My group gave me the confidence to stay on track
Brendan, 32, works for an insurance company and lives in Fridaythorpe, East Yorkshire, with his wife Sarah and adopted daughter. He's 6ft 1in and lost 11st 3lbs* with Slimming World.
“Throughout secondary school, I’d been involved with the RAF Air Cadets. I was good at maths and IT and my ambition was to be a pilot. Unfortunately, when I went for an RAF careers interview at the age of 16, I was rejected due to my weight.
"I started work in the insurance industry instead, using my maths skills. Over the next four years, the combination of a desk job, no exercise and nights on the town saw my weight increase by more than 5st. Then, when I met Sarah in 2005, takeaways, heat-and-eat lasagnes and sharing big bags of crisps while drinking led to us gaining weight together.
"Things came to a head as I celebrated my 30th birthday with a family holiday to Minorca. I’d been really looking forward to it, but in the near 40-degree temperatures my weight just made me uncomfortable. I was horrified by the photographs too.
"I knew about Slimming World as my mum had been a member for a while when I was young. I was apprehensive about joining though. Would I be the only man? What if I didn’t like the food? Would I have to give up alcohol and crisps forever?
"I needn’t have worried. That first week Sarah and I cooked an amazing pulled pork recipe we found online and I found that you didn’t have to give up anything – not even alcohol. There was even another bloke there, which pleased me no end. A week later, I’d shed a staggering 13½lbs and Sarah lost 5½lbs.
"As I lost weight my energy levels increased so I decided to start following Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme. I started with a daily walk and then began running. After eight weeks I could run for 30 minutes without stopping. I was hooked.
"I run regularly now and this year completed the Virgin Money London Marathon, which was an incredible experience.
"I can’t believe how much my life has changed. I’m fit, healthy and really happy. We recently adopted a baby girl and it feels great to know we’ll be setting her up for a healthy future.”
*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.