“Mom would be so proud of my 190lb weight loss”*
After years of struggling, Andrew Collins finally found the strength to lose weight and become the happy, healthy young man his mom always wanted him to be.
“I’d had a difficult relationship with food since my early teens, and although I knew my weight gain was down to my comfort-eating habit, I felt powerless to stop myself. Instead of going out on my bike with friends, I’d stay indoors and play computer games or watch TV. My health also began to suffer and the conditions I’d had since birth—epilepsy and tachycardia, which is an abnormally rapid heartbeat—started getting worse. Even walking would leave me out of breath, and my mom was getting increasingly worried.”
Changing my lifestyle
“When my weight reached around 300lbs, Mom started mentioning Slimming World. My older sister had lost weight with the program, and she was convinced it would work for me, too. ‘Just give it a try,’ Mom said, ‘I’m going to join as well, so you won’t be on your own.’ The weeks went by, and Mom was a constant support as I got to grips with the Food Optimizing eating plan and began to realize there was another lifestyle for me. I started to see food in a whole new way, and became interested in cooking. Slimming World lasagna and spaghetti bolognese were my staples, and I found I could easily turn down cookies and chips now that I was filling up on healthy meals. I lost almost 100lbs in 18 months, and felt much better about myself. Mom was thrilled when I started going out more with my friends, enjoying my social life in a way I hadn’t been able to before. Then, she developed some worrying symptoms and was referred to the hospital for tests.”
Coping with loss
“When we learnt it was cancer, I buried my fears and tried to stay strong, and throughout Mom’s treatment I continued to focus on Slimming World, knowing how much my health meant to her. Then I got the call I’d been dreading: Mom’s health was deteriorating. Although I’d known this time would come, it seemed much too soon. She died in hospital surrounded by her family, all of us wondering how we would survive without her. I threw myself into making sure everyone else was OK, and concentrating on the rest of the family meant I had no room left to take care of myself. I stopped checking in with my Slimming World group and slipped into my old habit of using food to comfort myself.”
“By now, I was working in a city call center, and making full use of all the takeout opportunities nearby, especially the Chinese restaurant below the office. My weight began to rise again and I felt lost without Mom. I so missed her guidance—she’d always found a way to help me, even when I didn’t want to help myself. A year after Mom died, I went shopping for a new pair of pants, and was horrified to find that my waist now measured 52 inches. ‘What would Mom say if she could see me now?’ I thought. I knew the answer: she’d be sad for me. She’d be sad that, at almost 380lbs, I was bigger now than I’d ever been. I knew that it was time to go back to Slimming World. Yes, I had a long way to go, but Mom would be with me in spirit, willing me on.”
Making a breakthrough
“As I got back into Food Optimizing, I was soon enjoying cooking my own meals again, and gaining confidence in the kitchen. ‘What can I make with pork chops and peppers?’ I’d ask myself, finding recipes to match and discovering new favorites in the process, such as slow-cooked Dr Pepper pork. I also gave myself themed weeks to keep things interesting. So, one week I’d cook Moroccan-inspired dishes, another Chinese meals, and the next Italian. I knew the workday takeouts had to be replaced with healthier meals if I was going to get the losses I wanted, so I’d take my own lunch to work. As the pounds dropped off, my tachycardia improved, and I started to feel less breathless going about my day. That gave me the confidence to support my weight loss with some exercise, and—inspired by Body Magic, Slimming World’s gentle, get-started activity plan—I started walking regularly. By the time I reached my target weight of 182lbs I felt like a very different man. I wish Mom could have seen me, stepping off the scales over 190lbs lighter!
I still desperately miss Mom. And I hope if she sees me now, she’d be proud of the way I’ve striven to become a healthier, happier man—and this time I’m not going back. I know if it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have become who I am today. Thank you, Mom—you gave me my life back.”
The health information in this story is intended to provide general knowledge and should not be used to replace a visit with a healthcare provider. You should consult your healthcare provider before beginning, or changing, any weight loss program.
*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.