Losing weight can help you to feel healthier, fitter and more confident – and it might even give your love life a boost!
Before he joined Slimming World, our Mr Sleek 2020, Aaron Snares, had been single for five years and worried he’d never have a family of his own. Read on to find out how he fell in love with Food Optimising, and finally found that special someone…
Standing at the bar, I watched my friends enjoying themselves on the dance floor. As they confidently chatted to girls, I badly wanted to be alongside them. But, as ever, my insecurities about my size pinned me to the sidelines. It wasn’t the first time I’d ended a night out alone, watching everyone else have more fun than me. At over 30st, I just didn’t have the confidence to go up to girls like my mates did.
I can trace my lack of confidence back to my school days, when I was relentlessly teased about my size. I used to pretend to be sick and ask my mum to let me stay home from school so I could avoid hearing the hurtful comments that constantly came my way. Food became my comfort, creating a vicious cycle that saw me steadily put on more weight as I grew into adulthood.
When my older sister, Kelly, told me she was getting married, I was made up for her and her fiancé, Chris. Still, a part of me felt a bit jealous – I longed to find love and start a family of my own, but with my weight creeping up further and further, I’d started to think it would never happen for me. While my mates were going out and finding girlfriends, I convinced myself that no one would want to be with me at the size I was.
My sister was every inch the beautiful bride, and I was so happy for her and Chris. Meanwhile, I was doing my best to hide how uncomfortable I felt the whole time. Months earlier, I’d felt like I’d let them down when I pulled out of being Chris’ best man because I was too self-conscious to get up in front of all those people. Now I was glad I had. I spent the day avoiding the cameras where I could, and no one seemed to notice how miserable I was.
That is, nobody except my nan, Julie. She’d been watching from the table as I tucked in my shirt tails for the umpteenth time, and suggested we nipped outside for a bit. “You’re not happy, are you, Aaron?” she began. I shook my head as she put her hand on my arm. “Weight is a big thing, it affects your health in all sorts of ways. You don’t want to end up in my shoes, do you?” Her voice trailed off, but we both knew what she meant. Five months earlier, Nan had been diagnosed with lung cancer, so she knew better than anyone how precious the gift of health is. “I’ll do it, Nan,” I told her. “I’ll get healthy, I promise.”
That first night standing outside my Slimming World group, I remember being too scared to even walk in. I gave myself a shake and stepped inside, where I got the warmest greeting I could ever have imagined from my Consultant, Georgina. Everyone was so kind and interested in me, it was completely unlike the way I’d been treated at school, and there wasn’t a hint of judgement.
I’d always told myself that I didn’t have time to cook, but I’d promised to fully embrace the Food Optimising plan, so I decided to try making my meals from scratch. I was amazed that I could still enjoy my favourite takeaway-inspired meals by making low Syn fakeaways like katsu curry, sticky chicken, and Chinese pork and noodle stir-fry. I lost 8½lbs in my first week, and knew then that I’d grasped it!
Only a month after I joined, Nan passed away. She’d been like another parent to me and it felt like the end of my world. A couple of weeks earlier, I’d got my 1st award and she was so proud of me when I walked into the hospital clutching my certificate. Knowing how much my weight loss meant to her gave me the strength to carry on through those dark days, as I got used to a world without her.
Going to group every week boosted my confidence, so I set up an Instagram account and started posting videos about my journey. I was surprised by how much encouragement I got and I quickly made friends with other slimmers around the country. After years of feeling nervous and self-conscious around people I didn’t know, I was enjoying talking to new people and, to my surprise, I even suggested getting together for nights out.
A big surprise
Then, a few months later, something even more unexpected happened – I met someone! Lucy and I started chatting on Instagram and felt a connection straight away. She had lost 9st 9½lbs with Slimming World and understood everything I’d been through. We started going on dates to the cinema and to concerts, and our relationship quickly turned into something deeper.
One day near Christmas, I woke up to find Lucy perched on the end of our bed holding a pregnancy test. She had sneaked down to the bathroom while I was asleep to take the test, and as she handed it to me, I could see two bold lines appear. “Are you serious?” I said. A big grin spread across her face and she nodded: “I’m pregnant!” I couldn’t believe it.
Lucy and I have just moved in together and, in just six months, we’ll be welcoming our beautiful baby into the world. Losing 16st hasn’t just made me healthier, fitter and more confident – it’s giving me the family I’ve always dreamed of!
Congratulations to Aaron and Lucy on their exciting news – we can’t wait to celebrate the arrival of their bundle of joy this summer! And all of this may never have happened if Aaron hadn’t joined his local Slimming World group.
If you’d like to find out how losing weight could help transform your life, you’ll find endless support in group and on our vibrant online community. And if you’ve already made that amazing leap, we’d love for you to let us know! Share your story with us or show us your transformation on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog