Wading through icy seawater, I hitched up my tutu and powered through the waves on the New Year’s Day Barry Island fundraising run. I may have looked silly, but I felt amazing! When I’d weighed 15st 7½lbs, I’d never have been brave enough to run 5km in front of thousands of people.
I’d been a carer for a decade and by May 2016, I was in so much pain I was worried I might come to a standstill. I had spondylosis – a slipped bone in my neck which left me in chronic pain – and arthritis in my knees, wrists and ankles. As a busy dad of three, I rarely had time for breakfast and got by on a milky coffee with three sugars. I’d snack throughout the day, then graze on the kids’ leftovers and chocolate in the evening.
One thing I really enjoyed was taking part in events with my skittles team. I had T-shirts printed for all of us before a competition and was dismayed to find the biggest XL size only just fitted me. When I saw a photo of the team afterwards, I barely recognised myself. I’d seen signs for a local Slimming World group near my house and that was the moment I decided to give it a go.
I quickly got to grips with the plan, cooking for myself instead of relying on snacks to get me through the day.
I’d fill up on a mushroom omelette and baked beans for breakfast, a veg-packed pasta bake for lunch and a home-made Food Optimising curry with rice for dinner. And every night, I walked for 20 minutes on a foldaway treadmill in the lounge.
Nine weeks later, after I’d lost over 2½st, I had so much more energy and a friend suggested I sign up for a 5K charity run in three months’ time. I downloaded a couch-to-5K app and ran laps around the park after dropping my daughter off at school. Already feeling less pain in my neck and joints, I smashed that race and was soon signing myself up for another one.
These days, I take part in so many charity runs that the other members at group have nicknamed me Mr Body Magic – I’ve even run a half-marathon. Nothing beats seeing the pride in my kids’ faces as they cheer me on from the sidelines. Now that I’m fit and pain-free, no challenge seems too great, and I love seeing what my body can achieve. I feel like a new man!
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.