“I spent £16K trying to lose weight with a quick fix. Then I changed my lifestyle, lost 8 stone and reversed my diabetes!”
Vincent Taylor, 58, from Allerton, Liverpool, has lost an incredible 8st. He paid £16,000 in weight-loss surgery before discovering Slimming World and adopting healthy lifestyle changes to keep the weight off for good.
"I have struggled with my weight since my late teens when I began to put on a lot of weight. From time to time I would lose weight, but I would always put it back on – and with interest. I found it more and more difficult to lose weight as I got older and I got bigger and bigger.
In 2009, I was working as a fire fighter for Merseyside Fire and Rescue and I found my weight affected my ability to carry out my duties. I was so embarrassed when ordering my uniform as the sizes I asked for were so large – I had a 46-inch waist and the shirts I needed had a 19.5-inch collar. So, I decided to pay for a gastric band to be fitted. Unfortunately, I lost no weight at all after the operation as the band moved in my stomach. I paid to have it corrected and the band moved again. I then paid to have the band removed and I had a gastric bypass. I did lose enough weight to complete my service as a fire fighter before I retired but two years after the operation, the weight piled back on. I was so unhappy I couldn’t see how I could lose weight when even £16,000 worth of surgery had failed.
When my doctor then called me in for my health assessment, I was shocked at the results. I knew I was overweight, but I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and prescribed a lot of tablets; metformin for the diabetes and more medication for inherited high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was broken hearted thinking that this would be my life going forward. My older brother had tragically died with his death certificate confirming obesity as a contributing factor. Before he passed away, he could barely walk and he’d been warned he may lose his sight. Later he developed gangrene in his leg and I didn’t want to be like that. Was that what I had to look forward to? I was desperate to lose weight. I had started a new role as a road safety advocate visiting schools and colleges to share road safety advice. When the occupational nurse at work said that she had lost 3 stone when she attended Slimming World, I decided to give it a try.
I’ll admit I was sceptical, but I had nothing to lose. When I joined Slimming World in February 2018, I was 21 stone. I was nervous about joining, I felt embarrassed, thinking "blokes don't do this". I couldn't have been more wrong though. My Consultant made me feel so welcome and surprise, surprise - it was great. We all had a good laugh and I wasn’t the only man there.
The best feature of Slimming World is the group session. I can’t wait until the time when we can get back to our in-person group again every Wednesday afternoon. It’s so good to hear how everyone has got on during the previous week and I’m always learning more about Food Optimising, Slimming World’s healthy eating plan. At first, I was so surprised at the variety of food I can eat and I’ve found group is the best place for expert advice around how to cook recipes and for hints and tips on where to buy certain products on offer. I know that when I Food Optimise, I lose weight. I cook with pots and pans every day now, as opposed to eating microwave meals or ready-made Chilli from a jar. Food tastes so much better now too. Chilli Con Carne is my favourite recipe.
At home, I care for my younger brother Michael (51) who has Down’s syndrome. Since I joined Slimming World and have been making healthier meals, Mike has lost over a stone and our doctor is over the moon about this. It’s just wonderful to know my younger brother has lost weight simply as a result of my cooking.
I’ve now lost 8 stone and I tell everyone how Slimming World has changed my life completely, turning it around 180 degrees! As a result of changing my way of life, not opting for a quick fix, I have chased away my medical problems and I’m not scared to visit my doctor anymore. The surgery didn’t work as all it did was temporarily stop me gaining weight, it didn’t address why I was gaining weight or help my ongoing struggle. Slimming World has given me the tools to lose weight and keep it off.
At first, I was so surprised at the variety of food I can eat and I’ve found group is the best place for expert advice around how to cook recipes and for hints and tips on where to buy certain products on offer. I know that when I Food Optimise, I lose weight.
I’m at my target weight now, I eat healthily, I exercise daily and I look forward to each day when I wake up. My diabetes is in remission and I no longer take any medication for it, my blood pressure is normal and since losing weight I’m now taking half the statins I used to for my high cholesterol. Physically and mentally I'm a new man. I am now more outgoing, confident and my level of self-esteem has shot up.
Although I still have arthritis in some of my joints, I’m so much more active than I was before. The most I used to do was walk around the supermarket leaning on my trolley. I now play football with my grandchildren (I have six grandchildren, the youngest is 5 and the oldest is 18). I walk about 7 miles every day, walking is like using a duster inside your head: it blows the cobwebs clear away! I’ve even climbed Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon.
I have been on holiday to Turkey since I lost weight and I loved it. I was confident around the pool - no more horrified stares. I now want to take more holidays and enjoy my life to the full.
Everyone focuses on the obvious massive physical change but what people can't see is the mental and emotional change losing weight has caused within me. I am so much happier and stronger as a person. I’m not self-conscious at all like I used to be. I approach life with a belief that I can do anything I set my mind to. I think of my older brother and I know that Slimming World has saved my life."
Breakfast: Two cups of coffee
Late afternoon: Two microwave meals or a large pie and pasty or a chippy tea
Evening: Family size bag of peanuts, crisps and chocolate
Breakfast: Two low-fat sausages, two bacon medallions (grilled), baked beans and scrambled eggs (cooked without butter or oil)
Lunch: Fruit and overnight oats on the go
Snack: KitKat or Maltesers
Dinner: Veggies (carrot 'n' turnip, cauliflower, cabbage) with roast chicken and Slimming World gravy