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Lucinda Hayton

Helen shows off her new look

THE final weigh-in arrived for Helen Wilman this month much to the delight of Helen and all her supporters.
By Lucinda Hayton

As regular 'Looking Good' readers will know, Helen has been losing weight for charity (Breast Cancer Campaign) for more than seven months, under my ever-watchful eye.

Helen, a beauty therapist at The Low Wood Club, Windermere, undertook the task to lose weight for the charity and, of course, for herself - aged only 21 she weighed in at more than 15 stone.

"I knew I had to do something about my weight, I wasn't happy being that size and I knew it wasn't healthy."

Due to a busy schedule, Helen would choose easy snacks at lunchtime instead of going for the healthy option. She would eat her evening meal late and often end the evening in the pub or wine bar with friends, enjoying several glasses of lager. Since changing her diet to include more fruit and vegetables, and cutting down on fat and carbohydrate, Helen has seen a gradual and realistic weight loss of around two pounds a week.

As we lose weight, so the skin becomes loose and, as Helen was aware of this, she began to inject more exercise into her daily routine. She took up exercise classes and individual workshops with fitness instructor Ailsa Finlayson at The Low Wood Club, began swimming, and even left the car at home to cycle to work instead.

Helen has now lost more than three stone and looks tremendous.

"The benefits of losing the weight are remarkable - I feel so much fitter and have lots more energy. The way I look makes a big difference to the way I feel and therefore I feel so much better now than I did seven months ago. I am so glad I was given the incentive to do something about my size. My final weigh-in isn't what I had hoped to achieve - I had aimed at getting down to 11 stone. But I know I will reach my target weight, it will just take a bit longer than I thought. I am determined to keep the weight off now and to continue my workouts. I love the fact that I can actually see the changes happening week by week. My arms are becoming more toned with the gym exercises that Ailsa has taught me to do, and I am realising that I have got a waist after all."

I took Helen shopping for her final 'transformation' to Beales of Kendal. "I can't believe the choice of clothes Lucinda was giving me to try on, it used to be so hard to find anything young, trendy or elegant to fit me in the majority of shops. Lucinda took me to be measured for underwear first, that made a real difference to the way my final outfit looked." Jacquelyn Sansom, manager of lingerie and fashion at Beales of Kendal, stressed the importance of being 'fitted' for a bra, rather than simply being measured for a bra size.

"Even if you know your bra size it doesn't mean that each bra you try will fit you in the same way." Just like clothes from different stores, in one shop you may fit a size 12 and in another you may need a 14 for example. It's best to chose a few different bras in your measured size and ask a trained fitter to check which one gives you the best support and shape.

For Helen we opted for a beautiful lingerie set from B Ware by Ballet, with an extender for her bra strap - this is a piece identical to the back strap of the bra that fits between the fastenings to allow more width. This way we were able to get a perfect cup for Helen on a bra that otherwise would have proved slightly too tight around the base. (At only £2.99, in either black or white, with a choice of widths, I think they are a fabulous solution to the 'almost' perfect bra).

We chose a simple black dress from Oasis at Beales with the most flattering of cuts, sitting neatly into the waist, skimming the hips and kicking out for movement at the hem. Adding a brightly-coloured cardigan gave the 'look' a younger, more feminine edge and, as we chose one that tapered in at the waist, it added to the illusion of a smaller waist and longer legs. As fishnets are back in, big time, we opted for fine black ones to add glamour, avoiding the heavy over-kill of tights (£3.99 from Gipsy at Beales).

Helen chose a pair of shoes from Dolcis. "I was really surprised when Lucinda told me there was a Dolcis in Kendal. It's quite hidden away being upstairs above Principal in Beales. I'm really glad to have found it. Being a size eight, it was great to find they had a choice of shoes and boots to fit me."

I encouraged Helen to go for a shoe with some height, even though she is 5ft 8in - a heel will help her to feel more elegant and the pointed toe and diamante buckle will be timeless to go with the chosen outfit or with a long skirt or trousers.

To finish off the transformation I took Helen to the palatial premises that is now home to the Daniel Gray hair salon in Kendal. Top stylist Claire-Louise worked her magic with skill, styling Helen's hair to suit her new, slimmer face shape. Using L'Oreal products Claire-Louise showed Helen how to achieve the look at home, herself.

I added the final touches with make-up from MAC and Clarins and jewellery from the new collection at Oasis.

Helen's new look:

Dress: Oasis £50.
Pink Cardigan: Oasis £35.
Fishnet Tights: Gipsy £3.99.
Shoes: Dolcis £29.99.
Bag: 'Mini Hobo' Oasis £18.
Necklace: Oasis £12.
Earrings: (cubic Zirciona) Oasis £3.
Diamante ring: Pasis £9.
Lingerie: B Ware by Ballet in Sorbet - bra £20, thong £10, bra extender £2.99.
Hair styling: Claire-Louise for Daniel Grey (01539-729933)

Make-up/clothes styling: Lucinda Hayton for Looking Good Oasis expect 15-20 new lines each week to its new store at Beales of Kendal. Thanks to manager Vicky Proctor for giving Helen her new Oasis outfit and jewellery.

taken from Leisure, Westmorland Gazette