I’d struggled with my weight since childhood and was the largest kid in my class. I loved going out on my bike as a teenager, but eventually I just became too big to ride any more.

As my weight increased, so did my list of aches and pains. I had back and joint issues, and even walking up stairs was a massive effort. My weight affected every aspect of my life – so much so that I hadn’t been to the doctor in years because I was scared of what they’d say.

I felt too self-conscious to work alongside other people, so I set up my own camping and caravan shop. At work, I’d sit all day snacking on chocolate and crisps, then, once I got home, I’d watch TV with a takeaway, followed by ice cream and biscuits. Suddenly, the scales were at 33st and I just couldn’t see a way out.

My mum, Karen, became really concerned about my health. She’d lost 5st 12½lbs at her local Slimming World group. Finally, I decided to go along with her, despite feeling worried I’d be the biggest person there, as well as the only man in the group. It turned out, though, that plucking up the courage to join was the best decision I’d ever made.

I got a warm welcome at group and was made to feel completely at ease. And I wasn’t the only man in the room, either – plenty of men go to Slimming World!

I’d thought I’d have to restrict myself and go hungry to lose weight successfully. And to be honest, I’d never even really tried to slim down before, because I think I’d just accepted that I’d be big forever.

Joining group helped me discover a new love for cooking and I started making hearty meals like a full English breakfast, steak and chips and curry. I loved searching online for new dishes to try.

A year into my journey, I treated myself to a new bike – and I haven’t looked back since! At more than 33st, getting on a bike again was just a dream – yet these days I’m doing 20-mile cycle rides for fun. Life is totally different now; I have so much more energy to do the things I enjoy.

I’ve gone from just existing to actually living and loving my life – and that’s an incredible feeling.

After I reached my target weight, I decided I’d like to help others change their lives, too, and opened my own Slimming World group. At just 29 years old, my health was in a terrible state – now, at 31, I’m fit and active, and have a new job that I love.

 

Before:

Breakfast: Two bowls of cereal followed by buttered toast.

Lunch: Sandwiches, crisps, cake, chocolate, and a pasty or sausage roll.

Dinner: A takeaway, such as curry, Chinese or pizza.

Daytime/evening snacks: Chocolate, ice cream and biscuits.

 

After:

Breakfast: A full English of grilled bacon, low-fat sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms with eggs cooked in low-calorie cooking spray.

Lunch: Home-made pasta salad, or reheated home-made chilli con carne or curry.

Dinner: Something from a Slimming World recipe book, such as chicken or bacon risotto served with lots of vegetables.

Snacks: Fresh fruit.

 

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.