Losing nearly six stone in just over 20 weeks is a tough task under normal circumstances.
But achieving that goal after the government announced a country-wide lockdown halfway through takes a monumental effort.
Michael Gray, from Portlethen, could not have imagined how much more difficult his weight loss journey would get when he started in in January this year.
But now he has been rewarded for his focus by his local Slimming World group, as they named him their Man of the Year 2020 following the first ever virtual competition in the organisation’s 50-year history.
Michael, 32, began the year weighing 21st 15lb with a 46-inch waist, and has now dropped to 15st 8lb and a 36-inch waist thanks to a new eating plan and exercise regime, alongside the advice and encouragement of his fellow members.
He said: “I’ve been doing exercise and workouts in the house, but when it got down to only being allowed out for an hour it was really quite restricting. And because I live on my own, it’s really quite challenging on the mental side of things as well as the social side of it.
“It was a struggle at times, but with family being quite close and the people in the Slimming World group, it’s been really good. And with Nicola (Garrod, who runs the Portlethen group), the meetings haven’t just been about food optimising, she’s been speaking quite a lot personally as well.”
After being made redundant from his offshore job, where the chefs would help him choose healthier options for meals, losing weight has given Michael something else to focus on while hunting for work.
He added: “Cooking meals from scratch is something I’ve always been into but I’ve got more into since I’ve started Slimming World.
“Every second morning I’m doing some kind of workout, whether it’s push-ups, squats or lunges. One of the guys I used to work with is a fitness instructor and he’s given me a lot over the years – it’s just a case of getting myself to do it.”
The national title winner for Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2020 competition will announced in the coming months. The overall winner will receive a £4,000 cash prize.
Nicola said: “He has done brilliantly and we’re all in awe of his transformation. And while so much has changed in the last few months his determination and motivation has remained the same – he’s a real inspiration to the group.”
Michael’s daily meals – before
- Breakfast: Bowl of Frosties (maybe going for seconds too)
- Lunch: Sandwich meal deal from Asda or a Subway. Asda sausage roll, chicken and chips.
- Snacks: Crisps, chocolate, anything that can be grabbed and ready to eat.
- Dinner: Supernoodle, takeaway.
Michael’s daily meals – after
- Breakfast: Boiled eggs
- Lunch: Fruit and veg, more fish – specifically tuna.
- Snacks: Slimming World Hifi bar.
- Dinner: Takeaway equivalent prepared from scratch at home – fresh fish with homemade chips, pizza on a wholemeal wrap.