I had never considered myself as somebody who needed support in this particular endeavour. I've been slowly growing rounder for quite a while — watching as my trouser size gradually increases.

Admitting the Problem 🍔

As part of my mini-meltdown 🤯 last year, I joined Slimming World as a way to get support in losing weight and get some of my self-confidence back. My wife had asked me on numerous occasions, and this time I decided why not? It was a difficult decision for me to come to, and even harder to admit I needed help. I still haven't actually told some of my friends, I just tell them I'm busy on a Saturday morning!

I believe there is a stigma around men needing to watch their weight. The number of times I have been told that I don't need to lose weight, conversely I can't imagine how difficult it is to be constantly told the latter. I am regularly the only male presence of a potential maximum of 2-3 in my group; maybe there are simply no overweight men in the local area, though I think not. It does mean that we don't see as many clinically obese men in our society trying to take better care of their health and diet.

The Plan

The way I approach Slimming World is as a framework for moderation. It makes you think about what you are shoving into your face. Planning for a week ahead helps you to actually consider your food choices, and the difficulties that you may face to achieve your goal — to lose weight, or for the lucky few to maintain the goal that you have already achieved.

I'm still a bit rogue with the whole Syn counting thing. I do guesstimates and generally avoid foods which I know are excessive, but I haven't yet completed a food diary and counted things. Instead I play it safe. I get around 20 syns per day, and aim to keep under that value most of the time. They are flexible, so you can quite easily manage your weekly allowance around your requirements.

If I'm hungry, I'll eat fruit. In fact, I eat most of my weekday food in the morning, so lunches tend to be lighter. This is partly because we have free breakfast and fruit at work and I take complete advantage of this particular perk. That's the best thing about Slimming World, you aren't starving yourself. You are Food Optimising. The name sounds cringey—or is that just me?—but it is literally what the name implies. Fill the void with food that isn't going to make you gain weight. If you really commit though, you will find that the meals you are making taste great and satisfy your hunger simultaneously.

Falling off the wagon

Just prior to the christmas break, I achieved my 1 stone (6.3 kg) weight loss. This was somewhere around the period where I had stopped my jogging activity due to daylight savings time. Soon after, I was back to all the bad habits, which is best described as indulgence in excess — see food, eat it. We stopped attending group over the whole of December—I believe this is a common pattern—and whilst my wife rejoined in January I did not until March.

Present Day

I still haven't got back to the running yet, but we started back at Slimming World four weeks ago. I had not wiped out my complete progress since I originally joined 💪. So that could have been worse…

It got off to a rocky start. After the first week, the family came down with a bug followed by a week away. So that first weigh-in was a gain; in this case it is not all about the gains. It's been losses since then, and I have this time started to take things more seriously than I did previously. I have even started measuring my porridge at work each morning 😱.

This morning, after having a poor weekend, I managed to lose 3lb (1.3 kg) and achieved the above "Slimmer of the Week" accolade. I never thought I would obtain that achievement. It was a proud moment for me, as it was completely out of the blue.

Plan for the week. Achievable? I hope so!

In addition to measuring more things, I have started actively taking responsibility for planning and preparing meals. I have often used my commute as an excuse to not collaborate in creating a meal plan or shopping. Last week I created a food plan and shopping list, and even went to Aldi to get some bits from the supermarket on my lunch. It's not been 100% on-track, but this week I have put together the plan from today until next friday and the shopping list. We wrote it together in group.

So here's to the week ahead!