Battle of the bulge
Yellowknifers commit to losing weight

by Dave Salter
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 013/96) - If a couple of Yellowknifers lose 50 pounds, they'll have Oprah Winfrey to thank. Well, sort of.

Terry Chang -- co-owner of Body Works Fitness Club -- says an episode of the American talk show inspired her to whip two overweight people into shape at her club, free of charge.

"The show featured some guests who were overweight success stories and I thought it would a great idea to do something like that here," said Chang.

She placed an ad in Yellowknifer last month and Chang says the response was overwhelming.

After delving through many heart-rendering applications, Chang settled on a couple of 37 year-olds, Denyse Kutlesa and John Seagrave.

The six-month program -- valued at $2,500 -- includes cardio work-outs, weight training and a nutrition plan.

Chang says she hopes the participants will lose a pound-and-a-half to two-pounds a week, with a total weight loss goal of 50 pounds each.

Kutlesa and Seagrave say poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle contributed to their weight problems. Both say the support they'll receive from the fitness staff will be the key to their success.

"I've done the dieting yo-yo thing for years and it never worked," said Kutlesa.

"I need someone to instruct me, council me and give me support."

Seagrave concurs.

"This isn't something I can do on my own. I need their help."

Both participants have their own reasons for making the lifestyle change at this point in their lives.

"I don't want to be fat. I don't want to be eating Slim Fast for the rest of my life. I want to be healthy," says Kutlesa.

"I obviously haven't been able to do it on my own because I wouldn't be here today. I need someone there to pick me up when I'm down. When I saw this opportunity I had to take it."

Seagrave says that, while he's making the change for himself, there are other factors.

"My 10-year-old boy recently told me he that he didn't want to grow up and look like me ... fat. That broke my heart," says Seagrave.

"I'm doing this for myself, the love of my child and my new wife. We got married recently and we've got a lot of plans. I'd like to be around long enough to see them through."

Seagrave hopes the program will turn his life around.

"Right now I feel disgusting. I don't take my shirt off at the beach. I can't walk into a clothing store and buy off the rack," he says.

"I don't fit in a booth at McDonald's. My stomach is up against the table. I'm sure it looks as ridiculous as it feels."

If all goes as planned, Seagrave and Kutlesa will be showing off their new bodies in March.

Yellowknifer will monitor their progress and publish an update after three months and at the conclusion in the spring.