As I flicked through a family photo album with my mum, Lynn, I couldn’t shake a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. The photographs captured all the milestones of my life – from birthdays and holidays to my first day at school – and yet I didn’t recognise myself in any of them. It felt like I was looking at someone else.
That feeling followed me through childhood. I’d always been bigger than the other boys my age, and I knew I didn’t look like the slim, muscular men I saw on my social media feeds. Food became my comfort. Every day I’d rush home from school and hide in my bedroom, concealing packets of crisps and sweets in my pockets so my parents wouldn't see.
I felt utterly defeated by my weight and I hated the way my cravings seemed to control me. I’d tried to slim down several times, mostly following diet trends I’d seen online. I’d usually lose a few pounds, but I’d soon give up because I couldn’t stop thinking about the unhealthy food I’d been eating before.
Eventually, I went to see a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with body dysmorphic disorder – a mental health condition which causes you to spend a lot of time worrying about your appearance. It was a relief to finally understand why I felt so uncomfortable in my body. With his help, I began to challenge the negative thoughts that were making me anxious.
One of the changes I knew I wanted to make was to tackle my size once and for all. As it happened, a friend had recently lost weight with Slimming World. It sounded completely different to everything I’d tried before, so I decided to give it a go.
After years of feeling controlled by food, I was surprised by how much freedom Food Optimising gave me. I could fill up on everyday things like pasta, potatoes, lean meats and vegetables. If I wanted a bowl of ice cream or a bar of chocolate, I could count it within my Syns and still feel in control.
Find out more: How does Food Optimising work?
Fraser’s day on a plate
Bacon, fried egg, black pudding, a potato scone and a white bread roll with butter.
Two Weetabix, topped with fat-free natural yogurt, frozen raspberries and a pinch of cinnamon.
Takeaway chips with cheese and curry sauce.
A jacket potato with baked beans and salad.
Cheesy pasta bake.
Home-made jerk chicken with rice, peas and rainbow salsa.
Mango chunks and raspberries with chopped fresh mint.
Although the weight came off steadily, there were still times when I struggled and felt like I wanted to forget about slimming altogether. Talking my feelings through with my Consultant, Lisa, and the other members in IMAGE Therapy helped me unpick how my emotions were influencing my food choices. That awareness meant I could spot the times when I was likely to go off track and put plans in place to protect myself.
One of the techniques Lisa showed me was visualisation. I’d picture myself picking up my target member award in group and imagine how amazing it would feel to achieve my dream weight. Whenever I felt like throwing in the towel, it really helped me to remember why my weight loss was so important and it gave me the motivation to keep going.
More for members: How to use visualisation
As I got closer to my target, I decided to increase my activity levels and I downloaded a running app where you pretend to outrun zombies. Turning exercise into a game made it feel much more fun, and before I knew it, I’d signed up to run a marathon! Although the training was hard, it was worth it when I crossed the finish line and realised I’d achieved something I’d never imagined was possible.
It gave me the confidence to take on even more fitness challenges. I signed up for pole and aerial strap classes and I’m part of Slimming World’s London Marathon team for 2023.
Now that I’m happy with my weight, my mind is in a much better place. Rather than hiding away under black clothes, I love standing out in bright colours and I’m much more comfortable in my body.
I’ve put myself out there in other ways, too. I decided to train as a Slimming World Consultant and opened my own group when I was just 18. It’s incredibly rewarding, helping my members understand themselves better and make healthy changes. The support and training I’ve received from Slimming World has been incredible. I’d love to open more groups and, one day, become a Team Developer, so that I can support my fellow Consultants, too.
The most important thing is how much better I feel about myself, both inside and out. I can finally say that I’m proud to be me – and that feels amazing.
Could you be a Slimming World Consultant?
If you’d love to help transform lives and make weight loss dreams come true, we’re always looking for caring, committed people to run their own Slimming World groups. Find out more about this life-changing role here.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.