A Bedford slimmer was congratulated on tackling his weight issues and losing 7st 9lbs by Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster at a national slimming competition. Martin Herbert, 46, was one of just 36 entrants from across the UK and Ireland to win a place in the finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2014 contest where he met Charlie, who is well-known for reporting on sports including football, boxing and superbike racing.
Slimming World clubs are not just for women. With six in 10 men classed as overweight or obese compared to five in 10 women, more men than women in the UK need support to lose weight and improve their health.
Martin has gone from 20st 10.5lbs to 13st 1.5lbs since joining his local group in August 2013.
Martin saaid it can be hard for men to admit that they have a weight problem and need help to slim down, especially from a slimming club.
He said: “When men want to lose weight they usually start talking about exercising more or watching what they’re eating, rather than joining a group. So I was quite worried about telling people I was going to Slimming World but I needn’t have felt that way because when my friends and family saw how much weight I was losing – and how much food I was eating – they were really impressed and they’ve been extremely supportive.
“It’s been the same at the group. When I first walked through the doors I was worried that, as a man, I’d be the ‘odd one out’. It was nothing like that though, everyone was very friendly and made a big effort to make me feel welcome. Now I realise it doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, younger or older or where you’re from, everyone in that room is there for the same reason – because we want to lose weight, become healthier and feel better about ourselves. I look forward to going to my Slimming World group every week. Everyone there motivates me so much, whether I’ve had a good week or a not-so-good week I always leave feeling inspired and ready for the next seven days.”
Martin has enjoyed picking up new recipes and food ideas from the other members of the group too.
He said: “Before I joined Slimming World I didn’t think that eating healthily would ever be able to satisfy my big appetite without leaving me feeling hungry. I can still enjoy all my favourite meals, from a curry with rice to a juicy steak with chips and salad, they’re just cooked differently now. I never feel like I’m missing out.
“I was pleased when I found out I’d made the finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year competition, but I didn’t lose weight to win a competition. I used to feel like I was living life on the sidelines and now I feel happier, healthier and I can do more with my friends and family, so I scored my own hat trick just in time for the World Cup – which is more than I can say for England – and it’s the best prize I could ask for.”
Charlie, who recently completed the challenge of running more than a marathon a day between 40 football clubs to raise money for a domestic violence charity, swapped sports reporting and interviewing footballers for chatting to Slimming World’s own supermen at the organisation’s head office in Derbyshire and congratulated all of the finalists on their weight loss.
She says: “What Martin has achieved is as inspiring as any sportsperson I’ve met and he should be so proud of the way in which he’s transformed himself – and his whole life for that matter.”
Diane Baker, who runs the Flitwick group which Martin attends, said: “Martin is almost unrecognisable from the man who walked into my group all those months ago but it’s been quite a gradual change. He came after being referred by his GP and his results have been phenomenal.
“He’s shown that making small changes to the way you eat and becoming more active bit by bit can make a huge difference, and I hope he inspires lots of other men in Bedford who’d like to lose weight to go for it and join Slimming World. Everyone’s welcome – men and women – every Wednesday at 3.45pm, 5.30pm or 7.30pm at Flitwick Village Hall.”
Martin wasn’t the overall winner but anyone who’s been inspired by his story is welcome at the Flitwick Slimming World group. Call Diane on 01234 340473, visit www.slimmingworld.com or simply pop along.