This weekend, I finally did it. I reached my goal weight and became a Gold member of WeightWatchers. Now, I haven’t exactly been publicising my attendance at WeightWatchers week by week, but there has been passing mention with people who’ve asked whether I have a terminal illness or whether my clothes were getting larger. Last January I was almost 16 stone (many thanks to those at the time who overlook my middle aged plumpness and said I looked fine), and now I’m under 13 and a half (not so many thanks to those who’ve said I’m now too skinny).
It’s been a bit of a journey. At the beginning of the year, I was a little concerned about a high blood pressure and a high cholestrol. I’d never really been that aware of either, but a little research made me realise that lowering one’s blood pressure to a healthy level can significantly extend your life (we’re talking many years here). With two kids now, and the age of 40 now becoming a distant memory, I was concerned that I might not see them marry or have their own kids. I decided some action had to be taken.
My wife encouraged me to go to WeightWatchers. She found the nearest class, down the road, and in the middle of January, I joined the class. I was wary of being outnumbered by larger women – which, to be fair, I was – and of feeling isolated or ridiculous in being outnumbered by large women, which I never felt. The group, it’s leaders and volunteers were fantastic throughout; the group was welcoming and accepting and I was made to feel a part of it over my 43 week tenure.
I have (largely) rigidly stuck to the diet, which uses a points system – essentially every food is given a points value, and you are given a points target to remain within each day – so you can continue to eat and drink anything, but are forced to moderate and eat foods with lower points value (like fruit and vegetables!). At the start of my diet, I had a daily allowance of 42 points; I soon discovered that my favourite Pret sandwich would take up nearly 20 of those points; fish and chips would take up 30. It was a significant shock to find out just how calorific most food bought in cafes and restaurants is.
The first half of the diet saw steady weight loss, and I was soon down to 14 stone. The second half I became a little complacent with what I thought was an easy diet – I became stuck between 13.9 and 13.11 for about two months and thought I’d never get below it. It took some firm words and renewed concentration to structure my eating and recording again, and I have lost five pounds in the last two weeks.
I am now down to a healthy weight for my age and height. My blood pressure has also dropped to a healthy level, and my cholesterol is also lower. I feel that I eat better and I’m more informed about foods – better portions, less snacking and healthier choices was my key to success – and I can have some satisfaction that I’ve made an effort to extend my life so I can get the most from my family and especially my young children.
None of my clothes fit any more, but it’s a small price to pay for a healthier and hopefully longer life. Thanks WeightWatchers; good luck to others trying to do the same and please try it to those who are hesitant.