Tony: "The sense of community and support has helped keep me motivated"
Name: Tony McPartland
Workshop: Digital member
Date started WW: 2 January 2020
Start weight: 16st 5lb
Goal weight: 13st
Current weight: 13st 10lb
"I've tried all sorts of mad diets, but without much success"
When I was growing up, food and my weight was never an issue. Ironically, my family gave me the nickname ‘Bones’ because I was so skinny! It wasn’t until I went to university and adopted that typical student lifestyle of too much beer and fast food that my weight became an issue.
In my 20s I became pretty conscious of my size. I’d go through phases where I’d try all sorts of mad diets, but without much success. When my wife Sarah and I got married in 2014, we both went on a strict diet in the lead-up to the big day, and I lost 2st. But six months later, it had all piled back on.
It’s fair to say I’m a real foodie! I’ve always been interested in different tastes and flavours and trying new recipes. Sarah and I love watching TV programmes like MasterChef, and having a lovely dinner with a bottle of wine has always been a treat for us.
I kept thinking I needed to do something about it, but family life with our two young children – Millie, who’s seven, and Elliott, three – plus my demanding job as a sales manager always seemed to get in the way. But if I’m honest, my food choices didn’t help. I often travelled for work and I’d snack on crisps or chocolate and drink so much Coke, just to get an energy boost from the sugar. Whenever I was working away, I’d treat myself at dinner too – a fatty starter followed by steak and triple-cooked chips, then a dessert or a cheeseboard. At home, if I finished work late, ordering a takeaway was an easy option, while on weekends, I’d go for whatever I fancied because, as I’d say, ‘I deserved it’.
"Eating well and feeling good ticked all the boxes for me"
By Christmas 2019 I was the heaviest I’d ever been – 16st 5lb – and really miserable. I hated the way I looked and dreaded going out because nothing decent fitted me. I’d have a hissy fit, throwing clothes around the room, feeling so frustrated with myself. Finally, Sarah and I had a proper chat about it. She said, ‘Look, why don’t you find a plan that will really work for you and start it seriously in the new year? ’
I knew she was right. It wasn’t just about me, either: I wanted to get healthy so I could keep up with my kids and know they’ll have me around for a long time. I did a lot of research and decided that the flexible, all-round approach of WW to eating well and feeling good ticked all the boxes for me. This was a New Year's resolution I was determined to keep.
I joined on 2nd January 2020 as a Digital Member, so it was all online. Because I have to travel so often for work, I wasn’t sure I could commit to going to regular Workshops. But, to make myself accountable, I also started an Instagram page (@tonetrimsdown). I wanted it to be a really honest record of my weight loss journey with all the highs and lows, which is exactly what it’s turned out to be. Plus, the sense of community and support has helped to keep me motivated, and I’m amazed to have more than 2000 followers.
I found the Green plan was easy, but I still couldn’t believe it when I dropped 6lb in the first week. I followed the plan to the letter for the first month and by the end of January I’d lost a stone.
"I still thoroughly enjoy food, but my approach has completely changed"
It felt fantastic to be achieving something without ever feeling deprived in any way. I swapped my usual greasy fry-up at breakfast for grilled bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms, and I ditched fast food for a salad or a wrap at lunch. Simple things, like choosing a jacket potato instead of chips at dinner, meant I could still have my favourite steak, and eating out at night when I was on the road wasn’t a problem either. I’d plan for it by saving up SmartPoints® during the day, check a menu online beforehand, and make some easy, healthy swaps when I ordered.
Cooking is something I love to do, so at home we got into the habit of choosing recipes from the WW app, and there’s so much choice, you really can have whatever you fancy. Chicken souvlaki and tortilla pizzas are a big hit in our house. We cut right down on the takeaways, too, and made better choices whenever we did order in.
What’s so great – and so surprising – about joining WW is that none of that had to change. I still thoroughly enjoy food, but my approach to it has changed completely. That mindset shift has been the key.
"Being so close to the fridge has been tough over lockdown"
I’ll be honest, when lockdown happened, I was a bit worried. I set myself up to work from the kitchen table and being so close to the fridge was hard at times! To keep me focused, we planned meals for the week really carefully and stuck to it. We also made little changes, like making sure the fruit bowl’s always full and only buying fun-size chocolate bars or small bags or crisps, so I could have one without it causing too much trouble.
I joined the Move More with WW challenge over the summer after sitting at the kitchen table for weeks on end. I did a 45 minute walk each morning, raising money for charity to keep me accountable. Walking helped me get out of bed in the morning, and really set me up for the day.
The challenge got me thinking of other new ways to be active, to keep it fresh and interesting. So far I’ve done HIIT routines in the garden and even tried Stiff Guy/Girl Yoga which was a revelation! Now it’s one of my best ways to de-stress. I'm a lot more relaxed after a session; it's great for my stress relief from the busy job that I do.
"In seven months, my life has been transformed and I feel positive, energised and happy"
By the time lockdown began to ease, my new lifestyle was firmly established, and I’d dropped 2st 7lb. In seven months, my life has been transformed and I feel positive, energised and happy. I’ve bought a whole new wardrobe and, most importantly, my eating habits have changed forever.
But that’s not to say all the indulgences have gone out of the window. Sometimes I have a day off and don’t count SmartPoints. There was a time when that would have been the start of a slippery slope, but now I know I’ll go straight back on my plan, so I don’t worry.
The other night, Sarah and I were watching one of our favourite cooking shows and drooling over all the incredible dishes being created. But then we found ourselves discussing all the swaps we’d make, so they’d be healthier and lighter. Now, that most certainly wouldn’t have happened this time last year!
My 3 top tips:
1. Drink more water! Often you’re not hungry at all, you’re thirsty. These days, I always have a bottle of water with me when I’m on the move, and I feel better for drinking it, too.
2. Hit pause when you’re about to give in to temptation. Think to yourself, if I don’t eat this now, I can enjoy that later on.
3. Keep things interesting with new recipes, fresh ideas and twists on traditional favourites. Planning menus has really helped a foodie like me to stay motivated.