Cool brand Luke
Stylist Luke Child has made a career from getting other people camera-ready – all the while feeling conscious of his size. Now he’s nearly 8st* slimmer, and ready to take his own place in front of the lens.
Focus on… my health
"My mum told me about Slimming World. She’d dropped two dress sizes in just a few months and whenever I went to visit, she’d cook these amazing meals. Mum encouraged me to join my local group – I was very overweight and she was concerned about the health implications, particularly as Type 2 diabetes runs in our family. But did I take her advice? No. I was fighting a battle with depression at the time and just couldn’t muster up the energy to tackle anything else.
"As a child, I was fairly slim until the age of about nine – when I began to gain weight mainly through comfort eating and being completely inactive. Then, in my third year at university, I suffered my first serious bout of depression, and that’s when my weight spiralled out of control.
"Throughout my twenties, I got bigger and bigger. Despite forging a career I love, I had no confidence in myself or my abilities, and even less energy. Then, at the start of 2014, my relationship broke up and I felt I was sinking back into depression. That’s when I decided to lose weight. At first, I thought I could do it just by following Mum’s Slimming World tips and recipes – and it worked, to an extent. After a few weeks, though, I realised I needed something more. My physiotherapist, who I’d been seeing for the knee problems I’d had for years, told me how people who join a group have more success than those who go it alone. And when my GP also recommended group support, I decided to join Slimming World properly.
"When I first went along to group, I made sure I got there early so I didn’t have to walk into a room full of strangers. I met Viv, my Consultant, and helped her set up the room. She seemed lovely, though I was still utterly terrified of stepping on the scales. When Viv told me the numbers, I have to admit, I was in shock. Then she pointed out I was there to do something about it. I’d never have to be that weight again. It made me determined to succeed – and because it had worked for Mum, I figured there was no reason it wouldn’t for me.
Focus on… my fitness
"It turned out everyone had been right: once I’d joined group, I lost weight fast. I’d known for a while that regular activity can be hugely beneficial if you’re prone to depression, but I’d never had the energy or self-belief to try any kind of workout. I must have looked such a sight when I came back from my first run. I had tears of happiness streaming down my face and the biggest grin from ear to ear!
I’d heard about the NHS Couch to 5K plan, so I looked it up online and began following it. My fitness rapidly improved and I felt far more energetic throughout the day, too.
"Although my weight loss slowed a little after those first few weeks, the numbers on the scales continued to go down – even after disaster struck. I suffered a serious knee injury, which meant hobbling around on crutches for a month or so. I came home from hospital with loads of chocolates and biscuits, and phoned Viv to tell her I wouldn’t be able to get to group for a while. I felt completely deflated. Viv encouraged me to carry on Food Optimising while I was recovering, so I stuck to the eating plan and continued to do whatever activity I could manage. When I went back to group, I’d lost 12lbs.
"I was really missing the exercise kick, though, so I went to see my doctor, who suggested I do a low-impact workout in the gym. I use the cross-trainer and rower, plus some weights. I could only manage a few minutes at first, then I gradually improved and now I’ve got real stamina and endurance. My knees are loads better, too, and I love to go for long walks around London and the surrounding countryside. I honestly can’t imagine my life without exercise.
Focus on… my style
"When I started losing weight it felt like a whole new fashion adventure was unfolding. My body shape transformed from one month to the next, so I kept adapting and experimenting with different clothes and styles.
Now that I’m slim, it’s like I’ve got access to a never-ending wardrobe, and I can finally immerse myself fully in my working world.
"I think it’s safe to say my style has changed dramatically. I’ve spent an absolute fortune on clothes. It’s brilliant! Recently I stood in for a model on a photoshoot, which was a very proud moment. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I think that shows now, whether I’m getting other people camera-ready or I’m in front of it myself.
Focus on… my family and friends
"My mates have all been impressed and inspired by my weight loss – and nobody’s ever been anything other than supportive. One of my oldest friends actually walked past me in the street because he didn’t recognise me. I know I can use my Syns to enjoy socialising at the weekend – I can still have a ‘naughty night’ as long as it doesn’t turn into a ‘naughty week’!
Mum’s been my biggest inspiration – and she’s supported me every step of the way. She gets quite emotional about the difference she can see in me and it’s fantastic to have made her so proud.
I’ve also had massive support from Viv and everyone else at group. In a way, you become a family as much as a support network – spurring each other on and helping one another through the tough weeks. That’s been a massive factor in my success – if I hadn’t joined group, I don’t think I would have stuck at it. It’s been the most positive thing I’ve ever done.
"I’ve been at target for nearly a year and I’m already forgetting what it felt like to be overweight. Every now and then, though, I’ll stumble across an old photograph of myself when I was at my largest – and for a second or two, it takes me right back. That’s when I stop and remind myself just how much has changed since then. It’s only after slimming down that I’ve realised how much my size was affecting my life – I was avoiding certain people and situations without realising it. For example, I’d never been to a theme park because I convinced myself I hated them – turns out, I actually love them! I’ve discovered so many new and surprising things about the real me and I’m excited to see what happens next. I feel like I’ve been handed the keys to a whole new world."
*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.