has lost three stone. 'I am more confident and have a better attitude to life. I'm also more sensitive to people with weight problems. I love being able to go into the shops and get bargains because of my new size. I'm much more able to deal with challenges now. Curves is a passion — it's my half an hour to myself, every day.' Dress, €120, Coast. Rings, Eithne's own
Amanda Byrne, 41, Mullingar. She is a married housewife with one son, aged 16. She is now a size 8/10and has lost three stone and five pounds. 'It has really given me back my self-esteem. Curves has given me a new life and my health has improved enormously since joining. I could never go back to the old me. My husband, Liam, has been my rock throughout. If I don't go to Curves I'm like a briar' Dress, €82.50; shoes, €54, both Butterfly by Matthew Williamson
Noelle Sexton, 31, Douglas, Cork. She is a married mum of three, and a lab technician in UCC. She is now a size 16, six months after having a baby, and has lost two stone. 'I didn't like buying clothes. I was almost crying every time I was in the changing room. Now I am getting clothes that fit and I have so much more choice. I am able to go into the shops I like. Curves is a way of life for me now. There's a social aspect to it also and I love the chats. I'm also much more aware of the importance of being active for my kids. My confidence in general has greatly improved. I'm healthier and have a better outlook on life' Bolero, €57, Debut; dress, €124, Principles by Ben De Lisi; shoes, €42, Star by Julien Macdonald

Constance Harris

Last year, the amazing women who appear on our pages today decided to change their lives. Their overweight, untoned bodies were, they felt, the physical proof of how they had let their lives slide. They joined Curves, the women-only, circuit-training gym, where they got exercise and nutrition plans, as well as the support of other women.

When they started out on their daunting journey to get healthy and shed weight, they could not have foreseen how their lives would change and improve -- yet change and improve they did. Self-esteem emerged, relationships got better, health and energy improved, zest for life increased. They did not envision that they would be posing on the pages of LIFE, dressed in fabulous clothes from Debenhams and styled by Brendan Courtney, from RTE's Off The Rails, yet here they are.

They did not think that as they met their personal goals they would be a source of inspiration to other women. They are.

And next week, one of them is to be named Curvette of the Year and win a prize consisting of free Curves membership for two years, a gorgeous outfit from Debenhams and a fabulous Sunway holiday.

Nominee Rita Dandy had a triple bypass. Wanting to live to see another day was her motivation to get fit. Thanks to her weight-loss and fitness programme, she is getting there. "Losing weight has helped me hugely. My blood pressure and cholesterol are better than an acceptable level now, which is huge for me, as they were both very high. My cardiologist was delighted to see the changes in me. I brought in my Curves measurement sheet to show him my progress and he kept it to show other patients," she says.

Edel Moran, another nominee, went to America for a couple of months where huge portion sizes and junk-food temptation meant she returned home considerably heavier. She joined Curves and, like the other successful women on our pages today, went three times a week.

"It sounds like a lot of effort, but it's not," said nominee Leah Tierney. "It is such an easy system. You just go in, do your 30-minute workout, and leave. There is no excuse."

Curves is about the power of short, succinct and regular: it's the route to personal success.

"That was the old me, and this is the new me," said nominee Amanda Byrne. "If you are determined and driven you can turn it around and succeed."

Listening to their life stories, challenges and triumphs, these women made me feel like the biggest, fat liar to myself.

They did it. So can we.

L

All clothes and accessories featured are from Debenhams stores nationwide, tel: 1890-946-777, or see www.debenhams.ie

Debenhams offer a free personal shopping and bra-fitting service

Photography by Kip Carroll, see www.kipcarroll.com

Art Direction and Styling by Brendan Courtney, see www.brendancourtney.com

Assisted by Colm Corrigan

Make-up by Vivien Pomeroy at Brown Sugar

Hair by John Cheese at Brown Sugar, 50 Sth William St, D2, tel: (01) 616-9967, or see www.brownsugar.ie

Shot on location in the Olympia Theatre.

Our grateful appreciation to the staff for their kind assistance. Olympia box office, tel: (01) 679-3323; booking, tel: (0818) 719-330

Curves, the women-only fitness club, is offering great savings to help you kick-start 2011, with a great offer which runs throughout the month of January. New joiners will save 50 per cent of the joining fee and enjoy the first 30 days at Curves free of charge

All prices correct at time of going to press. Some may be reduced as a result of January discounts

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