Tony says:

As the decorations went up in December 2017, I popped the big question: ‘What would you like for Christmas?’ I expected to hear the usual perfume or jewellery, so my wife’s request for a Slimming World Countdown really knocked me sideways. I knew that Katie was worried about her weight, but I’d never expected her to commit to going to a Slimming World group as her confidence was just so low.  

Katie explained that she wanted to be a healthy grandparent one day (we have four fantastic teenagers – Rhiannon, 18, Ellie, 16, Ben, 14, and Lottie, 12 – so the chances are quite high!). This was exactly what I wanted, too, so we decided to set off on a journey with Slimming World together.

We made a life-changing New Year’s resolution. From
9 January 2018, we’d both give Slimming World 100% commitment.

Starting the Slimming World Countdown together

Growing up in a family of fish and chip shop owners, keeping my weight under control was tricky. At my heaviest I weighed more than 18st; very heavy for my 5ft 7in frame. I’d convinced myself that I was happy as I was – the typical jolly, big guy – but there was a lot of insecurity and anxiety underneath that bravado.

I’d tried calorie counting in the past, but the results never lasted. The only way to keep the weight off is to make healthy changes for life, and Slimming World’s simple Food Optimising plan made it really easy to do that.

The saying, ‘If you kinda do it, it kinda works. If you really do it, it really works,’ totally sums up Slimming World for me.

As a large, busy household, it’s important that we can eat together. One of the great things about Slimming World is that I can cook one meal for everyone, so we’re all eating healthily – and enjoying it! We eat generous portions of traditional family favourites like spaghetti bolognese, chilli, curries and roast dinners. Peri peri chicken, pulled pork and fajitas also pop up on the menu. Once you’ve got to grips with Food Optimising, it’s easy to adapt any recipe – it’s impossible to get bored with Slimming World.

Breakfast during the week is often overnight oats with fresh fruit, and on weekends we wake up to a full English breakfast cooked the Slimming World way. Weekday lunch is usually a big salad with lean meat or leftovers. Packing a healthy breakfast and lunch, with a few satsumas or a chopped fruit pot to snack on, makes it easier to stay in control all day at work.

The strongest support system

Being totally honest, there have been times when we’ve been disappointed with the result on the scale, but we’ve never allowed each other to throw the towel in. We’ve supported each other through the tough times and always bounced back. Committing to group with a Slimming World Countdown meant that we had that amazing support system of our Consultant, Mandy, and the other inspirational members in place from day one.

I was over the moon to hit my target weight within seven months – having lost over 5st to take me from 16st 7Ibs to 11st 4½Ibs. I still go to group every week as a target member because I enjoy it and I want to support Katie, who is now close to target.

Now I feel genuinely more confident and outgoing – I don’t need to hide behind an act any more.

By getting healthier and fitter, we’ve given ourselves the best chance of living long and active lives. We’re now looking forward to an exciting retirement full of travel, lots of walking and, hopefully, lots of grandchildren. My only worry is what I can get Katie this Christmas that could possibly top last year’s life-changing gift!

Katie says:

Tony and I have been together for 23 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him more surprised than when I asked for a Slimming World Countdown for Christmas. I’d been struggling with my weight for years – I remember taking our young children on plane journeys and sitting them on my knee to hide the fact that my seatbelt wouldn’t fasten. Our kids had long since grown too big to sit on my knee and I was starting to think about grandchildren. I wanted to enjoy being an active, happy grandparent, and I felt that wasn’t going to happen unless I made some changes.

It was my turn to be surprised when Tony said that he wanted to join Slimming World with me. And so we set off on our weight loss journey together. Being there to encourage each other has brought us much closer as a couple.

We’ve been each other’s strongest supporters and we spend much more time together now.

As well as going to group together every week, Tony and I love getting active to achieve our Body Magic awards. We’re also a lot more active as a family, as the kids come with us on our dog walks now. We recently went to Cornwall for a week and walked 10 miles of the South West Coast Path every day – so even the dogs are loving Slimming World!

From self-conscious to self-confident

Before we lost weight, we were very self-conscious as a couple and avoided meeting new people. I really lacked confidence and hid behind loose, flowing clothes. Social situations like going out for meals or to the cinema had become something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Now we’ve gone from avoiding being around other people to really relishing our support system of new friends, and group is a fun social experience for us too. The subtle support from family and friends is also important – offering unhealthy food can really sabotage a slimmer’s efforts. Luckily, the people around us have all been brilliant.

I feel like we were both very down before joining Slimming World. Now we’re loving life!

Losing weight has made my job as a teaching assistant so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Before, I couldn’t sit on the floor with the children – even the low chairs were impossible to get up from. I used to spend break times standing by the door and observing, but now I’m running around and playing with the class. It’s a little glimpse into the future and the type of grandparent that I hope to be.

I’ve now lost 9st to take my weight down to 12st 2Ibs – and my dress size has dropped from a size 24 to a size 10. I only have 9Ibs to go to reach my target weight and I feel fully focused on my goal. I can’t wait to join Tony as a Slimming World target member.

Tony and Katie’s life in lockdown

From batch cooking and bike rides to attending their temporary virtual group, our Couple of the Year 2019 made a video diary of their time in lockdown. Katie and Tony also talk about how they got involved in the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine trials – something they wouldn’t have been able to volunteer for before they lost weight with Slimming World, as their BMIs would have been too high for them to be accepted.

What is a Slimming World Countdown?

There are two money-saving Slimming World Countdown courses to choose between. A six-week Slimming World Countdown (six weeks for the price of five) and a 12-week Slimming World Countdown (12 weeks for the price of 10). Each Countdown offers the opportunity to commit to six or 12 weeks at your local Slimming World group, while making great savings.

Those members who’d prefer the convenience of our 24/7 digital-only service can choose between three money-saving packages for the Slimming World Online website and app.

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