Will these people be Portsmouth's biggest losers?

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Christmas will be the last chance for these News readers to scoff all the food they love – because when January comes, there'll be no more of that.

As soon as they've celebrated the new year they'll be plunged into a three-month weight loss plan to get them fighting fit.

Personal trainers Gary Lockwood and Jess Eacott, from 24/7 Fitness at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, will be responsible for putting them all through their paces in a bid to turn their lives around – and the best thing is it won't cost them a penny.

Following in the footsteps of the popular TV show, The Biggest Loser, they'll battle it out to see who can shed the most pounds.

They'll work out five days a week, change their diet with help from a nutritionist and use the services of the gym's masseuse, chiropractor and acupuncturist.

Every Sunday they'll take part in a gruelling fitness challenge and a weekly weigh-in which will let them see how well they are doing.

The News helped 24/7 Fitness launch Portsmouth's Biggest Loser last month and readers wrote in appealing for help. Only eight places were available though and Gary and Jess picked those they think they can help the most.

The challenge kicks off on January 3 and we'll be keeping you up to date with their progress.

'It's going to be very full-on,' adds Gary, the gym's senior personal trainer. 'They'll be working out for at least two hours a day, five days a week, for three months. The nutrition plan they will be following works, I've had great results on it. Exercise is great and it's absolutely key – but diet is just as important.

'We've got to get them out of their bad habits, we have to see a big difference. After a month their friends won't recognise them. After three months, they won't recognise themselves.'

OUR CASE STUDIES

Jacqueline Martin is a petite 5ft 2in. But her weight no longer matches her size. The 46-year-old currently weighs 13st 10lbs and is unhappy about that.

She's suffered a raft of health problems because of her weight, including painful knees and high blood pressure. Jacqueline, from Cosham, adds: 'I suffer from snoring, which keeps my partner awake at night, causing tiredness for both of us.

'I believe that this challenge will re-boost my self-esteem and help me to lead a healthier lifestyle which I can maintain.

'It will make my family life better.'

Mum Emma Hine has a lot on her plate. The 33-year-old, from Havant, has three children of her own – including Lewis, who is recovering from a brain tumour.

Over the past two years, Emma's found her weight has ballooned and she's currently 14st 6lbs.

Emma adds: 'I need to get my health back on track, I have my whole family relying on me to look after them and keep them well and healthy but I've finally realised that in order to do that, I need to sort myself out first. I have the rest of my life ahead of me and, more importantly, my children's lives.'

Amy Devine has a clear goal in her sights. She wants to be wearing size 12/14 jeans by the time she turns 22 in July 2011.

The trainee primary school teacher currently weighs 18st 8lbs and has worked hard to shed some pounds on her own already.

At her heaviest she weighed more than 20 stone – but she now needs help to keep going.

Amy, from Paulsgrove, says: 'My weight has made me deeply unhappy, and I know that I'm not alone in that. I'm afraid that I may develop health issues like diabetes. But I know I'm not a lost cause just yet.'

There's a very good reason why Gary Watson is glad he's taking part in Portsmouth's Biggest Loser.

In May he'll be tackling a charity cycle event, riding from Bournemouth, to Brighton. The two-day challenge will see him raise 500 for Asthma UK. But if he doesn't lose some weight before then he'll find the punishing schedule of daily bike riding a real challenge.

The 43-year-old, from Copnor, Portsmouth, currently weighs 17st 6lbs.

'I'm hoping to lose around four stone before May,' says Gary. 'I'll be cycling around 70 miles per day and I need some help.'

Paul Westcombe thinks taking part in Portsmouth's Biggest Loser could be the kick up the backside he needs.

The 39-year-old, from Gosport, is looking to lose a fifth of his body weight after the scales revealed he weighs more than 20 stone.

The father-of-three has a busy job as the general manager of a restaurant at Gunwharf Quays.

'I have tried for the past few years to lose weight but never with much conviction,' says Paul. 'I now feel the time is right to really go for it. I want to be fit and healthy for myself but also for my children.'

Stephen Cox wants to dramatically improve his life so that he can be there for his kids and enjoy a better quality of life himself.

The 30-year-old, from Gosport, weighs more than 19 stone and admits he's obese.

But his wake-up call came when a child recently told him he was too fat to go on a slide at a play centre.

Stephen says: 'I can't go through life subjecting my kids to being embarrassed of their father as they get older. I've realised now that my condition is so, so, selfish and I need to do it for them – it is my duty as a loving father.'

During his school days Stephen was sporty and athletic. He wants to feel like that again – and be an inspiration to others.

It's been a tough year for Amy Street, from Copnor, Portsmouth. The 29-year-old went through a painful relationship break-up and now weighs 15st 4lbs.

She's tried plenty of new diets and joined many slimming groups before. But she's not found anything has really made a difference.

'I really need to get slim so I can be fabulous and get back out there to find Mr Right,' she explains. 'To top it off, I will be hitting the big 3-0 in June 2011 and I am dreading being overweight, single and 30 – this could be my saviour.'

Katie Shepherd got a shock when a dietician said she wouldn't be around in 10 years' time if she didn't take action. At more than 20 stone, she's dangerously overweight.

Katie, from Bedhampton, has tried plenty of diets but says nothing seems to work.

The 23-year-old is hoping Gary and Jess will be able to keep her on the straight and narrow path towards a new and slimmer her: 'I have been getting really down at the moment as I've been single a year and men don't really give me a second look,' she says. 'They seem to take the mickey out of me.'