The student’s guide to slimming

The student’s guide to slimming

Who says losing weight and uni don’t mix? Student teacher Lewis Edgar, from Arbroath, Angus, shares how he lost 8st 5½lbs*, boosted his social life and got a smart new look.

‘The pupils were whispering about me and sniggering as I walked down the corridor on the way to my year seven class. It was my first teaching placement as part of my degree, and at 19 years old and weighing nearly 20st, I felt very self-conscious. I started wondering if I’d chosen the right career path after all.

‘I wasn’t at all comfortable being the centre of attention – not just standing at the front of the class, but in my social life, too. It had got so bad that when my uni friends asked me to go out, I’d always come up with an excuse.

‘My cousin Claire and I were planning a holiday with one of our mutual friends. Although I was looking forward to going, I dreaded the idea of sweating on the beach in my baggy T-shirt. One day we went to a water park and the lifeguard yelled at me to take off my T-shirt. There was no way I was going topless, so I trudged out of the water and spent the rest of the day watching everyone else have fun.

‘As we were getting ready to leave the park, Claire said: ‘When we get home, we’re going to join Slimming World together.’ My mum was a target member and my auntie had also lost a couple of stones, so I knew full well that the plan worked. ‘OK, let’s do it,’ I agreed. Back home, though, I decided I couldn’t face the idea of walking into a roomful of strangers.

‘Over a year later, on my usual drive home from uni, I passed three branches of the same fast-food restaurant. At the first, I popped in for chips – then I stopped for chicken nuggets at the second, and more chips and a milkshake at the third. I looked at the empty wrappers around me and had a light-bulb moment. It was time to make a change.

Everyone welcomed me and I soon realised it didn’t matter that I was a man, or a student.

‘I went home, followed the plan and lost 9lbs in my first week. That was a major turning point for me. I knew straight away that I was going to stick at it.’

Here’s how I fitted Food Optimising around my studies and how losing weight has got me excited about my future:

Student food with a difference

‘Before joining Slimming World, I already knew how to cook meals from scratch – I just didn’t do it very often. Mum was a Food Optimising whizz, so I’d tasted some of her recipes and knew the kinds of dishes I could make. She was always on hand to offer support – then she and Dad went on holiday. Usually, whenever they went away I ate takeaways every night. This time, I made the most of having the run of the kitchen.

‘I started the day with overnight oats, I baked savoury muffins for my lunches and for dinner, I tried out a Slimming World version of my favourite takeaway – Southern-style chicken and chips with lots of Speedy veg.’

On and off campus

‘By the time term started again, I was a Food Optimising pro! I always tried to prepare my own lunches and snacks, and I always made sure I had a Hi-fi bar on hand.

‘As the weight came off steadily, I started noticing a real difference in the way I felt, and that motivated me to keep going. I also noticed how much money I was saving by making my own meals and skipping the takeaways. Now I’d end each week with an extra £20 in my pocket. Not bad!’

Socialising with mates

‘I’ve been lucky that my friends were supportive from the moment I told them I was going to lose weight. Before, they’d have texted to ask me if I wanted to meet at their local fast-food restaurant. Now the texts would read: ‘Come round to our house and we’ll cook dinner’ or ‘Fancy a walk?’. We built up to longer and longer walks, and on a sunny day we’d often clock up 9-10 miles across the countryside.

‘The happier I felt about my body, the more my social life picked up back on campus, too. I stopped making excuses when friends invited me out – in fact, now I was the one suggesting we hit the bar! In the past, if I ever did go out, I’d have had pint after pint of cider, or vodka with sugary mixers. Now I switched to a lower-Syn option of vodka and diet lemonade, so I could enjoy a drink or two without slowing down my weight loss.’

Top of the class

‘There were lots of reasons I didn’t like being centre of attention at my biggest. For a start, with a 44in waist I found I had to shop on plus-size websites, so couldn’t dress in the fashionable clothes other lads my age were wearing. I felt uncomfortable in lectures and would always sit at the back of the room.

‘As I lost weight, I ended up giving nine bags of my old clothes away to charity. And I know I won’t be needing them again now I can button up a pair of 30in Topman jeans or throw on a fitted Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt.

‘For ages, whenever I thought about the future I felt as if my life was full of ‘what ifs’ – now, instead of thinking ‘I might’, I’ll decide ‘I will’. I’m at my target weight now and I still go to my Slimming World group every week. All the other members look out for me – they’ve been behind me all the way through my journey. Thanks to their support, I’m happy with myself for the first time. And feeling this way, I can’t wait to take my place at the front of the class!’

 

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose

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