Twelve people began a weight loss and fitness challenge at The Health Boutique in Uckfield last night.
They were selected through a ballot to take part in the eight-week programme offered free-of-charge by the gym in Eastbourne Road.
Among those taking part are bride-to-be Marian Paterson, 43, and her work colleague Luke Murphy, 35; mother-and-daughter Sarah Bailey-Williams, 45, and Stephanie Wright, 23; and Melissa Coleman, 31.
They will have free access to the gym and classes throughout the eight weeks, will be given a personal nutrition plan and come together for a weekly group weigh-in.
Melissa Coleman said she had been trying to get on to one of the courses for several years and was pleased to have the opportunity now.
She told Uckfield News: “I have three children and with each one it has been harder to get the weight off. My youngest is three in May and I am probably the same size now as when I had her.
“I want to be slimmer and train myself to be healthier, thinking more about what I eat.”
Stephenie Wright said she desperately needed to lose weight and doing that in a group appealed rather than working on her own at home.
Her mum Sarah Bailey-Williams said she needed to lose weight too and she had particular incentive after being refused eye surgery because of her size.
“I have been trying to do something about my weight for 26 years since I had my first daughter. I have three daughters now, including a little one who is three.”
The two said they hoped the programme would keep them on the straight and narrow as they took on the challenge.
Marian Paterson is off to Italy to get married in August accompanied a party of 41 people, including family and friends.
She and finance Paul Wade, who have been together 11 years and live at Hempstead Fields, didn’t want to go through a traditional UK wedding and Italy proved to be a popular destination with most of their guests.
“I would like to drop a dress size. I have already got my wedding dress and I want to look the best I possibly can. Lots of thin friends are coming so that is added incentive.’
Melissa’s work colleague Luke Murphy will be encouraging her, while undertaking his own fitness challenge.
At first the two were going to compete, possibly even bet on who could achieve the best outcome, but in the end they agreed would be more successful by supporting and motivating each other.
The group were welcomed to the challenge last night by Rod and Gill Howick who run the gym with their daughter Hannah. They toured the facilities and had their first weigh-in and now the serious business begins.
Gill said: “The idea is to help them change shape and to feel healthier by introducing them to a healthier lifestyle.”