I’m heading off to uni! I’m feeling a bit nervous, as everything’s going to be new. And although I’ll miss my parents and my mates, it’ll be good to get to know my university city of Bangor in North Wales. Maybe I can find a football team to join there. In my early teens I used to play a lot of football, cricket and rugby, but I haven’t done any of that for years now.
I’ve settled in fairly quickly and made lots of friends. My mates and I go out drinking three or four nights a week, and we don’t hold back! My hangover cure is a couple of bowls of my favourite chocolate cereal and a Scotch egg on my way to my lecture.
I’ve moved to Germany for the year as part of my degree in German and economics. While life is great, I’m feeling pretty unfit. I used to love cycling everywhere when I was a kid. Now I can’t keep up with my friends when we ride our bikes to a nearby lake; they all race off and I get left behind, sweating and puffing away. I know I’ve put on some weight, but I haven’t checked how much… if I’m honest, I don’t want to know.
I’ve just had an important conversation with my grandparents. They came over to visit me here in Germany and brought up the issue of my weight. My grandma has come through some difficult health problems in the past and we’re lucky still to have her. The thought of her now worrying about me has inspired me to start looking after myself.
I’m back in Bangor, and you won’t believe it – I’ve joined Slimming World! I never, ever thought I’d hear myself say that; I always assumed it was just for women. I went to see my doctor for advice on how to lose weight, and he suggested I join a weight-loss group for motivation. I was pretty embarrassed and nervous when I walked in the room for that first session – I suppose I thought people would be taking the mick.
Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, and there were a lot more men there than I’d expected.
I’ve spent the last seven days putting into practice everything my Consultant told me about Free Food and Healthy Extras. And it’s paid off – I’ve lost 4lbs in my first week. I’ve cut down on bread and switched my cereal, and I’ve even reined in my chocolate habit. The best thing about it is I don’t have to restrict the amount I eat. And I can still have all my favourite stuff, like chilli con carne – I love spicy food!
I don’t believe it – I’ve lost 10½lbs in seven days! I couldn’t be more pleased, especially as I went a bit off plan in my second week and only lost 1lb. I was starting to think Food Optimising wasn’t going to work for me after all. The other members at group reassured me that they’d all been through the same thing, though, and encouraged me not to give up
I’ve got a part-time job as a bouncer, which means I’m not going out with my mates every night and I’m drinking much less. I’ve also joined the languages-department football team and we play once a week. I was totally knackered after a match to start with, but as the weeks go by I can feel myself getting fitter.
You are looking at the Man of the Year from my Slimming World group. And before you say it, no, I’m not the only man – there are 12 of us, actually! My grandparents are so proud. Grandma’s even thinking about joining her local group back home in Solihull.
Finally, all my exams are over – what a relief. I’ve spent the last couple of months revising all day, every day, so I haven’t been exercising nearly as much as I’d like. And I’ve been a bit slack at preparing my own food because I’ve been so busy. Not surprisingly, I haven’t lost much weight for a while. This summer, though, I’m moving back home, and I’m looking forward to starting a job and joining a gym.
Joining a gym turned out to be a great idea and all the extra activity helped me get down to 21st 3lbs before Christmas, so I’m gutted to have put on 9½lbs over the festive period. I won’t lie; it feels like a real setback, though I’m not going to dwell on it... When I went to group after New Year, there were plenty of other members in the same boat. There was a real sense that we’re all going to support each other to get back on track again.
I’ve realised over the last few years that losing weight is all about making simple lifestyle changes that bring small and consistent losses – that’s what I feel most proud of. I’m cooking all my own food, I’m swapping recipes with the other members in my group to keep things fresh and interesting, and I’m making exercise part of my daily routine.
I’ve finally reached my target! What an amazing feeling. When I first joined Slimming World back in Bangor, reaching even 18st seemed unachievable – and now I’m down to 15½st. I’ve treated myself to loads of new clothes and I can dress like a typical 26-year-old, rather than struggling to find anything I like that fits.
I’m still at target and friends who didn’t know me before can’t believe it when I show them old photos. What feels even better, though, is knowing that I’ve inspired both my dad and grandma to join Slimming World – and they’ve lost 4st between them. My grandma’s kept her weight off and stayed at target for over a year, so she’s a Diamond Member, too – and that’s my next goal. This is who I am now, and I’m determined to stay this way for the long term.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.