‘I said goodbye diabetes, hello future'
Alwyn Beckles from Nelson, Lancashire, joined Slimming World to help him improve his health. He's lost a jaw-dropping 12st 5½lbs* and shares his story here...
"Before, everything I ate was unhealthy, from sausage-roll breakfasts to evening takeaways. With type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol, I should have looked after myself better, but I pretended it was impossible because I spent so much time on the road. The truth was that at my size and with several failed diets behind me, I thought I was beyond help.
"In 2012, a friend died from a heart attack. Like me, he’d been overweight and ate a lot of fatty foods. It was the first time I’d connected my lifestyle with the possible consequences, so when in February my stepdaughter Sophie suggested I join Slimming World, I found myself saying yes. I didn’t believe it would work – especially when I heard I could eat unlimited pasta and potatoes – but a week later I weighed in 8lbs lighter.
"Changing my eating habits wasn’t exactly a hardship. My wife Mandie also wanted to lose weight and made delicious low-Syn dishes like sticky gammon and mushy pea curry. The leftovers made a much tastier lunch than pies, and for snacks I’d buy fruit from the supermarket where I was working. Don’t get me wrong – I still had weeks when I ate too many Syns. The difference was I no longer had the urge to fill up on unhealthy fried foods.
Five months later, I received my 5st award and felt confident enough to join a gym. I even agreed to go ballroom dancing with Mandie – not bad for someone who used to struggle to climb stairs!
"Slimming World is a family affair now. I’ve reached my target, Mandie’s nearly at hers, and our children are all regular guests at group. The boys are so young, they don’t remember when Mum and Dad were too overweight to play. My only regret is that I didn’t join earlier, to be an active stepdad to their brothers and sisters. Fingers crossed I’ll now be around a bit longer – my GP says I’m free of diabetes symptoms and my blood pressure and cholesterol are normal – and that might make up for it a little."
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose
You'll find more delicious recipe and menu ideas at your local group, along with all the help you need to get started and reach your target weight.