Biggest Loser showed me it was time to get off the sofa

I think it was about this time of year four years ago when I settled down with a pizza and a glass of wine and watched a television programme that changed my life.

Monday, 2nd May 2016, 6:01 am
Oliver Bales

At the time I was committed to what I like to call the Judd Pizza and Wine Diet.

This is best enjoyed while sitting on a comfy sofa for hours on end.

I can recommend this diet if what you’re after is diabetes, heart problems and obesity. In all other respects it’s pretty rubbish.

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It’s probably a familiar scene and what I was watching was just throwaway telly – it was Biggest Loser, the American version.

I’d been pretty addicted to watching this group of seriously overweight people competing to lose the most weight.

But it was when they attempted to run a marathon that I really sat up and paid attention.

It was hot, they were heavy and it took them hours and hours and hours.

But they did it.

For them it was about doing the distance; the achievement was just crossing the finish line.

It was at that moment I realised that I really had no excuse to just stay on the sofa.

Those people inspired me to train for the Great South Run.

I wrote about getting fit for it in The News, and that’s what led to me having this column, which I love.

Those people changed my life and that’s why I think it’s important that we celebrate the people who are trying their hardest to achieve something for themselves or for their community.

Take, for example, Oliver Bales.

Front page news on Thursday, Oliver has slimmed down from 38 stone to just 13 – almost a third of the man he used to be.

It took him just two years, which is very quick to lose so much weight.

I hope the wideness of his smile in the paper reflects how happy he really is with his new body.

Oliver should be proud.

Not just of his own achievement, but because he will surely be an inspiration to someone who may just be sitting on a sofa right now, eating pizza and drinking a glass of wine.


What do you do when you’re confronted by two men trying to break into your jewellery shop with hammers?

Apparently if you’re a jeweller from Andover you get so angry you scare them off and then sprint down the road after them.

Plucky Amy Mellor was lucky the would-be robber didn’t turn on her – he had a nine-inch knife on him.

But I love the thought of the two men being so scared they ran off, with one scarpering on the scooter they had come on, leaving the other to be chased for 200m.

And what does Amy say?

Well, she reckons that she could have run further and faster if she hadn’t run the Southampton 10k the day before.

You’ve got to admire her spirit, haven’t you?


I must admit to having a tear in my eye while watching the coverage of the Hillsborough disaster inquest and its conclusion.

The families of the 96 people who died that day in 1989 finally have an official acknowledgement of what they’ve believed for the past 27 years – that the fans were blameless.

I think it was the story from a policewoman, who’d been at the scene at the time and tried desperately and unsuccessfully to haul an unconscious boy over the pitch fence and revive him, which was one of the most poignant.

South Yorkshire police might have a lot of questions to answer and heads will roll.

Because the rank and file coppers on duty that day were just as much victims of the failings as the fans were.