I’d been overweight for as long as I could remember. I tried all sorts of things to lose weight, and I even lost 10st on a meal replacement diet – but I learned nothing about healthy eating. When I went back to my usual sausage and egg muffin breakfast, rounds of sandwiches and crisps for lunch, and takeaways polished off with two or three bottles of wine at the end of the day, I quickly regained the weight.

At my biggest, my health really started to suffer. I had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, high cholesterol, the beginnings of gout and sleep apnoea. I found it difficult to walk to the end of my road, so I rarely went out. As I was getting bigger and bigger, it felt as though my world was gradually shrinking.

I knew I needed help, and finally, in April 2016, I decided to give Slimming World a try and joined my local group – run by my former neighbour, Angie. As I walked through the door she recognised me straight away, despite us having not seen each other for years.

I got a huge shock when I stepped on the scales and discovered I was nearly 3st heavier than I’d expected. I couldn’t believe what I’d done to my body and I’m not ashamed to say I cried that night.

The next day, though, I filled my fridge and cupboards with healthy ingredients, ready to embrace Food Optimising. I began cooking stir-fries, chilli con carne and pasta dishes from scratch, loving that I could still eat hearty meals while I lost weight.

I began to share my dishes with the rest of my Slimming World group via social media. The support I received from them – both in person and online – was invaluable. Our Consultant Angie was like super glue, too, she held us all together and kept us smiling and motivated. I always felt better after going to group.

I started to become more active, walking around my local park, going from one bench to the next until I could manage longer distances. Now I leave the car at home and walk instead, covering around 10 miles a day. Since joining Slimming World I’ve walked around 6,000 miles – more than the distance between San Francisco and New York and back again!

When I hit my initial target of 14st 7lbs in February 2018, I marked the occasion with a celebratory walk with my friends.

My health has improved dramatically and I no longer need to take medication. My blood sugar reading has dropped from 94 to 25, meaning that I no longer have type 2 diabetes. I don’t need glasses now either – an unexpected side effect of my reduced blood sugar levels.

It’s the non-scale victories that have made the biggest difference, though: I can fit in the seat of any car, bus, train or plane; I don’t have to worry about breaking benches or garden furniture; I can buy clothes from high-street stores and put my own socks on easily; I can walk for miles, and run up and down the stairs… the list is endless.

I’ve got my life back and I couldn’t be happier. My world isn’t shrinking any more – it’s getting bigger by the day

Watch Dave's story here

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.