Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Life: A Healthy and Happy 2008; LIFESTYLE

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Life: A Healthy and Happy 2008; LIFESTYLE

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH DALE

HAVE you started thinking about ways to improve your family's health? January is traditionally the time of year when people think about making improvements to their lives, making New Year's resolutions to do with health, work/life balance and spending more time with the family. SARAH DALE looks at how you and your family can have a healthier and happier 2008.

A HAPPIER and healthier 2008 is just what the doctor ordered for mum-of-four Gillian Hawkins.

During the summer, Gillian, from Middlesbrough, made the life-changing decision to lose weight after her doctor told her that doing so would free her from the constant back pain she was in.

"I had back surgery 18 months ago," says Gillian, who has four daughters, Sam, 21, Hayley, 19, Helen, 17, and Hannah, 13.

"I had two discs removed.

"I was on painkillers every day and was constantly moaning about being in pain and how there was nothing I could do about it.

"The doctors told me that losing weight would help and it turned out they were right."

During the summer Gillian decided to take action.

She started swimming every morning as well as taking her three dogs, Roly, Buttons and RJ (Roly Junior) for long walks.

Not only did Gillian drop several dress sizes but the steady supply of painkillers she had previously taken were resigned to a drawer.

"Within two weeks of swimming every morning I realised I wasn't taking anything," says Gillian, who lives in Easterside.

"I just feel so much better.

"I sleep better and more soundly and rather than feeling really sluggish by 9pm I have the energy to clean up or do some ironing.

"I wake up at 5.30am to 6am feeling great and ready to go and do some exercise."

This is an activity Gillian plans to continue during 2008.

"I've made a New Year's resolution to carry on with the exercise, I still have a way to go and I've seen the results already," says Gillian.

"Doing more exercise makes you eat differently too. …

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