For as long as I could remember, my weight had yo-yoed, and from the age of 19 it piled on very quickly. I lived on takeaways and would often have four large meals a day.
Working as a hair stylist was a nightmare when I was at my heaviest. Spending 12 hours a day on my feet was exhausting – every night I’d get home and collapse straight into bed. It was difficult to help other people look their best when I felt unhappy about my own appearance.
I also had the health issues you’d expect to find in an elderly man and, with type 2 diabetes running in both sides of my family, I knew I was at a high risk of developing it, too.
I used food as a comfort and a distraction as I started to question my sexuality. Deep down I knew I was gay, but I didn’t have the self-confidence to do anything about it.
Things came to a head after a family holiday to Gran Canaria. I couldn’t fit into my seat on the plane and I struggled with the hot temperatures because I was too embarrassed to remove my T-shirt.
After the holiday I confided in my sister, Gemma. ‘I have to do something about my weight,’ I told her. ‘I feel like if I don’t do something now, I might be missing my last chance.’ That’s when I made the decision to join Slimming World.
Straight away I got stuck into cooking delicious Slimming World recipes, such as spaghetti bolognese. I never once felt hungry… so I was amazed when I lost 19lbs in my first week!
As my cooking confidence grew, I no longer relied on takeaways. If I did have a busy week ahead, I’d stock up on the Slimming World meals, which saved me time.
And the weight just kept coming off. Customers in the salon started to notice my weight loss, which did the world of good for my self-esteem. I also had the confidence to start exercising. I took it slowly at first, building up to regular 5K runs and going to the gym four or five times a week.
With my growing self-esteem, I started to socialise more and mix with new friends who encouraged me to accept who I was. In fact, I signed up to a social media network to find myself a partner.
I met Gary online and we arranged to go on a date. I was pretty nervous, even though I was no longer the insecure man I’d once been. Gary helped me realise who I really am and we’ve been together ever since.
Now I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve even become a Slimming World Consultant myself and run my own group in Swansea.
I’m still shocked when I see my own reflection. I’m unrecognisable from the person I was when I started my journey – and not just in the way I look, but on the inside as well.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.