A BANGOR woman’s determination has paid off after she lost 14 stone and picked up two prizes in a fitness competition.

Forty six year old college lecturer Judith Magill weighed 23 stones when she decided to embark on a weight loss journey three years ago following the death of her father during the second Covid lockdown.

Judith’s battle against her weight was rewarded recently when she struck double ghold in the NI Fitness Model Association (NIFMA) competition, winning the biggest weight loss and body transformation categories.

Describing the awards as as the ‘cherry on the cake’ the mum of three said had she not tackled her weight she knew she would have found it very difficult as she got older.

Judith’s quest for better health was sparked by the sudden death of her father, Brian Gilliland, who passed away two weeks after receiving a cancer diagnosis during the second Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.  

Shaken by the loss of her father, Judith decided it was time to fully get a handle on her own health, so that she may make her late father proud, but be there for her family – her three children, Ruby, Toby and Lydia, and her husband, who is also called Brian.  

Reflecting on her weight loss drive, Judith feels that her father would be proud of her progress and recent victory at the fitness modelling championships. 

“This took place just over the course of three years, so it wasn’t a quick thing,” says the local teacher. “My start weight was just over 23 stone which was the heaviest I had ever been.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer during the second lockdown and we lost him within two weeks, it was very sudden,” she explained.

“That gave me the motivation to get healthy for my children. My dad was aware that I was starting my journey, and he was really proud, so I really wanted to see it through for him.”

Cutting down on takeaways and junk food, Judith began classes at the Bangor Pure Gym. Motivated to shed the pounds, she knew it was now or never to lose the weight, something she reaps the physical benefits of today.  

“With getting older, it does get harder to lose weight,” she explains. “I am going to be 50 in four years, so I know it is going to be even harder then, so if I don’t do it now, I am never going to get it done.  

“I was starting to feel aches and pains with carrying that much weight around. Now, I have so much more energy, no sort of health issues, there is just a big difference.” 

In reaching her goal weight, Judith sought to mark the meaningful milestone, and applied for the NIFMA Irish Universe Fitness Model Championships, which were held at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Belfast.  

Taking the stage and winning in the Miss Biggest Weight Loss and Miss Body Transformation categories, Judith reflects on the contest and the additional work she put in for it.  

“The competition was through Northern Ireland Fitness Models Associations. I thought since I got to my goal weight, this would be the cherry on the cake, the last push.  

“The 10 weeks leading up were very tough. You had to train twice a day and count every calorie but I thought it would be good to finish my weight loss journey on a high,” says the Bangor mother.  

“It was great for your self-confidence, to know that you are as good as anybody else, and it was a nice chance to get dressed up for the day, get your spray tan and hair and make-up done.  

“Currently, I am nine-and-a-half stone, I have not been this weight since school, probably even primary school. I have been dieting for over 30 years, and this is the only time I stuck to it,” she reveals.  

Sharing advice to those wishing to start their own weight loss journey, Judith recommends consistency and keeping at fitness. 

“I would love to inspire others to do it, to show them that it is possible. You just have to be consistent, and results will come.  

“Find a fitness class that you enjoy, not one that you dread going to. I love circuits and spin classes with upbeat music. Find something you like, and people to go with you, so that you can motivate each other,” added Judith.