There are hundreds of diets out there these days and for those wanting to lose weight it can quite literally be a mine field of choices between the downright ridiculous and dangerous to the pointless and ineffective and all those in between.

In the last 12-18 months up to November 2016 I had put on some weight and was beginning to feel the effects. Sweating all the time even when doing pretty much nothing. Feeling out of breath when doing something as simple as running up the stairs or moving some barrels in my cellar. A simple task like bending down to fasten my shoe lace was actually an awkward task resulting in me sweating or having to sit up to catch my breath. I began developing symptoms of what I believed at the time was diabetes and so took myself to the doctors for tests. It was here I learned that was was 20 stone and 4lbs! That was the heaviest I had ever been. I had previously gotten up to just below 20 stone but that was whilst training hard and my body fat was measuring at only around 12%. Now I was 20 stone and I dare say my body fat would be measuring in the 20’s too.

In 12-18 months I had gone from wearing 34″ waist jeans to squeezing into 40″ waist jeans. From comfortably wearing an XL shirt to XXXL shirts to fit over my gut. The only place I could find that sold clothes that fit was Jacamo and it wasn’t cheap. Whenever I spoke about my weight to people I was told to “get your arse to the gym”. It’s true that had I joined the gym and began exercising it would have made a difference but the truth of the matter was I had zero energy or motivation to exercise because of how tired and run down I always felt and the health issues I had caused pain. The clothing situation together with the health issues made me decide to get my backside into gear.

My wife had been attending Slimming World meetings for quite some time and she won’t mind me saying that she struggled to keep to it. She would yoyo diet. Lose a pound, gain a pound, stay the same… It wasn’t really working because when she has a big greedy fella at home, two kids, a pub to run and all the other rubbish life throws at us it was all to easy to eat rubbish and forget the diet. Why cook a slimming world meal for herself when me and the kids were ordering a takeaway right? Katie decided she was going to give up Slimming World despite me telling her not to quite and to keep going and so I made her a deal… Stick to it and I will join too!

I don’t think Katie believed me. It was a Friday night and I had had a few beers with friends and customers at our pub. She thought that come weigh-in and group session on Monday I would “wimp out”. But I didn’t. I had decided that I needed to join and I thought if we both stuck to it together then it would make it so much easier for us both.

I have to be honest, I was nervous and without meaning to cause any offence to anybody I had a preconceived idea of what “group” would be like. I know that some men do attend and have had great results but before attending I thought Slimming World was just female orientated and knowing how crabby dieting made Katie at times, the idea of sitting in a room full of dieting crabby women petrified me! However, I bit the bullet (they’re syn free apparently) and Monday morning I attending my first group with Katie.

There was absolutely no awkwardness or reason to be nervous. I was made to feel instantly welcome by Sharon who runs Thirsk Slimming World and equally so by all the other women who attended. My first weigh-in was recorded in my book and then we all sat down whilst Sharon went around the room chatting to each of us about how we had done. One hour later I was out of there with my book of foods I can and can’t eat and information on how to follow the diet.

The more I looked at the book the less I believed it was actually a diet. For a lad who likes his grub the thought of not being able to eat was daunting. However, I was blown away by what I was allowed to eat on the diet. With my allocated 20 syns a day (I can best describe “syns” as the foods that keep you sane and allow you satisfy any cravings and urges but in a regulated way) which I rarely used in the first week I set my mind to it and got through my first week without even really realising I was dieting. The following Monday I couldn’t believe I had lost HALF A STONE! Not only that but in our first week of dieting together Katie had lost the most she had ever lost in one week since she started Slimming World!

Week two went pretty much the same with a 4lb weight loss. Week three saw a 6lb loss and now 8 weeks later with a little gain in the middle I am just 4lb short of being 2 stone lighter! I say that now before I have been weighed after Xmas, I may well be a couple of pound heavier but I can live with that and am now back on the wagon after a day or two of falling off. In the same time my wife has lost almost a stone too so following the diet together, motivating each other and cooking the awesome recipes for the whole family (the kids love them too, especially the Diet Fanta Chicken!) has really paid off.

For anybody wandering whether Slimming World works or for any man put off by the fact that many meetings are predominantly attended by women or who may even be feeling a little embarrassed about attending a slimming group my advice is this…

Forget all that silliness. Think of YOU. Think of your health. Think of how much more energy, confidence and self esteem you would have when you shift some weight. Your mates might tease you for it, some of mine did until they saw they saw how well it was working but they had the same preconceived ideas as I had and that’s why they give me some stick. Take the jokes on the chin and be proud of yourself for actually doing something to improve your health. If I can sacrifice the beer when I am a pub landlord and stick to this diet with the long hours and lifestyle I lead then YOU can do it too!

I have since found out that my health issues ARE most likely weight related and my consultant even advised that I should stick with Slimming World as a lot of her patients have had amazing success with it. Since losing weight I feel so much better already. I have already committed to joining the gym in January too now I have so much more energy.

In a nutshell, if you want to lose weight, improve your health and fitness and are tired of trying to fathom the mine field of diets out there just find your nearest Slimming World group and pop along… It will change your life.


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