Matt’s life-changing weight loss*

After losing his mother and throwing himself into work, Matt Briggs’ weight crept up to over 430lbs. Matt finally discovered a healthy way of eating, being active, and group support that helped him lose an incredible 245lbs*—and start saying “yes” to life’s adventures.

My early years        

“Growing up, my parents ran a newsstand, where I indulged my love of chocolate and candy. When I was 15, my mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At first the disease hardly affected her, but in a few years her condition deteriorated and she spent weeks in the hospital.

“When Mom was able to come home, she needed round-the-clock care. Seeing her so helpless was devastating and I vowed to do all I could to make my parents’ lives easier—taking on several part-time retail jobs to ease the family’s finances, helping the carers look after Mom, and cooking for my sister Ellaina and me—which meant throwing something easy into the oven or getting a pizza. Not surprisingly, I gained weight.

“Mom died just before Mother’s Day, a few weeks before my 18th birthday. I threw myself into work—as if I wanted to prove to her that I could look after myself. I took a job at a drugstore accepting more and more responsibility and hours. I was also eating more unhealthily, swigging liters of cola and filling up on pizza, cookies and chips. I didn’t have the energy to kick a ball around, or even go for a walk. I just ate and worked.                    

My turning point

“When I look at the photo that kick-started my weight loss, I hardly recognize myself. It was taken on Christmas 2009 and I’m wearing one of my wardrobe staples—a huge shirt and a pair of chinos with a 56in waist. Since my early 20s, I’d been unable to buy clothes in retail stores. I had to make a two-hour trip to a specialist store; then, as I got even bigger, I used online retailers.

“My doctor expressed concern at my ever-increasing size and even prescribed a fat-absorbing medication. I won’t go into details—let’s just say you didn’t want to be too far from a bathroom after taking it! And it made no difference to my weight.                        

My recipe for success 

“When I joined Slimming World in January I didn’t think any weight-loss method could work for a person as overweight and pizza-addicted as I was. I only joined because my dad offered to pay for my first 3 months of membership as long as I refunded him if I didn’t lose weight. I’d kidded myself I was 350lbs, but when I got on the scale, I discovered my true weight was more than 80lbs heavier. I decided I owed it to myself to give Food Optimizing my best shot—at least for a week.                        

“For the first time in my adult life, I ate a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a strange feeling came over me—I was full! Instead of constantly topping my exhausted self up with sugary coffees, cookies and chocolate, I was eating high-fiber cereal or scrambled eggs for breakfast, soup for lunch, and pasta with tomato sauce or chicken with Slimming World fries and salad for dinner—as well as snacking on fruit whenever I was hungry.

"I weighed myself a week later and discovered a loss of 12½lbs! I was hooked. Hooked on collecting my weight-loss awards, hooked on eating real food, hooked on achieving my weekly goals. Dad never got his money back—I got my life back instead!"

My learning experience                        

“By June, I’d lost over 70lbs. Then I took a two-week break from work and gained 2½lbs. For the first time ever, I felt disillusioned and didn’t join my weekly online group meeting. Afterwards, though, I realized that Food Optimizing hadn’t stopped working—I went off plan while my usual routine had been disrupted. I joined my group meeting the following week and found the support I needed to get my eating back on track.    

“When you have lots of weight to lose, the losses show on the scale way before you might actually feel anything, let alone see it in the mirror. For my birthday party in May, at which point I’d lost over 50lbs, I decided to dress as a Smurf and needed a T-shirt and overalls. I was still pretty large for a Smurf, but discovering I could wear a 2XL instead of 5XL was a revelation —my waist had dropped to 48in, a loss of 8in in just a few months!                    

My new moves                        

“Even though I was an overweight child, my mom instilled a love of exercise in me. Saturdays were packed with swimming, bike riding and soccer. As I got older, work took over and I became less active, until all I could manage was the occasional flight of stairs—carrying 430lbs around was a workout in itself.

“Now I have to admit it—I’m addicted to exercise. I run, swim, walk, do aquafit, Boxercise and Zumba, cycle for 20 miles at a time. I completed a 50km charity bicycle ride, hiked up the highest mountain in Scotland, and I ran the New York City marathon. Bring it on! You don’t have to be as active as me to lose weight with Slimming World, though it helped me tone up after I lost a lot of weight. There’s a little bit of excess flesh, but it doesn’t bother me—I feel so much better in my own skin now.

My new identity                        

“I went on vacation coast-to-coast, visiting friends in New York, Chicago and LA. I’d thought about it doing it before, when I was around 280lbs, yet never made it happen. Now I’m not daunted by the idea of new experiences.

“I’m dedicating my success to Mom. I still talk to her, even though she isn’t physically here. I like to think that wherever she is, she can see what I’ve achieved and is full of joy.”

Matt’s top weight-loss tips

Matt’s top weight-loss tips                                

Give it a try                                

Don’t think you like fresh fruit and veggies? Try something different every week until you discover a taste you enjoy. If you’d told me a few years ago I’d be eating zucchini, red peppers and pineapple, I’d have thought you were crazy. I never knew I liked them until I tried them.

Text for success                   

Every week after weighing in, I update my friends and family with my progress and my goal for next week. All the supportive texts I get back spur me on and I don’t like to disappoint anyone by not achieving my goal.

Don’t give up the things you love    

My secret slimming weapon is finding ways to enjoy things like chocolate that fit in with Food Optimizing, Slimming World’s healthy eating plan. Talking with your Slimming Group members is a great way to get ideas.

Say yes!                                

One day, my friend Nicole asked me to join her walking her dog. I nearly backed out when I saw the hills she regularly climbed—then I thought, “Oh well, why not?” After a few months I was clambering up and down them with such agility I’m now known as “Matt the mountain goat”!

*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much you have to lose.

$30

for 3 months
($10/month billed as $30)

Start your weight loss journey today and you could be more than 20lbs* lighter in 3 months.

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*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and how much you have to lose.

$15

for 1 month
Join now for $15 for 1 month

Get started on your weight loss journey when you sign up for 1 month.

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