Scrolling through Instagram, it was impossible not to compare myself to my two older brothers, Jordan and Josh. I was used to people telling me how good looking my brothers were – which, as the youngest but biggest of three boys, was not something that I loved to hear. I was sick of feeling like the odd one out, and photos on social media made it harder to ignore.

Our mum, Julie, had lost weight with Slimming World, but, as a 21-year-old lad, I wasn’t sure whether it would work for me. Mum was encouraging, though, and when she offered to help me with the cooking, I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a go.

I’d always been overweight and health complications had made it more difficult to control. I was born with one leg longer than the other and, over the years, doctors had made many failed attempts to correct it. Thankfully, my latest operation, in 2016, was a success. But three months in bed followed by three months on crutches took their toll on my weight. After more than a year of recovery, it was time to take action.

Switching unhealthy snacks for Slimming World snacks

I was nervous when I first walked into group in January 2018. Being young and male, I wasn’t sure if I’d fit in with the typical Slimming World member. However, I soon realised that there is no typical Slimming World member! My Consultant, Andy, and the other members gave me a warm welcome and were a brilliant support throughout my weight loss journey. Andy, especially, was fantastic, and seemed to know when I needed an extra boost.

Looking at my daily diet, I could see that unhealthy snacks were an issue. I’d start the day off well with porridge but by mid-morning I’d be tucking into six ginger biscuits with a cup of coffee. Lunch was often a big bowl of rice with tomato, sweet chilli sauce and loads of cheese, then dinner would be pizza, pasta or a chicken dish. Inbetween, I’d hit the biscuits again (usually chocolate digestives) with a chocolate bar to finish the day. I had tried to cut out unhealthy snacks in the past but I could never stick to it. Swapping unhealthy snacks for Slimming World snacks like Hi-fi bars felt like I was still having a treat, without completely trashing my weight loss progress.

Adding fruit and yogurt to my breakfast of porridge sets me up for the day now. Lunch is usually something like a big bowl of tasty home-made soup. Then our family dinner is a filling Slimming World dish – chicken, pizza and pasta are all still on the menu! Mum is the main chef of the house, but the recipes are so easy to follow that I chip in with the cooking from time to time. It’s been amazing to be able to support each other through our weight loss journeys – and even my dad has lost 2st, just by eating what we cook!

Triple trouble on the town!

Slimming World isn’t about just doing one thing, like swapping unhealthy snacks for Slimming World snacks. It’s all about the way Food Optimising, activity and fantastic support work together, and I’d definitely say that each element has played an important part in my weight loss success. I was exercising sporadically before, when I was able, but now I’m super motivated when it comes to Body Magic and I go to the gym four or five times a week. I’ve always played golf with my dad on Saturday mornings, and now we walk the 10km course instead of taking a buggy. One of the funniest things about losing weight is that I’ve had to alter my swing. I was so used to having to get around a large frame that I had quite a few weeks of bad play before I readjusted!

Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and the insecure guy who hated uploading photos to social media was gone. In his place was a fit young lad with tons of energy and bags of confidence. In fact, my brothers would probably say that I’ve got too much confidence now, as I’m known for getting carried away after a few drinks and taking my shirt off!

I’ve now lost 6st 3Ibs and am maintaining my target weight of 13st 8Ibs – going from an XXL clothes size to an M. Jordan and Josh are super proud of me, but they’re not so happy about the fact that I can now borrow their clothes. I love the fact that we all look so similar now, you can tell without doubt that we’re brothers. I’m definitely not the odd one out any more. And when we head out on the town together, they’re not the only ones getting the compliments – and that feels great!

Six super satisfying Slimming World snacks

If you’re a not-so-secret snacker, don’t worry, there are loads of low Syn Slimming World snacks that won’t derail your weight loss. Swap unhealthy snacks for healthier Slimming World snacks and you’ll soon see a difference on the scales.

  • Hi-fi bars: These tasty treat bars come in a range of delicious flavours – you can buy them from group or the Slimming World Online shop.

  • Slimming World pancakes: Light, fluffy and only 2½ Syns per serving.

  • Jelly: No-added-sugar jelly pots are a low Syn sweet treat. Or use a sachet of jelly crystals to make up our yummy blueberry muffin cheesecake.

  • Yogurt: Fat-free natural yogurt or fromage frais is Free (and fabulous with a sprinkling of fresh fruit!), while low-fat flavoured yogurts have a small Syn value. Our creamy cranachan makes a satisfying Scottish snack.

  • Veggie pakoras: If you fancy a savoury snack, these spicy pakoras are Syn free and just as satisfying as crisps.

  • Ham and egg muffins: A brilliant busy day breakfast or great grab-and-go snack.