Ronan's weight loss triumph!
Before he joined Slimming World, Ronan Heeney from Dublin knew his size was holding him back. Now he's 10½ stones* lighter, food-smart, fit and fearless!
For years, I'd been aware my life was being affected by my weight. Even so, it took a long time for me to realise that I could change. Here's my diary of how I found Slimming World, was inspired to make changes, and became the person I want to be.
I've always been self-conscious about my weight – particularly as I'm tall, too. Despite my size I love sport and I used to be pretty active at primary school, playing badminton and hockey. Now I've hit my teens, however, my sporting prowess is fading.
I'm in my 20s and honestly have no idea how much I weigh, because I refuse to go anywhere near the scales. I do know my weight fluctuates quite a bit. Sometimes my clothes are very snug, sometimes they're a little looser. Still, I try not to let it worry me. After all, I have a good career and a great social life, going out to the pub with my mates.
My girlfriend Danielle and I go travelling around southeast Asia and Australia for a year. I tell myself that I'm having the time of my life, although if I'm honest, my size is always at the back of my mind and it stops me from trying new things. Every once in a while I get a stark reminder – like the time I thought that my chair might collapse beneath me in a crowded restaurant in Thailand. Awful!
A brighter Slimming World future...
Danielle's been going to her local Slimming World group for a few weeks now. She's already lost a fair bit of weight herself, and the meals she's been cooking are delicious and really filling. When I insist I'm too shy and don't fancy being the only man there, she tells me that everyone is very friendly and there are several men in the group. Nonetheless, I feel so vulnerable and am consumed with fear about stepping on the scales. For some reason, I'm convinced my weight is going to be announced to everyone in the room. Of course that isn't the case. The only person other than me who sees that number is Alison, the Consultant. It occurs to me that she sees number after number in group and that her focus will be on me as a person, not on the number on the scales.
It's working! Last month I lost a stone and overcame another huge fear by joining a gym. My younger brother came to the gym this month and he persuaded me to increase the speed on the treadmill. My new routine now involves switching between walking and running to cover 5km. I go four or five times a week. I've also put new tyres on my bike and started cycling to work.
I've realised I'm rarely hungry nowadays. Food Optimising works so well for me. I've been cooking for my parents and brothers, and they all love the meals – although nobody can believe we can still eat so much. Slimming World re-educates you about food. It's about making smart changes, not doing without. I've been keeping a Food Diary to stay on track and I now plan meals in advance.
I swam for the first time in about 20 years while I was on holiday in Bulgaria last month. Loved it! There's a pool at my gym, so I've finally taken the plunge and begun swimming regularly. I'd been too self-conscious to go before – now I've lost so much weight, my confidence is growing. I've been going hill-walking with my brother, and Danielle and I have been hiking together a few times, too. We both have loads more energy – instead of lazing around in bed on weekend mornings, we can't wait to get up and get outdoors. It's exhilarating, and I'm realising what I've been missing for so long.
Unbelievable! I can run 5km non-stop on the treadmill. Running used to be something other people could do. I never imagined I could be that man. Danielle says she feels like she's got a new man in her life!
Another man has just joined our Slimming World group and he says my results have inspired him to stick at it. He's already doing really well. I've always looked forward to seeing everyone at group each week and it's amazing to find out that I've been inspiring other people to come along.
I love Christmas. And this year, it's been about seeing everyone first and foremost, rather than going out and downing loads of beers. Yes, there have been a few light-hearted jibes from the lads about my sticking to light beers and – whisper it! – Martinis instead of pint after pint of stout. Christmas dinner didn't pose a problem at all. It's been easy to stick to lean cuts of meat and lots of vegetables. Admittedly, I've put on 3lbs over the festive season. The difference is that I know it will soon come off again in the New Year and I'm in control.
I can now add ‘mountain climber’ to my list of fitness achievements. My brother and I made it to the top of Great Sugar Loaf in Wicklow. Now we're looking for an even higher mountain to climb...
I've done it! I've reached my target and I'm now a healthy weight for the first time in my life. It's an amazing feeling of achievement. I've learnt such a lot about healthy eating, fitness and self-belief. My only regret is that I left it so long before tackling my weight. I wish I'd joined Slimming World years ago. I wasted so much time being hampered by body issues, when all along it would have been possible to change. I'm really grateful to Danielle for persuading me to make the effort to lose weight. The whole experience has brought us closer as a couple and I now feel happier and healthier than I've ever been. I'm determined not to waste a minute.
*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.