Andy has been talking almost non-stop all day, regaling us with stories, eyes sparkling and a smile on his face. But now, with the light fading on a brisk Glasgow afternoon, he sits at the kitchen table, eyes lowered, and is suddenly quiet.
He is recounting the day he was told how dangerously high his blood pressure was. How close to a potentially fatal event he had been without ever realising it.
The raw emotion catches in his throat, but instead of breaking down, Andy repeats the words he said to himself that day with strength: “It’s time to change”.
Between lecturing at Glasgow Caledonian University, running his own business, being an active father and husband, and volunteering with the Street Pastors, Andy’s a busy man. He even used to be a keen volleyball player, and a rugby enthusiast before that.
But a rotator cuff injury years ago stopped him from participating in the sports he loved. He threw himself into his own business, working all the hours to make it a success.
That’s when the weight began to creep on. "I was an Olympic-level excuse maker," he admits.
Years later, and knowing that he was out of shape, he saw an advert for the Healthy Weight Programme running at Glasgow Central Fitness & Wellbeing Gym, and decided to give it go. Part of a clinical trial testing the efficacy of the Healthy Weight Programme, the entry requirements for the programme were strict.
“Andy was pretty much as high risk as you can get.” Dr Ben Kelly, Head of Preventative Medicine at Nuffield Health, explains how Andy was on the cusp of eligibility due to his high blood pressure, age and BMI. “We sought approval from his clinician to include him in the programme, because we knew we could help but he was in the red for all of our tests. You can't ignore that level of risk.”
“My brother-in-law is a comedian, he actually makes that part of his routine. He makes a joke about being ‘too fat for the fat programme’.”
With the support of his GP, Andy joined the Healthy Weight Programme and stopped making excuses.
He smiles now and sits up in his chair, with poise and some pride. The programme's combination of Nutritional Therapy and Personal Training, mixed with Andy's competitive nature, delivered results. At the end of the 12-weeks, he had brought his blood pressure out of the danger zone, lost 12kg, and reduced his waist by 19cm. He has plenty to be pleased with. "I'm really proud of my humility," he jokes.
But the seriousness of the situation back then motivated him to succeed, and it now prevents him from relapsing or making any more excuses.
“This whole thing for a guy like me is walking up a ‘down escalator’. There’s no going back. You can’t go back. If you don’t do the healthy eating, if you don’t go to the gym, there’s only one direction you’re travelling in.”
Andy knows he still has a way to go with his weight loss, but he's travelling in the right direction, and doing so with his trademark determination. For him, and his family, the only way is up.
If you’re concerned about your weight in any way at all, Nuffield Health can help. Find out more about your nearest Healthy Weight Programme.
Last updated Monday 18 May 2020
First published on Tuesday 30 May 2017