Since joining his Slimming World group in October 2020, Liam Goldthorpe has gone from 17st 6lbs to 13st 2.5lbs, proving that Slimming World works just as well for men as for women.
Like many men, Liam initially thought that slimming clubs were aimed at women and assumed the focus would be on "diet" food. However, he decided to give it a try when he began feeling uncomfortable at the size he was and wanted to become "healthier and fitter".
Liam was pleasantly surprised to find that the support provided by the group was practical and encouraging. He also found that Slimming World’s food optimising eating plan, based on the science of satiety and energy density, meant that he never felt hungry or like he was on a diet.
Liam enjoyed satisfying, healthy meals of lean meat, pasta, rice, eggs, potatoes, accompanied by lots of vegetables, and he started snacking on fruit.
He said: “Deep down I’d been unhappy with my weight for some time but it took me a long time to face up to it. And then when I did admit to myself that I wanted to lose weight I still didn’t want to ask for help.
"I’ve realised now though that far from being weak, admitting that you need help takes strength of character and getting support to identify where I’m going wrong and to make changes has given me a sense of confidence that is benefitting every aspect of my life.
“It was nerve-wracking walking through those doors for the first time but everyone was warm and welcoming because we’re all at the group for the same reason – to lose weight and feel good.”
As Covid-19 restrictions eased, real-life Slimming World groups in certain parts of the UK and Ireland have been able to re-open.
Liam says the support and encouragement he’s continued to receive in his Slimming World group, which has been running virtually over the past year, has helped him stay on track with his weight loss.
He feels the group is like a social event and this was especially important during lockdown as it was one of the few things he could continue to do.
Liam’s fellow slimmers voted him to represent the Battyeford Slimming World group in the Man of the Year 2021 competition.
“I’ve loved being able to attend my virtual group during the lockdowns – it’s been a real lifeline in helping me to hang on to those healthy habits I’ve built over the last nine months," he said.
"There’s nothing quite like being together in group though. I’m so excited to now be seeing everyone in person each week.
"It's so nice to be back together – I’ve missed that group banter and laughter, which just isn’t the same through a screen.
“It’s listening to others and talking about my own motivations and challenges that has, week by week, helped me to understand myself as a slimmer better and learn to plan, so I can make changes that I’m confident I can keep up for life.
"I always come away feeling just as inspired and motivated to keep going each week, and love sharing new recipes and ideas with my friends in the group.
"I don’t think I could have achieved all I have without the support of my consultant Mandy and the rest of the Battyeford group.
“One thing I’ve always loved about the food optimising plan is just how flexible and generous it is. I love the variety of foods I can still enjoy such as pasta, which is a free food on Slimming World.
"The freedom of the plan means I never have to miss out and nothing is off limits – I can still enjoy a pint of beer! I love that I don’t have to worry about weighing and measuring everything I eat or counting calories either.
"Before I started, I worried eating healthily might limit me but I try more new recipes now than I ever did before and have found food optimising fits around my life, rather than the other way around."
As the weight came off, Liam found he had more energy and so he was eager to use it.
“I always thought that physical activity would be the best way to lose weight, but when I was at my heaviest I just wasn’t fit enough to do it and I’ve since realised that I needed to do more than just move more," he said.
“However, Slimming World’s 'body magic' activity programme has helped me to become more active, and by breaking it down into chunks and starting small I’ve managed to build up my activity gradually.
"I have taken up gym classes which include body pump and spin. I can honestly say I feel like a different man since losing weight. Now I feel so much healthier and fitter."
Mandy Lacy, who runs the Battyeford Slimming World group, said she is incredibly proud of Liam.
“He has done brilliantly and we’re all in awe of his transformation," she said.
"He’s achieved what he set out to do – to become healthier and happier. And while so much has changed over the last year, his determination and motivation has never faded – he’s a real inspiration to the whole group.
"I couldn’t be prouder of everything Liam’s achieved.”
The Battyeford Slimming World group is held every Thursday evening and Friday morning at Christ the King Church. Anyone interested in joining the group can call Mandy on 07793 732268.
For more information on where to find your nearest groups, visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk