I’m flawed, but I’m learning to change what I can and to try and love the bits I can’t.
In January 2016 I had a lot to fix about my health and my weight. I decided that while I worked on these that I wanted to be truthful with the world about all the things related to this journey that I have previously avoided dealing with.
Back then I was an extremely heavy drinker with out of control type 2 diabetes (I needed five tablets a day), high cholesterol, high blood pressure and was horrendously overweight. When I joined slimming world in mid April of the same year (having given up alcohol by that time and already a little slimmer) I was 34st 8.5lbs (approx 220kg).
By late February 2018 I had lost over twenty stone (link) which is way more than I currently weigh – and finally became a Slimming World target member.
I’ve since adjusted my target slightly and am fourteen stone for the first time since the early 1990’s. I think I’ve finally reached what I believe to be a healthy weight.
Thanks to my efforts to reach this point I have experienced life altering changes in my physical appearance, capabilities and my sense of mental wellbeing.
Before the day I started Slimming World I couldn’t walk to the end of my road. By the end of June 2018 I’d walked from San Francisco to New York AND BACK! (link).
When I gave up counting how far I could walk in a single day I stopped at 22.25 miles (link).
One of my most significant single non-scale victories came in July 2017, when (at around nineteen and a half stone) I climbed Mount Snowdon (1035 metres) (link) which gave me a huge sense of achievement.
(That wasn’t the end of the NSV’s though – there’s a regularly updated and HUGE list here!)
I’m not sure how far I could go in a day now (I average over 70 miles a week) but there doesn’t currently seem to be a limit imposed by weight or fitness. I’m exercising as often as I possibly can and all of my friends now know that I love being outdoors.
If they want to spend time with me it’s usually on a walk!
To celebrate reaching target the day after I walked the entire length of the Malvern Hills and back – something that would have been impossible when I started (link).
In early June 2018 I was also awarded third place (link) in Slimming World’s national Greatest Loser competition.
I got to visit head office with my consultant Angie and a friend to meet some wonderful fellow slimmers and the welcoming and friendly teams behind the plan. It was an absolutely awesome day and a really incredible feeling!!!
Out of 900,000 UK members I’d lost the third highest amount of weight – and between us the top three had dropped a mind boggling 61 stone!
Then on the 8th of July I attended the semi-finals of the 2018 National Slimming World Man of the year competition – where I got to meet ex-England International John Barnes and 41 other incredible men.
On this occasion the guys had a combined loss of 428st 1.5lbs!!!!!
On this occasion though I WON (link) and took on the (slightly scary) role of being Slimming World’s Man of the year! It’s a big responsibility – and one that I really hope I can live up to.
Thanks to my lifestyle changes, a drastically improved diet and a radically increased level of exercise my blood pressure is now that of a man around 20 years younger than myself and I no longer need high cholesterol medication.
My diabetes has also gone from being almost off the end of my doctor’s wall chart with a HbA1c reading of 94 to no longer registering on it.
At my last review I had a reading of 25 (link) and according to my specialist I no longer test positive for type 2.
I now manage my condition without medication and through diet and exercise alone.(link)
Furthermore I now take no regular medication of any kind.
This is what my daily life looked like when I began my journey vs when I reached my target weight.
I feel better in every measurable and anecdotal way imaginable – but I still occasionally have my downbeat days.
Honesty about my struggle with my weight and how I deal with the related emotions that this brings to the surface have become the driving forces in my blog – and you have my commitment that I’ll be open about the good things and the bad.
Hopefully though the common theme will also be positivity.
I’ve also been continuously trying to answer a personal question – ‘What do I love?’
In the last two years – particularly since being made redundant in 2016, I’ve come to the conclusion that writing fits into this category – but I need to also apply this question to other areas of my life (and conclusively answer it).
As well as improve myself physically I also wanted to create something with my blog that I will be proud of when I look back at where I came from. Hopefully it’s an accurate and frank record of how I did (or didn’t do) things to improve my life and the times when I dealt with both highs and lows.
Now, over two years into sobriety (link) and my Slimming World journey (now I have to learn to maintain!) I continue to try and make my site a place that people like me can explore how they too may feel if they decided to embark upon a similar path.
It’s my fervent hope that in my posts others might find a spark of inspiration or the motivation that they need to help them to tackle their own challenges in life.
If you’re struggling – just like I still do from time to time then I hope we can do it together.
The sky’s the limit!