Inspiring Burnley weight-loss mum taking mile challenge in her stride

A mum-of-three who ballooned to a size 20 in the 20 years after having her first child decided enough was enough when she  reached her mid-forties.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 11:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 11:31 am
Diane Smith with comedian Ted Robbins, who is fronting the campaign  and Linda Searle, Up and Active manager (s)
Diane Smith with comedian Ted Robbins, who is fronting the campaign and Linda Searle, Up and Active manager (s)

Diane Smith (46), of Rosehill, Burnley, used to hate summer because it was often too hot to hide her size under big coats and dresses.

“For the rest of the year I used to walk with my head down hoping no one would notice me. But in summer when I had to put a pair of shorts on I was so self-conscious, and I just hated that time of year,” she said.

Diane, now a spritely size 12, admits she was never a sporty person and she would always catch a bus or take a taxi rather than walk.

But taking part in the Lancashire County Council health initiative Your Mile Your Way will literally be taken in her stride.

The project will see people across Lancashire being asked to walk, run, hop, skip, jump or swim a mile on Friday, May 18th.

The aim is to encourage at least 24,901 people across the county to pledge to take part on Your Mile Your Way Day. The figure is the number of miles it would take to go around the world.

Diane said: “Your Mile Your Way is a great way to motivate people who don’t normally take exercise to get involved and I will be throwing my weight – although it’s not as much as it used to be – behind it!”

In 2015, Diane’s mum Shirley Broxton was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it had a life-changing effect on Diane.

She said: “Around that time I went to the doctor and was told I was on the cusp of being diabetic and as I got older, I would have to inject myself with insulin. I was told I had to start being active or I’d be very ill later.”

That was enough for Diane to decide the time was right to do something about her size.

She explained: “I was referred to an exercise programme Up and Active at St Peter’s Sports Centre in Burnley. Apart from the exercises, we also talked about diet and what was good to eat and what wasn’t.”

Up until then Diane, office manager at Northbridge Vending in Burnley, used to skip breakfast and then snack on fast food, crisps, chocolates and cappuccinos during the day. Once home, she confesses she loved to have chips with her meals and once sitting down to watch TV would eat more crisps and chocolates.

Once Diane started to put some discipline into her everyday life, her eating habits changed and she started to regularly attend the gym.

Diane and teacher husband Daniel now make going to the gym together part of their weekly routine. And the threat of diabetes? Well, that’s just a distant memory now.

To sign up and pledge your mile, visit