So here it is…
My second blog chapter ever!
As promised from my Blog, the next subject will be all about my experiences with Slimming World.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to follow me and share my experiences with my Journey “Fatman to Ironman” I really appreciate all of the positive feedback I have had already. This has convinced me I am doing the right thing.
So, after receiving the “Clinically Obese” label from my doctors, I was now in possession of a voucher for a twelve week plan at Slimming World. It was Christmas time and the goose had certainly gotten fat.
I remember sitting down at home with my wife and encouraging her to join me. Hoping she would say yes, and that we could support each other. My wife, Sue was nowhere near as heavy as I was. However, she wanted desperately to lose some weight. I eventually convinced her that if we both went along we could support each other, and actually do this!
I contacted our local consultant Natalie Fillingham of the Durrington branch of Slimming World and booked our first meeting for early February 2016.
We received our booklet, a diary of weigh–ins, and some helpful starter recipes. We signed on to the Slimming World app and waited for our first trip to the scales in a long, long time.
I was dreading the first night, all the stereo typical images of these events were in my mind, and none of them were helping. I was very much committed to losing weight, but so image conscious that I had begun to become insular and had lost some of my social skills.
The fear of being in a room full of people and talking about my weight was so overwhelming I wasn’t sure how long I could last. Sue has always suffered in this area and shies away very easily from meeting new people. Getting through the door would be a monumental task for both of us, in more ways than one!
One strategy I had chosen was to tell all my work colleagues what I was doing, so that I had no escape. My colleagues would prove to be a priceless support mechanism. In particular, Nigel Brown who decided to embark on the same journey, albeit with another consultant where he lived.
No biscuits for your tea Mr. Kaile!
Eventually my office space would be overrun with awards and certificates of my weight loss achievement. However, at this stage I just couldn’t see that far ahead.
The first night
I clearly remember pulling up outside the hall in Durrington, Wiltshire, that night. Sue was sat with me and had the books and diaries etc. held in her hand.
We had arrived ten minutes early, as is my usual style. This was not a good thing to do on a night like this. The anxiety and the need to get away and go to my safe place was overwhelming. Fortunately it was a dark winter evening and no one would see us. I needed to be strong for myself and especially for Sue. As I reversed into the parking space I said “Shall we just go home?”
We sat there for those ten minutes watching people turning up. Surprisingly not many of them were fat. Some were actually very slight looking, immediately some of the stereo types were proved wrong.
Eventually we plucked up the courage and opened the car doors and faced our fears.
Welcome to Slimming World
On the first night you are in a one to one sit down situation, where your consultant makes you feel at ease. Our consultant, was very nice and reassuring. She took our details and guided us through all the jargon. She insisted we contact her at any time if we had questions or simply needed support. I’m not sure if Sue said a single word all night she was so scared.
We then stepped on the dreaded scales, I was horrified to learn I had put more weight on since visiting the doctor a few weeks earlier. We went back to our consultant and set our goals for the weight we would like to lose, or be at, and after about five minutes, were sat amongst the group.
The group session is designed for everyone to share their experiences for the week, good or bad. Or to get support from other members, and where needed, advice from your consultant.
Our session was a large group of about twenty members starting at 1930 Hrs. Everyone in the group appeared to have been coming a long time and were all very chatty. We were the quiet, shy newbies – Terrified!
Some people just turned up for the weigh in at the beginning of the session and went home. Most, including us stayed till the end.
Oddly enough for our first night there was a table of food in the hall, cakes and other such naughty’s I thought I would never see again.
It turns out we had joined on the night where members brought in their slimming recipes “A taster” night. I would later be very surprised to learn that slimming world recipes can actually be very nice. That night I was steering clear – In my mind a diet was about cutting down on what you eat!
We had turned up to a dieting event and people were stuffing their faces with cake? Clearly Slimming World had a different approach to a diet.
The group discussion
After everyone had been weighed and finished stuffing their faces we all sat down and began the group discussion…
“Hello! My name is….. I’ve lost 3lb this week, or hello…. I’ve maintained my weight. A few had gained and were miserable. We had sat midway through the semi-circle of chairs. It was rapidly going to be my turn! Sue would be right after me, I was not enjoying this moment of my life.
“Well tonight group, let’s welcome our new members. Lawrence and Sue”
Lawrence, tell us about yourself…. This was my moment, let’s get it over with. I had to be strong for Sue. “Hello! My name is Lawrence…. I’m 21 Stone and here to lose some weight” I probably banged on for a bit too long about my job and hobbies, hobbies I was making up on the spot. Either way, I got the job done. I had walked over the threshold and “Come out” about my weight issue.
I had set a target of losing 5 stone. It was going to be a long journey, but the first step had been made. My wife was next.
Everybody clapped us and gave a huge cringe worthy cheer, not my thing really.
That first night seemed to take an eternity to get through, probably about two hours. We got home and had a stiff drink and collapsed in a messy heap.
