“Weighing more than 18 stone; my diabetes was out of control, I had high blood pressure and found it hard to walk up hills. I was on medication for diabetes and I took statins to control my blood pressure, but it wasn't enough."
At my diabetic check-up, my nurse told me I would need to have injections and that I HAD to lose weight. She handed me a card for LiveWell Dorset, told me to give them a try. That was my first step to turning my life around.
Being a cancer survivor, I thought diabetes would be a doddle in comparison! What I hadn’t considered was the risk of heart disease and stroke, and how it could impact my sight. I'm a keen photographer, so that was hard to hear.
LiveWell offered me a three-month kickstart to join a weight loss group and gave me the addresses of two local groups to see which one I liked. I chose WW and was off to my first session.
It lasted an hour and consisted of a weigh-in for the first half-hour and a group discussion for the remainder. Apart from me, there was one other man. Some people weighed and went, while others stayed for a chat. When the weigh-ins were complete, the discussion began. The coach welcomed me and started a discussion about our progress, exploring what had helped and hindered us that week.
One member revealed she used to hide sweet wrappers about the house - there was laughter and a few nods as if to say, ‘me too!’ But what struck me was the openness, honesty and the positivity. I made up my mind there and then: this was going to be my group.
As the weeks went by, I found myself looking forward to the meetings. I can’t stress enough how friendly and motivating it was. Joining any established group is not easy, it takes confidence and courage, but I was made to feel welcome from day one. Sharing with similar people, with similar feelings, on a similar journey was so helpful.
It was a fantastic feeling! I could not have done it without the support and encouragement of my Coach and group. I no longer take any medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, or anything else! My weight has fluctuated a bit as my focus has shifted towards fitness – I completed Couch to 5k and now run 5k three times a week – but I know how to lose it again and I know who’s going to help me: my group.
I sometimes wonder why there aren't more men at my WW group. We blokes have heard of these groups, but don't often think they're for us.
'Groups' mean talking right? Talking in public; talking about yourself and your feelings... I was that bloke who thought going to a weight loss group meant I'd get looked at and laughed at. It felt I was confessing a failure, joining a group because I'd messed up and hadn't looked after myself. I thought it meant talking recipes, clothes and gossip.
But it was none of those things. I was made to feel that I was a success, that I'd made the right decision to take control and sort it out. I've felt supported and motivated right from the get-go. Weight loss groups are for anyone wanting to lose weight, get fit and take care of their health: that should be on everyone's list, right?
Weight loss groups are for us guys, too. Give it a try. There's nothing to lose (apart from a bit of weight!) and everything to gain.”