Leaning into a hairpin bend, I clicked down a gear on my Suzuki Bandit 1250 and twisted the accelerator as the peaks of the Austrian Alps opened up before me. I’d just ridden through the breathtaking Silvretta pass, enjoying the speed and responsiveness of my bike as I blasted up the steep inclines.
The exhilaration I felt was a huge contrast to my last trip to the Alps in 2015. At over 27st, every long ride in my too-tight leathers seemed like an endurance test, and I felt exhausted when I hung up my helmet at the end of every day.
Like that life-changing ride through towering mountains, reaching my heaviest weight hadn’t been a straight road. I’d attempted to lose weight a few times, managing to shed a few stones by cutting out my favourite foods. The trouble was, as soon as I ditched the deprivation diet and went back into my regular takeaway habit, those stones quickly reappeared.
Aside from the fact that my weight was dampening my enthusiasm for biking, it was also becoming a big worry for both me and my family. My doctor had put me on blood pressure medication, but my readings were still on the rise. It was during one of my checks that the nurse suggested I’d benefit from losing weight and offered to refer me for a 12-week free membership to Slimming World.
I had nothing to lose – apart from those pesky on/off stones – but I was still nervous that I’d be the only man in my local group. The first surprise was that, actually, there were a few blokes there – but it wouldn’t have mattered if there hadn’t been, as everyone was so friendly.
The second surprise was just how much I enjoyed my new Slimming World way of eating. There was definitely no deprivation as I tucked into filling recipes like pulled pork or steak with Slimming World chips. Even my favourite full English breakfast could still be on the menu, and I’d regularly tuck into a Slimming World breakfast of bacon, sausage, egg and beans – you can’t beat a good brekkie!
The third surprise was that, despite eating so well, I lost 8lbs in my first week. And as the number on the scale lowered, so did my blood pressure. I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling as exhausted after a long ride, and it actually seemed like my bike was getting faster! I was enjoying being out on the road again.
When I hit my target of 14st 13lbs – having lost over 12st – I decided to celebrate in style. I treated myself to a new set of (much!) smaller bike leathers and booked a spur-of-the-moment trip back to the Alps. This time, I had energy to spare after each adrenalin-charged day on the road, so I could enjoy taking in the local sights on foot, too.
As well as taking my beloved bike out more, I’ve got so many things to look forward to now I’m in the swing of my healthier lifestyle. And I’ve even found the courage to take on a challenge that used to scare me far more than hairpin, mountainside bends – I’ve started dating! There’s a whole world of exciting opportunities to explore and I can’t wait to get out there – hopefully bringing a special someone along for the ride.
One of the biggest surprises of Paul’s journey was the Slimming World breakfast that’s just like a full English fry-up! Whether you love to sit down to the works or want an easy brekkie to eat on the go, these Slimming World breakfast ideas are guaranteed to set you up for a really good day.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.