At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Tony is a self-proclaimed ‘big guy’. But at 23 stone he was also obese and ran a very real risk of developing life threatening conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As he passed the milestone age of 60, Tony was more determined than ever to shed pounds and reclaim his health, but dieting and exercising only gave him short term gains.
“My love of food, especially sugary treats, undid all my hard work,” he admits.
To gain some discipline, Tony started personal training sessions at his local Nuffield Health gym at St. Albans in 2014.
“In moments of weakness I could find any excuse not to go to the gym, but having my Health Mentor, Denise, waiting for me to turn up meant I had to go.”
“...you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe you can do it.”
But away from the gym, Tony kept up the same old habits. After knocking off work most afternoons, he’d eat chocolate bars to stave off hunger until dinner time. Then he’d eat huge portions to satisfy his voracious appetite.
But Denise had an ace up her sleeve. She was part of a team about to launch a healthy weight programme at the gym, and she made sure Tony signed up. The programme brought together a range of Nuffield Health offerings including health MOTs, nutrition consultations, personal training sessions, group food workshops and exercise classes.
Tony started to see results within the first few weeks. “The nutritional advice teamed up with the exercise plan and motivating PT sessions kick-started a big change,” he says.
He learnt how to control his portions, and even bought measuring cups to make sure he wouldn’t cheat. The nutritionist swapped his chocolate bars for protein bars, and before long he didn’t need the extra snack at all.
The programmes run for 12 weeks, which Tony says is the perfect length of time to form new behaviours. “Denise and the team kept tweaking our eating and exercise plans depending on how we were feeling. That way we didn’t get bored or try to cheat. By the time the programme was over, I found I kept on going by myself. That’s the difference between this and everything else I’ve tried.”
Now, several months after the programme ended, the results-driven construction manager is still setting and achieving new goals.
“I’ve kept up my PT sessions and regular Health MOTs. My waist to hip ratio has dropped below 1:1 for the first time last week and I’m just a few pounds off getting out of the obese category - for me, that’s life changing,” he says.
“It was wonderful to have a supportive environment, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe you can do it. I have that now.”
Last updated Tuesday 16 February 2021
First published on Tuesday 1 September 2015