“My weight problem didn’t really start until mid life. I was a seaman, a navigator for an oil company for many years. Then I took a desk job with the company and things started to go downhill. I ate more and exercised less.
I had tried to lose weight so many times but couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. Every day I’d start a new diet. I would eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. By the evening the diet would be over. I’d eat huge meals and then snack on big bags of dry roasted peanuts, family-sized bags of Maltesers and crisps with dips.
In hindsight, I was a comfort eater. Food helped me deal with life’s challenges including my recent divorce and feelings of isolation.
As my weight grew my health problems became increasingly dangerous. I was borderline diabetic and have to get my blood checked at the GP’s surgery regularly. I had to wear a special mask when I was sleeping because I had obstructive sleep apnoea. I had high blood pressure which I was on high medication for; I took pills for gout. The fat was slowly killing me.
I couldn’t walk anywhere, I was breathless. If I went shopping I had to park the car right outside the relevant shop. Even in my flat I didn’t move about unless I had to. If I was going to the kitchen I’d think, “Right, what do I need to get to save me having to walk back this way again later?” It was a case of restricting any movement as it caused me so much discomfort.
I was constantly afraid I’d fall over and wouldn’t be able to get back up so I used a walking stick. I couldn’t bend down and put socks on so I had bare feet in my shoes. I couldn’t bend to tie shoe laces so everything had to be pre-laced. I couldn’t fit the seatbelt in my car. My belly rubbed against the steering wheel when I drove! After my recent divorce, I bought a flat because I couldn’t get up stairs.
I signed up to LighterLife because I was ready. After years of seeing my existence restricted by my weight I knew I had to do something different. I wanted a plan that helped me lose weight quickly and safely. I’m Mr Impatient! I couldn’t be doing with the slow weight loss you get on ordinary diets. LighterLife did exactly what it said on the tin.
I joined Counsellor Carol Graves’ LighterLife group in Bramhall, Cheshire. At first it was a struggle getting up the stairs to her office. But I was determined.
I lost 20 pounds* in my first week. Why wouldn’t you go back a second time? My LighterLife plan was easy because I didn’t have to think about food. All I had to do was eat four delicious LighterLife Foodpacks a day including bars, shakes and soups. Simple! I honestly wasn’t hungry. It was liberating not to be thinking about food all the time.
As the weight came off so my physical restrictions, fell away, one by one. Suddenly I’d think, “Hey, I’m walking and I’m not out of breath…Hey, I can tie my own shoe laces, now…Wow, my seatbelt fits, and my belly isn’t brushing up against the steering wheel anymore.” It really exciting and spurred me on, month my month, to keep going.
I started going walking once I was on the programme. I would go to this local park where the benches are really close together, so I could rest every two minutes. Bit by bit, my fitness picked up. Now I can walk without thinking about it. I can race up the stairs. I don’t need my stick.
I really liked my men’s group. One day, one of the younger guys said to me, “Drew, you’re a real inspiration the way you come here month after month and stick at it. You don’t give up.”
I was quite surprised when he said that because I didn’t think of myself as a role model.
My daughter Chloe was so inspired by my weight loss she has joined the programme to lose weight for her wedding in the spring. She’s already over 5st down and has one more to go. She said, “I can’t have you walking down the aisle slimmer than me, Dad.”
I lost a total of 18st9Ibs in just eleven months. I am one of LighterLife’s biggest losers – and for once I don’t mind being called a loser! My health has dramatically recovered and I’m delighted to say my doctor is reviewing and reducing all my medication.
To celebrate my weight loss my Counsellor, Carol, and daughter, Chloe, secretly set up a meeting with LighterLife Ambassador Denise Welch. She popped into my local LighterLife premises to congratulate me on my achievement. It was great. She’s so down to earth, a really lovely lady.
I’m not one to blow my own trumpet; it’s not in my nature. However, if my story can help one single person to lose weight like I did it’s worth my sharing it.”