Losing more than 5st* in a year has given 21-year-old Harry Rudge a fresh look, a brand-new career, big ambitions and bags of confidence. Look out world, here he comes!
"Growing up I struggled with my weight. I was big pretty much the whole way through school and although I did lose a few pounds while I was studying at college, once I started work I piled on 2st very quickly. It got to the point where I hated looking at photographs of myself. That was when I realised something needed to change.
"Enter Slimming World. A friend of mine had been going to group for a few weeks and had already dropped a stone. So, after persuading my mum to come along with me for moral support, I gave it a go. Fast forward 12 months and it’s hard to keep count of the many ways that losing weight has changed my life for the better…
Seeing more of the world
"Travel has always been important to me and since I started working I’ve tried to take three or four trips abroad every year. In the past, my weight would dictate how I felt and what I did while I was away. After I’d slimmed down we went to Amsterdam and it was the first time I’d been able to explore somewhere properly on foot. We saw so much more and discovered lots of little places we wouldn’t have spotted from the top of a bus.
"I’ve always loved going on beach holidays with my friends, too – although, because I felt so selfconscious about my size. These days I’m happy wearing just a pair of trunks. When we visited Egypt last year, I went quad-biking – something I’d never have signed up for when I was heavier.
Finding my fit
"Just a couple of years ago I couldn’t walk down the road without getting out of breath. Now, I’m a regular at the gym and I’ve recently started running. Once I started exercising, I noticed my fitness levels improve pretty rapidly. Every time I went on the cross-trainer or exercise bike, I found I could go a tiny bit further or faster. Then a friend suggested I go to a Body Combat class with her. I have to admit my initial response was: ‘There’s no way I’m doing that!’. She somehow succeeded in dragging me along, though – and I actually loved it!
Without even thinking about it, I’ve started to build more ‘incidental exercise’ into my week, as well. I walk a mile to and from the station every day, for example, instead of jumping in my car or asking someone for a lift. The extra activity means I feel much healthier in general.
Looking the part
"Just before I joined Slimming World, I saw a T-shirt I really liked in Topman. When I tried it on in a size XL, though, it was too tight and I left it on the rack. A few months later, when I’d lost around 3st, I went back to the shop and bought a similar one in a medium; it fitted perfectly. It’s a great feeling to be able to go into a shop and buy clothes because I like them and they’re fashionable, not because they’re the only things that fit me.
"Since slimming down, I’ve freshened up my look and getting dressed for a night out is now something I enjoy, rather than dread. Not long after reaching my target weight, I was in a club and bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen for more than a year. I looked so different, he didn’t recognise me. He told me that if I hadn’t reintroduced myself, he’d have walked straight past me.
The whole family has been really supportive. My mum has lost 2½st and is also at target, while my dad has lost weight just by eating the same meals as us.
"If I hadn’t slimmed down, I don’t think I’d have had the confidence even to consider applying for my new job in London. I’ve just started working as a risk analyst and I’m loving every minute. I can see my career going from strength to strength. And best of all, I’m able to make positive plans for the future knowing I’m never going back to the way I was. For the first time in my life, I feel like the real ‘me’."
*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.