BERNIE McClinton, who lives in Lower Ballinderry, has been a WeightWatchers leader for 19 years. After losing five stone she was asked by her leader if she would like to train to take her own classes. After some consideration Bernie took up the offer and hasn't looked back.
I get up most mornings at 6 o'clock and go for a walk with my Collie dog Jackie. I especially enjoy walking first thing as there is little traffic and I see a lot of wildlife. I walk for about an hour. Not only does it keep me fit but it also is a great stress buster.
When 1 get back home I feed the dog and have some breakfast. Then I pack my car up with all the equipment needed for my first class. After that I make myself presentable. I have classes in Banbridge, Lurgan and Lisburn. If my morning class is in Lisburn I leave my house at 8.15am. 1 take classes in Railway Street Presbyterian Church Hall on a Tuesday morning at 9.30am and 1pm. I arrive at the church hall and start setting the room up with the help of two clerks. We put out the tables and chairs and I set up the laptop computer. Each member has a card, which contains a microchip with his or her details. I will get a few cards ready for any new people. These save a lot of paperwork although there is still quite a bit to do. Most members usually arrive at 9.15am. The weigh-in starts at 9.30am. I normally take five people at a time to talk to individually and then weigh them. The weigh-in time is private and only the person being weighed and myself know their weight. Then at 10am 1 give a talk to the class. 1 give advice on leading a healthy lifestyle and diet. I might suggest recipes and occasionally I will give a cooking demonstration. I find that losing weight is all down to the person being in the right frame of mind and for this they must be motivated. This is my key role. Everybody at the classes is on the same boat. It is the one place where nobody judges or preaches about weight. Every five weeks I have to attend meetings especially designed for class leaders and I am weighed too, just to make sure that I am maintaining my target weight. 1 have been in the same position as the people coming to my classes and I understand what they are going through.
After the morning class I tidy up and head back to Ballinderry. I'll do some administration work and have yoghurt. Then I'll go out at 12.30pm and head back to the church hall for the express classes, which start at 1pm. These classes have been designed with the needs of mothers who have school children to collect and for people who work nearby. Once the class is over I pack up and go home. I often have soup and regularly make a batch and then freeze it. After that I'll sort out more paperwork and do some household chores. 1 have evening classes in Lisburn on a Tuesday and Thursday which start at 5.15pm and 6.30pm. I am usually home again for 8.15pm. I'll tally all the figures up and sort everything out for the next day. Then I'll have a good substantial dinner such as chicken and vegetables. In the bright evenings I might go for another walk with the dog or else I read and maybe watch TV. I enjoy socialising at the weekends and I especially like jiving and doing the old time dances. 1 really enjoy my job as seeing people losing weight makes it all worthwhile.