Dog training with a difference! A mum-of-four lost half her bodyweight thanks to a personal trainer – her four-year-old Bichon Frisé.
Usually dog training involves an owner attempting to change pet behaviour, but Mandy Bristow, 49, credits her dog Archie with changing her attitude to exercise by encouraging her to get up and go for long walks with him.
Mrs Bristow, of Bicester, said she owes Archie a debt of gratitude for helping her keep the puppy fat away.
She said: “I can’t see why people choose to pay hundreds of pounds for personal trainers at expensive gyms – all I needed was Archie, and he encouraged me to lose weight for free.”
Mrs Bristow, who once weighed 19st 2lbs, bought Archie four years ago, shortly after her partner Robert, 52, proposed.
Determined to slim down to a perfect size 10 in time for her wedding, Mrs Bristow joined a gym and a slimming club, but it was Archie, with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for walkies, who finally persuaded her to get up from the sofa and develop a healthier lifestyle.
She said: “I became dangerously overweight after the birth of my first child. By the time Robert proposed I was constantly out of breath and borderline diabetic. My legs ached whenever I walked.
“After a while I quit the gym because I wasn’t getting on with it. Archie was a puppy with limitless energy and he wanted to be taken for long walks every day. I couldn’t avoid it – he was very persuasive.”
Mrs Bristow hit her weight target in time for the wedding in 2011 and since then has managed to keep her weight from piling back on by continuing to take her lead from her inspirational pet.
“I started taking Archie out for longer and longer walks. He would lead me around the whole of Bicester. Now I walk around eight miles at a time.”
Personal training sessions can cost up to £200 a session at exclusive gyms in London, but all Mrs Bristow has to pay Archie with is hugs and kisses.
She said: “There are some days when I don’t want to get outside and do the day’s exercise, but the way he looks at me, I just have to go out walking with him. I think Archie is much better than a personal trainer.
“I’m now safe from diabetes and I feel great. ”
Before her weight loss she typically ate nothing for breakfast then a kebab or fish and chips lunch. For dinner she would have a Chinese takeaway. She would snack on crisps, chocolate and salted peanuts throughout the day.
Today, she typically eats a piece of fruit or a yoghurt when she gets to work. For lunch she will have a small salad with a brown roll, with homemade chicken and rice dishes for dinner. If she wants a snack she will now have a low fat yoghurt.
She said: “Celebrities pay an absolute fortune for personal trainers and I think they must have money to throw away.”
“Archie has given me a new lease on life.
“He is so full of energy, he just bounces around everywhere, he is the perfect motivation.”
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