It’s a fine life for Oliver after awesome weight loss!
24-year-old Oliver Bales, from Portsmouth, became extremely depressed as a result of his size, which at his heaviest saw him reach nearly 39st. As well as attracting attention from cruel bullies, he was unable to stand for long periods without being in pain, had sky-high blood pressure, and couldn’t fit into seats on public transport and in lecture theatres at university.
Now, after being inspired by a friend’s weight loss on social media, Oliver has lost an amazing 25st ½lb* and dropped a whopping 30 inches from his waist. His remarkable transformation has seen him named as Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2016.
“While I have some amazing memories from my childhood, I sometimes look back and wish I could have the chance to re-do it. I used to feel like people were always comparing me to other children my age, and feeling like ‘the fat, ugly one’ made me angry and upset. As time went on, I got bigger and that’s when the bullying started.
“I didn’t get the experience of university life I’d hoped. I was too big to take part in activities, and I couldn’t fit in the seats in some lecture halls. I’d assumed university would be a mature environment and I’d be safe from bullies, but things were worse than in my hometown.
“At my heaviest I weighed 38st 13½lbs and would spend most days lying in bed, eating and watching TV. I suffered many embarrassing situations, including cracking the family bath when I stood in it to shower.
“It was in April 2014, when I saw photos a friend was posting on her social media profiles as she lost weight with Slimming World, that I decided to follow her lead and joined my local group.
I was completely shocked that cooking something the Slimming World way could taste so delicious – better than before, in fact – and coming from an Asian background, I am a complete lover of rice so I was over the moon to know I could eat rice and still lose weight. I can honestly say I have never felt hungry.
“It makes me laugh when I used to go until lunchtime before eating. Now I have bran flakes with fat-free yogurt and chopped strawberries or an omelette for breakfast. Lunch is usually a chicken and pasta salad or ham and cream cheese sandwich with salad, and in the evening I'll have homemade butternut squash risotto or Slimming World Chicken and Chorizo-style Sausage Paella (available from Iceland) when short on time. And these days, I snack on fruit (and actually enjot it!) or low-fat hot chocolate and fun-size Mars and Twix bars.
“My Slimming World Consultant Colette is so passionate about the plan that I knew, right from the first week, that it could work for me. Seeing her every week with a smile on her face and knowing she and the other members in my group are always there for support when I need it has helped me to get to where I am today – and I know they’ll help me to stay at my target weight, too.
As the weight began to come off, I found the confidence to become more active too. Now I love going to the gym, taking part in fitness classes, swimming and running. My ambitions now include running a marathon, doing a triathlon and learning to scuba dive.
“Since starting my journey I’ve gone from wearing a 6XL and having a 64in waist to a M and a 34in waist. And as well as a new wardrobe, I've had to splash out on all new shoes because I've dropped two shoe sizes.
“Everyone tells me I look amazing, which is a great feeling. As I’ve shrunk my confidence levels have soared and I’m so much happier and much more ambitious. In fact, I've just got a new job as an on-board host for Rail Gourmet/South West Trains.
“Being overweight has affected by entire life – until now. I finally know what it’s like not to feel like an outcast, to be able to walk down the street without people laughing, pointing or calling you names, to not take up two seats on a train, to not be in constant pain….Thanks to Slimming World I feel normal for the first time in my life and my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner. I hope my story will inspire other people to know that it’s never too late to get support and even if they don’t know it, there is help just around the corner – my advice to anyone wanting to make a change is ‘close your eyes and jump.”
*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.