Jon: I was the big guy with the big personality
Lost: 6st 3lb
Height: 5'11.5" Start weight: 21st
I've been overweight since I was a kid. Everyone – friends, family, girls I met on nights out – saw me as a big guy with a big personality. So that's the part I played and, for a while, I was okay with it.
But despite playing the role of Mr Happy, I knew I wasn't at a happy weight. As a bloke, it wasn't something I talked about. Then, in June 2013 when the needle on the scales hit 23st, I felt ashamed and negative thoughts about my body began to flood in.
It was looking through photos of a holiday to Tenerife with Claire, my fiancée of two years that gave me the wake-up call I needed. 'Delete that one', 'and that one', 'and that one', I urged. For years I'd been okay being me, but this didn't feel the case anymore. I also had an extra pressure: my upcoming wedding and the kilt I wanted to wear with confidence.
So when Claire said she was joining WW to slim down for the big day and asked if I fancied coming along, I was sold. I'd recently lost 2st just by cutting out some of the junk and exercising more, but I knew I needed more help.
I joined WW in February 2014 weighing 21st and vowed to lose 6st in a year. It was intimidating thinking about such large numbers, but also inspiring. I felt I could hide in Claire's shadow during meetings and pretend I was doing it to support her.
In the first week alone I lost 10lb and, as the weeks passed, the needle on the scales kept edging down. Claire was my secret weapon – we planned meals together and constantly spurred each other on. If I didn't lose as much weight as I hoped one week, but Claire hit her goal, we still had something to celebrate.
In January this year, I succeeded in hitting my 6st weight loss goal. That, combined with the 2st I lost beforehand, means I'm now 8st lighter!
It's been a great liberation – a weight, quite literally, lifted from my shoulders. I can wear whatever I want. And there's no more fleeting glimpses in the mirror that make me wince, or deleting of holiday photos.
Other things have changed, too: I'm now running 20 miles a week and I have no problems getting motivated because I have so much energy. I'm still the same guy with the big personality, but I'm a slimmer and fitter version – and being Mr Happy no longer feels like an act.
3 tips for making a fresh start:
The thought of making big changes in your life can be overwhelming and it's tempting to fall back on the old saying, 'better the devil you know'. Embrace change and looking forward to a better future with these top tips:
1. Focus on the benefits
Starting something new, like a weight-loss programme, can take you outside of your comfort zone into new and unfamiliar territory. If you find yourself hesitating, focus on the many benefits your new life is going to bring, rather than those vague worries you might have about letting go of the past.
2. Baby steps
Making big changes in your life can seem impossible if you only think about the end goal. Progressing towards that ultimate goal is easier (and much more rewarding) if you approach it in small steps. Think about weight-loss as a personal journey. Set mini goals for yourself that are within your grasp, and celebrate each and every milestone as you reach it.
3. Don't be afraid of setbacks
It's normal, almost inevitable, that you'll have a few little stumbles along the way. Don't let the prospect of these setbacks stop you from making a fresh start. Instead, remind yourself that they are an opportunity for you to take time out, review where you've gone wrong and find ways to avoid repeating them.