A 19-year-old man Tom Johnston, from Belfast, is celebrating after losing nearly half of his body weight in just 10 months.
“I broke my leg when I was 15 and needed a wheelchair to get around – that’s when my weight problems started. I suffered from anxiety and low mood and my weight was a big contributor to that. I couldn’t enjoy things like my friends did and I was scared to go out because I worried what people might think or say about me because of my size.”
He did try to lose weight by eating healthy but it was tough for him to stick with it. His mum and sister had joined Slimming World group and they’ve been shedding weight themselves. He worried though that he won’t fit in if he joins a group thinking that it was dominated by women. Then it hit him one day how unhappy he is not liking the person he sees in the mirror so he gave it a go.
Before I went through the doors I felt as if I was walking into a lion’s den, but I can honestly say the people in the group are some of the nicest I have ever met in my life and every week we have great craic. It was the best thing I ever did.
He said he now eats a large selection of food including his favorite homemade chilli con carne or curry and rice. He also started being active like joining a gym, riding a bike and often taking his dog, Ollie, on long walks.
“The group really motivated me and, as I lost weight, my mental wellbeing started to get better. I had the confidence to go back to college and I’ve just finished my AS exams. For years I didn’t like to think about the future because I worried I’d be overweight and unhappy for the rest of my life. Now I’d like to go to university and I know I’ll be able to get a better job because I’m in a better place.
For the first time he said he’s comfortable in his own skin and confidently grabs every opportunity to seize life.
Tom’s Slimming World Consultant Ashleigh Shaw adds…
“I’ve watched Tom’s life change dramatically over the past 14 months and there have been so many firsts for him – he’s joined a gym, started riding a bike, been out clubbing and started his studies again. He’s a young man with a very bright future now and I feel honoured to have played a part in his journey.”
For more of Tom Johnston’s story, see the video below: