As our research reveals how losing weight can help you sleep better, we couldn’t miss the chance to share this inspiring slimming story. Tired of not getting a good night’s sleep because of his weight, Ryan knew he had to make a change. Here’s how he lost 15st with Slimming World, re-energised his career and turned his dream of a healthier lifestyle into a reality…
Struggling to sleep
Stifling a yawn, I hauled myself out of the van. I’d only just started work for the day and I was already exhausted. By lunchtime, I’d be back in the van for a quick nap, completely wiped out by a morning of heavy lifting and climbing up and down ladders in my job as a bricklayer. Then, I’d nod off again as my dad, who I worked with, drove us home.
It had been five years since I’d had a good night’s sleep. I’d have to get up every hour needing the loo. More worryingly, some nights I’d wake up gasping for air because I’d stopped breathing in my sleep. Even when I did manage to nod off, my snoring was so loud that it kept everyone else in the house awake. Although I was worried, I resisted talking to my GP about it – I knew they’d put my health problems down to my weight.
Doubling up at the drive-through
Over the years, I’d been steadily getting bigger and bigger. I didn’t know how to cook, so I snacked on crisps and sweets throughout the day and relied on takeaways for my lunch and dinner. Once, I drove to a fried-chicken restaurant, and the queue was so long that I went to a burger drive-through first to get something to eat while I waited.
The bigger I got, the more my health deteriorated. As well as the lack of sleep, I had terrible indigestion and my legs would swell with water retention. But it wasn’t until I started getting shooting pains in my chest on a regular basis that I realised I needed to do something about my weight. A family member had recently joined Slimming World and seemed to be losing weight well, so I thought it was worth a go.
A wake-up call
Although I was nervous about going to my local group, as soon as I got inside, I realised there was nothing to worry about. I was surprised to see a couple of other guys already there, but even if they hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have mattered, because everyone was really friendly. As I listened to the other members sharing recipe ideas and talking about the challenges they’d faced that week, I realised that we were all in the same boat.
When I stepped on the scales for the first time and saw I weighed 34st, I was stunned. I hadn’t weighed myself in years, but I would’ve guessed I was 10st lighter than that. At first, I beat myself up for letting things get that far, but I quickly realised I had to put the past behind me and move forward. I knew I never wanted to see that number again, and I was more determined than ever to make sure I didn’t.
Although I’d never been much of a chef, I found it easier to cook meals from scratch than I expected. I ditched takeaways at work and started taking my own Slimming World red pepper soup for my lunch. My dinners got more exciting, too. I found I could make my own burgers using lean beef mince, and the healthy breakfast tray bake quickly became one of my favourite meals.
A huge week-one loss!
Within a week, I’d lost 1st 2½lbs and I was already sleeping better. As the weight continued to come off, I found I could scale the ladders at work without any problems and I never had to sneak off to the van for a rest. I felt more confident meeting clients, too. I’d often talk to them about my weight loss and one customer even joined Slimming World himself after he saw how it had helped me.
I’m a competitive person, and I was always spurred on by seeing the success of other members in group. If someone got their next half-stone award, it made me more determined to get mine, too, and my Consultant, Tracey, and the other members were always willing me on to get there. Even during lockdown, when Tracey started running her group virtually, we all joined the Zoom sessions every week to see how everyone was getting on and offering to help in any way we could. I can’t wait to see them again in person, when restrictions ease.
Now, I’ve lost over 15st and every part of my life has changed. Before I lost weight, I found it hard to find clothes to fit me in an XXXXL and when my legs started to retain water, I had to buy stretchy jeans. Now I’m an XL and I absolutely love buying clothes – even though my choice is currently limited to whatever’s in the supermarkets due to lockdown! After the pandemic, I’d love to get into boxing – I’d never have had the confidence or the fitness to try it before. I don’t know who I’ve turned into!
If Ryan’s story has inspired you to start your weight loss journey, we can help. When you join Slimming World, you’ll be welcomed with lots of support, absolutely no judgement and over 1,500 slimming-friendly recipes on our members-only website and app.
And if you’re currently on your weight loss journey or have already achieved your slimming dreams with Slimming World, we’d love to hear your story.