I’ve always been overweight. I was bullied mercilessly as a child and my 20s were spent trying one quick-fix diet after another – none of which worked for long. As soon as I felt restricted, I went back to my old ways and would quickly regain any weight that I’d managed to lose.
In 2008, I suffered a slipped disc and had to have surgery. In the hospital discharge letter, it mentioned that they’d had difficulty turning me because of my size. I was embarrassed, but I carried on as before, living on sausage rolls, crisps, chocolate and takeaways. If anything, I was even less active, because my back pain made it very difficult to exercise.
On a more positive note, 2008 was also the year that I married Ruth, and we’d quickly settled into our new life as husband and wife. She’d struggled with her weight for a long time as well, but it would be 10 years before we decided to do something about it.
By 2018, I weighed more than 22st, and I was ready to make a change. I knew I needed help to get my weight under control, so I found my local Slimming World group and Ruth and I went along together. The welcome we received was incredible, and our group has been a huge support to us – and a vital part of our weight loss success – ever since.
Suddenly the takeaways and junk food were out, and healthy, home-made meals were in! And, rather than feeling like we were missing out, our menu was actually much more exciting, packed with tasty dishes like Mexican burrito bowls, Cuban beef picadillo and prawn jambalaya.
When you join Slimming World, you’re also encouraged to follow the Body Magic activity programme, which helps you to gradually add more movement into your daily routine. I started going for walks with Ruth, then, once I’d lost 4st and my fitness had improved a little, I decided to give running a go.
Like many new runners, I used the Couch to 5K app to get going. As my confidence grew, I progressed to running 5Ks, then 10Ks and eventually a half marathon! Ruth was a bit hesitant at first, but before long she was jogging alongside me.
Now we’ve each lost more than 9st, and we’ve been well and truly bitten by the running bug. We’re looking forward to representing Slimming World in this year’s London Marathon, to raise money for Cancer Research UK – a charity close to our hearts, as I lost both my mum and grandfather to the illness.
Running a marathon with my wife will be one of those ‘pinch me’ moments. It’s something that would literally have been impossible a few years ago, and I know we’ll both be feeling so proud of how far we’ve come.
Like Tim, I’d been overweight since childhood. I’d lose a stone here and there, then quickly put the weight back on. I weighed more than 20st when Tim mentioned joining Slimming World, so I decided to go along to support him – though deep down, I wasnʼt convinced it was something that could work for me. Thankfully, going to group that day turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made!
Together, Tim and I learned all about Food Optimising, and we both embraced a new healthy way of eating. Discovering that we didn’t have to ever feel hungry or deprived was a revelation! The next natural step was for us to increase our activity levels, and again, I wasn’t sure... My lifestyle was very sedentary – I spent my time either sitting at my desk or on the sofa – and I just didn’t feel that I had the energy or motivation to make a change.
With the support of the group and Tim, though, I started to change my mindset around exercise. Before, even walking had been a struggle, but I slowly added activity at the right pace for me, so that I wasn’t ‘running before I could walk’. In time, I was able to walk 5km and the running just took off from there...
I’ve lost 9st 11lbs now, and I’m preparing to run the London Marathon with Tim this October. It’s amazing that this is something we can do together. After spending our whole lives overweight, we’re now running towards a fantastic future!
Our unique Body Magic activity programme will give you all the tools and support you need to build up your activity levels until exercise is an enjoyable part of everyday life. This includes a FIT log to plan your activities, Body Magic awards to celebrate your achievements and expert advice to help you overcome any barriers – as well as lots of encouragement from your Slimming World group or our online Community. You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.
More for members: Hop over to our Body Magic essentials page to explore our 66 activity videos, listen to fitness-themed podcasts, find out more about the motivational FIT log or to take your first step towards a Body Magic award.
The Slimming World Marathon Team will be running the London Marathon this year to raise money for Cancer Research UK and the Irish Cancer Society. If you’d like to sponsor us, go to justgiving.com/campaign/SW-LondonMarathon2022.
Weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.
If you’re planning to start a new exercise programme, we recommend you check with your GP first – especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma. If you’re pregnant, check the suitability of the exercise with your midwife.