Fethiye residents help each other as they get fit .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} FETHİYE - For those who would love to lose some weight and make friends, Silhouette, a support group established by long-term resident and therapist Gianna Karagöz, hits the spot. Silhouette members are sharing their experiences of losing weight while getting fit in regular meetings

A group of English women in Fethiye have found a way to be active this winter, while loosing weight and making friends.

Silhouette is a support group established by long-term resident and therapist Gianna Karagöz and is based on nutritional information, calorie counting, mutual support and exercise.

The numbers of women joining Silhouette have increased in inverse proportion to the kilos shed. Karagöz said: "Regular meetings and sharing the experience of loosing weight while getting fit and having fun helps us to succeed, especially at a time of year when curling up on the sofa with a bar of chocolate sometimes seems like a better option."

"Self restraint is something that can slip at these times but when we all witness each others achievements and understand their weaknesses, we can be stronger as a group rather than individuals," Karagöz added.

Heidi Yıldız, one of Silhouette’s regular participants, confesses that she is normally not very good at careful, disciplined eating and regular exercise. "I work really hard all day and I actually often forget to eat," Yıldız says.

But she admits to more than making up for missed meals when she gets home.

"I love food and all too often I have a big dinner and go to bed on a full stomach," she said. "I am now benefiting from the support group set up by Gianna. Slimming as a group activity means we can all help each other through the difficult times and use our individual strengths to bolster the others."

Karagöz’s previous career in the pharmaceutical industry means she is no stranger to human biology. Before coming to Turkey, she successfully participated in a Weight Watchers Program, losing 35 kilos, making her fully aware of the anxieties that beset most women who are trying to become slimmer, especially in anticipation of the summer months, the time when everyone wants to look their best.

"All my ladies have made a commitment to themselves and the group," she said. "There was nothing like the mutual support group that I found myself, so I thought it would be a good idea to start something in like that in Fethiye. So far I have been proved completely right."

Karagöz’s Italian father encouraged her interest in cooking. She uses her comprehensive knowledge to encourage her ladies to experiment with delicious cuisine for which the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is famous.

"So many British women come here to live but carry on trying to replicate typical English meals, often using processed food," she said. "This seems unfortunate when Fethiye has an abundance of delicious, fresh, seasonal and above all healthy ingredients, just waiting to be eaten. Here there are so many tasty options available at all times of the year and it is just a case of learning what to do with them, while counting the calories, of course."

Encouraging women to refocus bodies
Her ideas for soups, vegetables, grilled meats and fish together with exercises they do together, have encouraged the women to refocus on their bodies and their relationship with food.

"I am so proud of what my group is achieving," she said. "Very often loosing weight helps esteem and with personal health issues. Being together means that not only do we feel better about ourselves we make friends too."

Karagöz does not approve of the word dieting.

"I employ a holistic approach to body awareness and avoid draconian rules and techniques, as these can so often set people up to fail," she added. "As a result, nothing is forbidden but we have to be aware of what we are eating. By all means eat a couple of slices of bread with a lunchtime bowl of lentil soup but remember to make allowances for that at other times. A varied, healthy meal is likely to achieve better results than semi-starvation."

It seems that for these women at least, this summer in Fethiye, will be one they can look forward to.