Traumatic an experience as it was, we went back the following week and thereafter religiously. I hated the group side of things after the weigh in. I would eventually refer to it as the “Happy clapping” and would rather just get weighed and go home. However, I felt it was helpful for Sue and we had began making new friends out of these sessions.
The first few weeks
I never lost a pound in the first few weeks of going, granted I had stopped putting any on too. Sue on the other hand took to the programmes instantly, and would regularly lose 3 or 4lbs a week. I was getting frustrated and needed another chat with my consultant.
It turns out I didn’t really understand the “Free Food” or “Sins”, she somehow convinced me to eat more, that greens were good, and also convinced me to eat breakfast. Something I had skipped for most of my adult life. The weight would start plummeting – I was eating more?
Creating or changing habits
It turns out that Slimming World is very much about changing, or forming habits. I would find this process very useful in my training for triathlons, but more about that later.
One of the habit changes was forced upon me. My love of pizza had come to an end. Not through dieting but because where we had moved to – Dominoes did not deliver! On top of that there are no Indian restaurants or fast food restaurants for miles. I had already started eating healthier without realising it. Now I just had to make sure I formed a habit of prepping my meals for work. Ensuring I had breakfast, and avoid snacks. I would also start drinking much more water.
When I returned from work I was now not as hungry and less likely to raid the cupboard. More importantly, if I had planned right I would have a prepped, healthy meal ready to cook or eat. (More truthfully Sue would)
My first certificate
Slimmer of the week!
It wasn’t until the 8th March that I lost any weight, four weeks of maintaining! However, that week I lost 7lbs! Sue was mortified. She had gained weight that week. I took home this huge bag of fruit, fruit donated by the members each week for this purpose. There was so much of it I proudly took most of it to work and showed off my Slimming World carrier bag.
I was a changed man from that moment on, pretty much every week I was getting “Slimmer of the week”. Some weeks I would lose a staggering 10lbs and feel like I needed to treat myself. This was a good strategy as it didn’t make me feel like my diet was punishing me, quite the opposite. However, this process usually saw a small gain the following week and the bag of fruit would be awarded to someone else.
I Joined in February 2016 and maintained my weight – I would then smash March, April and May with “Slimmer of the month”. I had become a celebrity within the group.
I found it a little embarrassing, but would begin to realise I am a stubborn bugger. I refuse to give up on a goal or a dream. Another skill I would later use in the Swim, Bike and Run disciplines of the sport I have now embraced – Triathlon.
In the twelve weeks after February I went on to lose 3 stone. I felt great! I had thrown away my clothes and got new ones several sizes smaller.
I’m not a fan of those pictures people have “Before and after” where they are in their old jeans! I was ashamed of what I had become and was determined not to be looking back at any stage, another skill I would later rely on for training – The clothes were instantly thrown away!
Buying a motorbike
I had done so well I felt like I needed to reward myself bigtime! I began telling friends and
colleagues that if I lost 5 stone within a year I would buy myself a Harley Davidson Motorbike. It scared the hell out of Sue and, one very close friend, Lucinda Colucci. I had no bike licence but was even prepared to sell my car and PX it for the bike. Fortunately, I would fall just short of this target. I did get a Harley Davidson Mug and Teddy bear to remind me of my “Dream”
Another 12 weeks
Because I was losing so much weight my doctor approved another twelve week voucher and we carried on with this journey.
During that next block I would mostly maintain or drop the odd pound here or there. This apparently is very common for people on a journey like mine to plateau. I was ok with it as long as I didn’t put it all back on.
This is where I was encouraged to go for a walk and become more active, and is where I would first meet members of Srewton Running Club. At that time they were only a running group.
Determined as I was not to put back on any weight, I did begin to go for walks. Starting with a walk to the shops, then a walk to the shops – the long way. Eventually I would be walking up to 10 miles across Salisbury Plain – The training grounds for what is now my running club – A group of very welcoming people.
They would often pass me as they were on their Sunday “Long run” and always took the time to wave or say “HI”. Eventually we would even have the odd conversation.
These conversations would eventually begin to sow the seed – Maybe I should start running? I wasn’t ready for that yet and had no idea how to start. However, the seed had been sewn!
By the end of the second twelve week programme I had received the honour of being named Slimming World “Man of the Year 2016” – Anything was possible!
I may not have reached my 5 stone goal but I had lost 4.5 and was feeling great. I had a renewed self-belief and my confidence was returning. I was now into another set of clothes, the last lot now donated to charity.
I had shrunk before I could wear holes into the inner thighs of my trousers. Not only that, I was now confident enough to buy, and wear a pair of jeans. Something I stopped doing at 25.
I also knew I could stop attending Slimming World and still be disciplined to carry on losing weight. I had changed or reformed my habits. I no longer enjoyed processed foods and had a renewed love of cooking. I was a changed man! One about to embark on another chapter of his life.
I was about to join a running club!
In the next chapter of my blog I will describe how I ended up going from Slimming World to joining a running club. And my Couch 25k Journey.
Thank you for reading my Blog
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