April 2009, more than 25st

Today has been one of the worst days of my life. My childhood dream of working as cabin crew for an airline has come crashing down around me.

Things started going wrong a few days ago. It was my second week of training and I was chosen to try out the jump seat where crew sit during flights. With everyone watching, I sat down, went to do up the seatbelt… and it wouldn’t fit around my middle. My face burned as I struggled with the buckle. The trainer tried to help, but I was getting more and more flustered and, eventually, we both gave up.

That afternoon they told me, kindly and gently, that I was too big to be a member of their cabin crew. They offered me the chance to reapply the following year, after losing the weight that could hamper me from performing my duties safely.

I knew in my heart they were right and thanked them for the chance to try again. Now I needed to do it – I had to lose that weight.

July 2009, around 25st

I’ve got a job working in a travel agency and I’ve opted for a strict diet of meal-replacement shakes. I’m already regretting it, though. I’m so hungry and lacking in energy.

April 2010, 22st

Losing weight has been gruelling – if I never see another diet shake again it’ll be too soon. I’m here, though, and the most important thing is I’m going to be flying!

The first thing I did at training was to make sure the jump-seat belt fitted around my waist – when it did, the relief flooded through me.

November 2013, around 23st

Life has changed so much in the three years. I’ve had such a great time and I’ve got a new boyfriend, too. I’m upping sticks to be with him in Essex – and that means a new job. I’m going to work for Virgin Holidays as a travel agent, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to transfer to Virgin Atlantic as soon as I can and get back in the air.

The only thing that hasn’t been so great lately is my weight. After coming off the shakes, I put a lot of weight back on, then crash-dieted again to get it off. I seem to swing from restricting what I eat, to eating lots of junk food. There’s just no middle way for me and I’m finding it so frustrating.

January 2015, around 22st

I’ve done it – I’ve got a job with Virgin Atlantic! I was so excited to try on their uniform, then I looked in the mirror and my face just fell. I’m wearing the biggest size they do – a 52in waistcoat – and I feel really uncomfortable.

July 2015, around 22st

I’m on holiday in Las Vegas with my friend Claire and today we took a helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon. Afterwards, Claire showed me her photos. All I could focus on was this big man in the middle of all the frames: me.

My new colleague Bonita recently told me she lost loads of weight at Slimming World and that she ate proper food, too. If I needed any motivation to do it, this is it.

August 2015, 20st 9lbs

I’d been following Food Optimising tips from Bonita for a month, but actually walking into group for the first time last week took some doing. I felt so nervous! Then I started chatting to the Consultant, Lisa, and she was so friendly my nerves soon disappeared.

I’d been hovering at around 22st for a while, so when I first stepped on the scales at group and it flashed up 21st 4lbs, it was actually a nice surprise.

After seven days, I had an even better surprise – I’d lost 9lbs!

December 2015, 17st 11lbs

I feel fantastic. I’ve taken to Food Optimising in a major way and incorporated it into everything I do. Right now, I’m sitting on my hotel balcony in Hong Kong, snacking on fruit.

With a bit of research, I’ve realised every destination has a slimming-friendly eating spot – wherever I am in the world, I can stay on plan.

December 2016, 19st

Everything seemed to go wrong this year – I broke up with my boyfriend and then our French bulldog, Heathcliff, died, which broke my heart. I just lost my mojo and stopped going to group.

It’s been tough, but 2016 is over and so is giving up on my weight loss. I’m back on it – 2017 is the year my life begins again.

July 2017, 15st 6½lbs

Things are looking up. It was April by the time I got around to rejoining Slimming World. My weight loss has been fantastic and now I’ve got a secret weapon: my new man, Rhys.

We have a ritual we call ‘Landing Day’. When I get back from a trip, Rhys cooks me a Food Optimising meal, like Chinese chicken lettuce wraps, a roast dinner or a full English.

September 2017, 14st 6½lbs

My body is changing so dramatically now and the exercise I’ve started doing is helping me to tone up. I work out two or three times a week and I’m actually enjoying it.

January 2018, 13st 10½lbs

Buttoning up my new size 40/42in grey waistcoat, I look myself up and down in the mirror. That man looking back at me, wearing 34in, slim-fit trousers, is a world away from the man who couldn’t fit into the jump seat.

I feel healthier than I’ve ever done. Having all this energy is making my stopovers more fun, too.

There was a hilarious moment at work today. A colleague I haven’t seen in ages came in and sat opposite me in the staff meeting room. I gave her a grin and said: ‘How’ve you been?’ She stared at me in bafflement, before the penny dropped and she yelled: ‘Oh my word, Liam! I didn’t recognise you.’

I’ve been walking around all day with a massive smile on my face. Sometimes, even I forget how far I’ve come, and it’s not until I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror that I remember how different life used to be. Moments like that send my spirits soaring skyward!

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