Couple flying high after losing weight
Andrew and Paula Butler, from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, were worried they’d have to abandon a trip to Dubai when they both struggled to fasten their seat belts on the plane. While on board they pledged not to take to the air again until they’d lost weight – and, true to their word, they’re 14st 9½lbs* lighter and planning an active watersports holiday for their next break.
Andrew says: “We worked really hard to save the money for the Dubai trip, but Paula told me that she’d get off the flight rather than have to ask for an extension for her seat belt – she said she just couldn’t have faced the embarrassment. We both only just managed to make our belts close but we promised ourselves we wouldn’t set foot on another plane until we’d lost weight. When we saw the photos from that holiday it made us even more determined to make a change.
“I started gaining weight when I quit smoking and Paula has been overweight since her teens. We both had health problems too. We tried diet after diet to slim down without success, including making ourselves ill by following a no-carb plan.
We heard about Slimming World from Paula’s sister Diane, who was a member and regularly served up meals that we couldn’t believe were healthy.
“Walking into the group was quite a daunting prospect, especially for me because I thought I’d be the only man. Our biggest fear was that we’d be judged by the other people in the group. Diane assured us that everyone there would be in the same boat though and she was so right. Within a few weeks we felt completely relaxed and we’ve made so many friends including our Consultant Sue – in fact, our group’s more like a family. Even now we’ve reached our target weights we’re still there every week, we wouldn’t want to miss it!
“We swapped regular takeaways for healthy home-cooked meals, which we enjoy preparing and cooking together now. We love that we never have to feel hungry – unlike other weight loss plans we’ve followed. Food Optimising’s really educated us about food too, so we think much more about the choices we’re making.
We still have a lot of the same meals, like spaghetti bolognese, but now we always buy lean minced beef and we make the sauce from scratch using passata and veg rather than a ready-made sauce in a jar.
“We’ve also become much more active. Now I walk to work in just 20 minutes (it used to make me 45!) and Paula walks our dogs twice a day. We’ve recently taken up rollerskating, too.
“I’m 6ft 4in and achieved my target weight in under a year after losing 7st 9lbs*. Meanwhile, Paula’s lost 7st ½lb* and has gone from dress size 26 to a 16.
Paula adds: “My weight isn’t the only thing that’s changed – I had my waist-length hair cropped for charity. Sadly, Diane passed away from leukemia in April 2015 after a short illness. After losing her I decided to donate my hair to the Little Princess Trust and it made three wigs for leukemia patients. Losing Diane could have thrown us off track with our weight loss, yet it made us want to finish our journey more than ever – we know she’d be so proud of what we’ve achieved.
“Doing this journey together and having each other’s support as well as that of our Slimming World group has been so important for us, and it’s been amazing to see the changes in each other as well as ourselves. Now we’re looking forward to doing so much more together. We’ve always avoided theme parks because we worried we’d be too big for the rides and we’ve always wanted to try watersports on holiday, too. Now we can do all of those things without fear – and we can’t wait to get started. Thanks to Slimming World the world is our oyster.”
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.
*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.