As I sat opposite the doctor, I’d never felt more terrified. For years I’d pushed all worries about my size to the back of my mind and there I was, aged 46, being warned I was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if I didn’t lose weight.

When I was a kid, Mum often said I was “big boned” and I’d always assumed that my size was genetic. Like Mum, I’d struggled with my weight all my life, attempting crash diet after crash diet without much success. Eventually, I stopped trying to lose weight altogether – and my health soon suffered.

I’d had epilepsy since I was a child and as my weight increased, my seizures became more frequent. Then I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea and had to attach myself to a machine at night to stop my airways getting blocked. Still, I didn’t think any weight loss plan could work for me, until my wife, Shauna, dragged me to a health clinic and I was offered Slimming World on Referral.

Walking into group for the first time, I couldn't deny I was a little nervous. Turns out, it was the best decision I’ve ever made (apart from marrying Shauna, of course!). I lost 13½lbs in my first week of Food Optimising – that was the beginning of a change of mindset for me.

Shauna and I started cooking together from scratch – we love making sweet and sour pork, spaghetti bolognese and curry.

There were times when I had a gain, and that’s when my Consultant, Debbie was at her most supportive, helping me to focus on the week ahead.

As I lost weight I started jogging. As well as giving me energy, the extra activity seemed to boost my motivation to stay on plan. Now I run regularly and go on long walks at the weekend with a group of friends.

Just 18 months after joining, I’d reached my target. Since then, I’ve only had the occasional seizure and I no longer need the sleep apnoea machine.

For the past few years, I’ve been Santa at a local garden centre. My Santa costume is a little large this year; I’ve had to fill it with two cushions to give me a belly! Losing over 10st has been the best present ever and I look forward to a healthier new year.

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