Life was very difficult before I joined Slimming World. Being so overweight meant I was in near constant pain with my back and joints – and the drugs prescribed by my doctor barely took the edge off, so I depended on extra-strong painkillers that I bought online. I was regularly abused by strangers in the street, and I’d broken chairs, beds and sofas because of my size.
I was quite sporty as a child, and my weight didn’t start creeping up until I left home and was making my own choices around food. Takeaways and convenience food became the norm, as did nightly cans of cider.
I knew I had a problem and that I wasn’t physically able to be the dad I wanted to be, but nothing I tried seemed to work. The big turning point for me was my father-in-law’s funeral, when my mother-in-law told me that his dying wish was for me to join Slimming World. He’d been a member of the local Baptist church and had seen the posters for a Slimming World group held there. I knew he wanted the best for my wife, Susie, and our two children, Heidi, seven, and Freddie, four, so I decided to tackle my weight once and for all.
At first, I didn’t have the confidence to join a face-to-face group, so I signed up to the digital service, Slimming World Online. I loved the flexibility of Food Optimising and how much I could eat. I’d tried every diet you could think of, but I would inevitably end up hungry and reaching for the nearest quick fix – usually crisps, chocolate or a takeaway. I found it amazing that I could have a full English breakfast and a roast dinner on the Slimming World plan and still lose weight!
I was doing really well following the plan online — then lockdown happened and I found myself slipping back into old habits. So when my local Slimming World group reopened in October 2021, I decided to give it a go.
I’ll admit that I was nervous on that first day. I had a perception that the group would be really cliquey and full of women – and I worried I’d be made to feel even more ashamed about my weight than I was already. It was nothing like that at all, though; in fact, it was so much better than I imagined. I wasn’t the only guy there and everyone I met was so warm and supportive. Plus, of course, we all had the same thing in common – we wanted to lose weight!
After a few months, I was slimmer and my energy levels were much higher. I learnt about Slimming World’s Body Magic physical activity programme in group and it made me think about how I could get back to the more active lifestyle I’d enjoyed when I was younger. That spurred me on to rejoin a cricket team – it’s a fun way to get fitter and I really enjoy the social side, too.
By following the Body Magic programme, I built up how much activity I was doing at my own pace, and in time I got rid of our second car because I found it simpler to walk or cycle to wherever I needed to be. It’s crazy to think I once avoided driving because my stomach got in the way of the steering wheel, and now I avoid it because I’d rather be on my bike!
Since joining Slimming World, I’ve lost 14st 7lbs – and at 12st 8lbs, I’m less than half of what I weighed at my heaviest! By far the best thing about losing weight is the way it’s improved my family life. I can be active and have fun with the kids, taking them swimming and for bike rides. Heidi and I went to a Parkrun together recently, and she absolutely loved it. There’s no way I could have done something like that with her before I lost weight; I barely had the energy to play at all.
I hope her grandfather would be proud of how far we’ve come as a family. We’re all fit, happy and healthy, and I think that’s the life he wanted for us.
Slimming World is for men!
Just like Dave used to, some guys still think Slimming World isn’t a man’s world. However, research shows that men actually lose more weight than women when they join and dramatically improve their physical and mental health, boost their energy levels, get fitter – and even have more sex! There are now 40,000 men attending Slimming World groups every week and 92% would recommend it to a friend or colleague.
Meet more of our amazing Slimming World men:
I love that I never have to miss out on the fun with Slimming World
Dave’s day on a plate
A double sausage and egg muffin, deep-fried hash brown and a whole-milk latte.
A home-cooked full English with grilled lean bacon (visible fat removed), Slimming World Pork Sausages and mushrooms, tomatoes and eggs fried in low-calorie cooking spray.
Two 12in sausage baguettes, a grab bag of crisps and chocolate.
A big lunch bowl packed with couscous, onion, pepper, sweetcorn, beetroot and cooked lean beef or skinless chicken.
Pizza, oven chips and chicken nuggets.
A Food Optimising meal like chilli con carne with rice.
Cans of sugary fizzy pop, cider and a Cornish pasty or a microwave burger.
Slimming World Hi-fi bar and a packet of reduced-fat crisps.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.