Since scoring a 6½st weight loss, Paul Glass is fit for anything. Now his life is heading in a whole new direction. Result!
“At 16, I was a fit youngster with a bright future in premiership football. I had the talent, but I didn’t have the drive or ambition to succeed at the top, so I quit and returned to Southampton – a decision I’ve never regretted.
“At first, I combined my new life working in insurance with playing semi-professional football. Although no longer training for 30 hours a week, I initially managed to maintain my weight. Then gradually, over the next four years or so, I became less and less active.
“I don’t remember being sad or worried about the way I looked – just annoyed that by the time I was 24 or so, my clothes came from the ‘larger man’ section of department stores.
“It all came to a head after I’d had a medical for a life insurance application. I discovered I had abnormally high blood sugar levels, but it wasn’t until June 2011 when I finally dragged myself to see a doctor. By then, I knew something was really wrong. I was exhausted all the time and would down up to six pints of cola to fuel my way through work in the evenings. My GP listened to my symptoms and told me I had type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and needed daily medication. I was terrified – especially as someone in my family had recently died of a diabetes-related illness.
“I knew I couldn’t lose the weight with willpower alone, so in July 2011 I walked into my local group. After just two weeks I’d lost 15lb and couldn’t stop talking about Slimming World!
“My new dinners were the very opposite of my previous diet. I used to start the day with a huge bowl of sweet cereal. Now I had a portion of bran flakes and milk and lots of fruit. Lunch used to be a mayonnaise-smothered sandwich and perhaps a pasty and cake. Now I had jacket potatoes with lots of baked beans and vegetables, followed by fruit and yogurt. Dinner would now be something like pasta with home-made sauce, or risotto served with an enormous salad.
“For me, I knew that what I put into my mouth was only part of the journey – I needed to move my body again as well. So I joined a health club, started tennis, swimming and weights, and began to feel the benefits almost immediately. My diabetes symptoms diminished and I felt energised by the food and exercise. I even found a local football side to train with.
“It’s hard to get my head around how much I have changed. I can go into any menswear shop and find tops to fit me in a standard ‘L’ instead of an ‘XXXL’ and my waist has shrunk from 44in to 32in. I don’t need my diabetes medicine any more, my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are completely normal and instead of waking up exhausted, I’m full of energy and enthusiasm for the day ahead.
“Life is so much more fun when you’re not being weighed down by more than 6½st of excess baggage. When you can play a real game of football instead of just watching it on the TV. When you can impress your fiancée in a slim-fitting T-shirt instead of something bursting at the seams. When you’re living life to the full instead of watching it pass you by. While I’d never have said my weight was holding me back, in one year Slimming World has helped me achieve all the dreams I never even knew I had.”