As a young adult, I always took my lean build for granted and in hindsight I was too complacent. In my twenties I could eat whatever I liked without consequences - or so I thought. Five years ago I found myself in a now familiar situation; without any education on healthy eating or exercise growing up, my age caught up with me and I grew, outwards.
My blood pressure raised and self esteem sunk to an all-time high and low respectively and I was looking old and unhappy. So, in 2014 I joined the local Slimming World class and lost over three stone in four months. It felt fantastic. I was amazed by how easy it was to lose weight when I applied myself. Here's my before and after montage from 2014.
But over the last year or two I've gradually abandoned healthy eating (and drinking) in favour of a convenient, tasty diet of pizzas, take-away curry, shop-bought sarnies, beer and, well, anything cheesy. Sound familiar? Despite the principles of food-optimising engrained somewhere in the back of my mind, being out and about as a family with pub lunches and convenient food at my fingertips, I've eaten way too much crap and once again it's showing.
"Daddy, your boobs and arms are wobbling!"
The turning point for me this time was a couple of weeks ago while at a swimming pool with the boys, helping them get dry with the classic 'car wash' towel technique (a Daddy speciality). Not known for his diplomacy, in the changing rooms Lyall shouted, out loud "Daddy, your boobs and arms are wobbling!". I giggled it off, calling Lyall a cheeky sod but it hurt.
Anyway, enough melancholy; I know what to do. Last l week I re-joined my local Slimming World group at the secondary school across the road. And this time, to help me stay focused and hopefully to inspire other dads who are also feeling a bit podgy, I'm going to report on my progress here on the blog. So, without further ado...
Week one - joining Slimming World
I chose Slimming World (SW) to help me reach my weight-loss goal. It costs about a fiver a week (plus a joining fee although I found a free token in a magazine). Getting through the door the first time (and subsequent first times) is a little like jumping off a diving board - once you've done it you realise it's actually a liberating, positive experience.
"With Slimming World you can eat as much as you like from a huge list of 'free' foods. Free foods include dried pasta, potatoes, rice, meat, fish, vegetables, beans, eggs and fat-free dairy products. You also choose two measured portions of milk or cheese (healthy 'A' choice) and one measured portion of cereal or bread (healthy 'B' choice) every day. You eat three meals a day and snack on free foods between meals. Men can also consume 25 'syns' (women 15), including treats like chocolate, alcoholic drinks and sweets."
So, how did I get on in week one? Well my starting weight was 14 st 6.5 lbs.
During the first week I've stuck to the plan and made some really tasty meals - a cooked breakfast every morning, a huge jacket potato for lunch every day and something big and delicious from the recipes on the SW website for dinner. I've made home-made chips, chilli-con-carne, chicken tikka masala (it's beautiful) and sausage and mash. The whole family are feeling energised and full.
I've just had my weigh-in after one week and my first result was:
3 lbs loss
Start: 14 st 6.5 lbs
Week 1: 14 st 3.5 lbs
I'm on track! Stay tuned to follow my progress. I'll also be uploading pics of my recipes and body-image progress on my spin-off Instagram profile www.instagram.com/slimmingdad