Within a day, Derek Avery received 3 embarrassing incidents which were the turning point of his life. He was diagnosed with diabetes, doubted by his employers that he’s fit to work, and was abused by strangers in the street.
The 3 straight and cruel incidents made him shed 17st 9½lbs* and was crowned Slimming World Man 2015.
“I remember being put on a diet by my doctor when I was eight. I then piled on more weight when I lost my parents and then again when I was jobless for 11 months. At my biggest, I struggled to walk even short distances and needed medication for high blood pressure. I felt ashamed that I’d effectively disabled myself. I got taxis everywhere because I couldn’t even walk to the bus stop.”
“The turning point came in June 2014. I had an appointment at my doctors where I was told I had diabetes. Then I arrived at work to be surprised with a meeting in which I was informed that there were real concerns about my ability to do my job, which involves getting out and about with the people our charity supports. Finally, on the way home, two separate gangs of lads shouted horrible abuse at me from passing cars. I cried when I got home and the tears stung, but looking back it was the perfect storm because had those things happened on different days they might not have prompted me to take action in the same way. I call that day ‘Fateful Thursday’ now.”
His sister-in-law and his nurse suggested that he try Slimming World as there were others who were successful with the program. Soon enough he felt embraced and welcomed even when he worries that he could be treated differently because of he’s a man.
He made wonderful friends going to group every Saturday and have great fun each time.
“What really appealed to me about Slimming World was the sustainability and that I didn’t have to restrict myself. I’d tried losing weight following meal-replacement diets before but as soon as I stopped I piled all the weight back on, and I missed cooking because I love being in the kitchen. Now I cook meals like chicken tikka masala with rice or homemade lasagne for myself and my partner, Graham, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt hungry or deprived. I enjoy massive veg-packed omelettes for breakfast and take a big smoked salmon and potato salad to work. Instead of snacking on big sharing bags of crisps, I munch on fruit, veg sticks, fat free yogurts, and enjoy a glass of wine or a chocolate bar in the evening”, he shared.
In 12 months he lost 17st 9½lbs and from size 7XL Shirts, he now wears L. His health and fitness has improved dramatically. He’s even diabetes free. From 25 minutes walk, he’s gone down to 2 minutes walk going to group.
“And my bank balance is much healthier, too, since I stopped needing to take taxis everywhere – I’ve used the money I’ve saved to pay for a weekend away in Edinburgh with Graham. We walked all around the city and it was fantastic. I seriously thought I would die young and now I plan to live a very long and active life.”
“When I walked into Slimming World there was no judgment or discrimination. The understanding and kindness I was shown helped me to start to be kinder to myself and gave me the confidence and self-belief to make the changes that I have. No one is more surprised than me at everything that I’ve achieved in the past year and I think that if I can do this, anyone can – with a bit of support, of course.”
To see more of Derek Avery’s story, watch the video below: