Today I reach the age of 62 years. I have arrived here and feel so grateful to be alive. In case you don’t know, let me explain. In October 2015, I become very unwell. The details are not important. What matters is that on the 16th December 2015 Dr Paul and his magnificent team at Frimley Park Hospital operated on me and gave me a second chance at life.
A life I embraced with a grateful and repaired heart and determination to stay on this earth for as long as I can. I know heaven will be a good place to be, but I want to stay here on earth for now. Why wouldn’t I? Without checking my theology, I feel like I am in heaven on earth anyway. I have a wonderful wife who I love deeply. Two wonderful children who make me so proud. I also for the first time have a grandson, Alfie. I look forward to spending time with him and getting to know him. Then there are friends who want the best for me and actually like me.
Before I Get To What I Really Want To Say
I know that other people are dealing with far more serious health issues than me. I have two dear friends who are very ill as I write this. But I also have my one life, I must live it and talk about it from my own corner. I do not denigrate or reduce the pain of other people’s experience. I feel their pain deeply. But I must speak out in gratitude about my life’s extension.
I cannot overstate the benefit and help I have received from seemingly ‘ordinary people’ in my life. Who are these people? They are members of my church at Kerith Centre, especially my housegroup led by Clive and Glyn, my employees and customers from our business which closed four years ago, the people of Bracknell – my home town for nearly fifty years, and the group members at Braybrooke Park Slimming World.
Special mention also to Geoff and Chris and Reg and Margaret who love me despite knowing precisely who I am. Also thanks to my dearly departed mate, Alan Mac.
Braybrooke Park Slimming World Group
Today, however, I want to thank especially my partners in weight loss at the Braybrooke Park Slimming World Group. Thank you, thank you and thank you. You turned a possibility into a reality. You saved my life and gave me extra years. I do not know how many years, but you have definitely given me more. So much more.
In February 2016 Karen and I joined Slimming World because I needed to lose weight. Actually, I desperately needed to lose weight. I cannot overstate it. If you have known me for any length of time then you know this to be a fact. People reading this who have witnessed my yo yo dieting over the years will know that my weight has been a central issue in my life. Karen was not so overweight, but such was her love for me that she joined up anyway. She now looks even more amazing having lost over 2.5 stones – but I’m not allowed to write anymore about that!
So far, I have lost 5½ Stones.
I signed up after a somewhat terse and fraught ultimatum from Dr Paul and his team, and my own GP, Dr Cody. I needed to lose weight to save my life. Even if I did lose weight there were no guarantees. 18 months later I am still alive. I also now own a blog – I didn’t have one of those this time last last year. And people actually read it! You are reading it now. Quite astonishing!
What Happens At Slimming World Group
Let me tell you what happens when we meet in group at Slimming World. We arrive and pay for the week before getting weighed. Then the consultant, Mandy-Lace, talks to us and motivates us and discusses each person’s success or failure for the previous weeks. And yes, we clap all the weight loss achieved. For me as a man I found it incredibly difficult to get into the culture of it all but I was determined to lose weight. I have warmed somewhat to the process but still find certain aspects difficult.
Actually, I have misled you. What we do in group is so much more than what I described above. We make friends, really good friends, some of them are now ‘forever’ friends. We empathise with each other in the bad times and cheer each other through the good. When someone is having things particularly tough, the group really rallies around them. There is no shaming or blaming and no judgement. We are dealing with an addiction here, an addiction to food. We have to eat to stay alive, which means we have to partake of the very thing we are addicted to. There is no escape.
The most amazing thing to me is that my weight loss journey truly matters to the members of my Slimming World group. It really does. You see it in each other’s eyes and feel it in the hugs. You witness it in the shrieks of joy and in the tears of pain. These people are completely rooting for me and I am for them. That is why I feel confident of long term success this time.
We have now settled to our new life in South Wales. Just a few more boxes to unpack. We will go for a swim in the sea later today and take a break from all the busyness of it all.
I wanted to mark my birthday this year by telling everyone on my Facebook page and in the groups I belong to about my weight loss experience. I also want to thank my fellow dieters from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me. You have given me the greatest of birthday gifts. You all seem like normal, ordinary people, but you are not. You are amazing.