"It sounded too good to be true" - John Ball, Slim Transformation Client.
A daily injection that would suppress my appetite, keep my stomach fuller for longer & speed up my metabolism? Well that was a new take on the fad diet... "It's not a fad diet" said my niece to correct me. It's a genuine weight loss method which helped change her best friend's body shape and eating habits. She told me "fad diets" end up with the weight loss being undone once you stop the strict calorie-counting or methodical exclusion of certain food groups (carbs for example). Her friend has kept the weight off without the need to make strict and severe changes to her lifestyle.
As mentioned before, I had a bit of a faux pas moment with my brother's Christmas present. "Well John, you are looking a bit bigger this year" my dear brother had told me. Did it hurt at first? Yes. Unfortunately the truth can hurt but it helped to open my eyes. And what really threw my eyes wide open?
I took a long weekend away to my usual haunt in Alicante with some close friends. We try to do it most years around the new year's period. As usual, the beer was flowing alongside quick & convenient food - chips, burgers, oily omelettes, kebabs and even cakes. My friend Anna-Marie took a photo of me during a kareoke night to put on her bar's Facebook page.
I could have died when she showed me the photo. Whilst everyone laughed at my grouchy looking face framed by a Santa hat and tinsel, my eyes were focused on my mid-section. I remember thinking "Jesus, am I actually that big now!?". At 5ft6, I was starting to feel as wide as I did tall. Posting the below picture has been a tough decision to make but I know that this picture is needed to illustrate how I was before Slim Transformation. Meet me, John Ball, 3 months ago over the festive period:
"Look, if you want things to change, you have to go out there and make the change happen"
Wise words spoken by my brother. He had little sympathy when I complained about how I looked in the holiday snaps. "That's why the jumper I got you didn't fit". Ouch. I couldn't help but think of my niece's friend who had lost almost 2 stone in 2 months. "She is looking great, isn't she?" laughed my niece when I mentioned her friend's weight loss. That's when she filled me in on how she had done it.
Flash forward so I am not repeating myself from "A Familiar Tale..." and I found myself opening a reply email from Slim Transformation. One of their clinical advisors had answered all my questions within that email and explained what the next steps would be if I wished to progress. There was no pressure from the advisor, he even stated "Feel free to take your time to have a think about it. Our door is always open". This lack of pushiness enticed me in further. After several more emails, I found myself booked in to the London clinic.
It may sound silly but I was so nervous when I arrived. I know my niece's friend had said the company was non-judgemental and really put her at ease but I couldn't help but feel nervous. For the first time, I felt a sense of shame about my body and I didn't like it. Negative thoughts swirled around in my head. Was the Clinician going to be some super-model that I'd never be able to look like? Would the medication not work for me? Would I end up gaining weight? What if they said my case was hopeless?
No. Focus on the positive reviews. Focus on the pros from the Facebook posts. Focus on your niece's friend who lost 2 stone in 2 months.
"Mr. Ball?" called a friendly female voice. "I'm Natasha, one of the advisors" smiled a lovely blond haired lady. I was shown to a room where I met Andrew. He introduced himself as the prescribing clinician for Slim Transformation and explained what we would go through today, reinforcing what the emails had already explained. Something about the pair of them instantly put me at ease - they both seemed friendly, genuine and down-to-earth. There was no judgemental tones, no funny looks and Natasha explained how she had used the meciation to battle her own weight-demons.
The consultation lasted around 25 minutes. They did a range of clinical observations, took my blood sugar, height & weight and probed into my daily exercise (of which I did none) and eating habits (looking back, they were pretty poor). I explained about my lack of motivation, the reasons I felt were behind my weight gain and what I had tried to break the mould. I felt at a loss of what to do.
"That's okay to feel that way. We all have moments where we feel completely lost. All it takes is someone or something to point us in the right direction so that we can find our way." - Natasha Collins, Nutritional Advisor.
I must admit, I felt at ease immediately with them both but there was still that nagging voice at the back of my head that told me it just wouldn't work. "Whilst we cannot 100% guarantee weight loss for every person, 100% of our clients have lost weight since we started in this field 2 years ago, ranging from 5lbs to 19lbs" assured Andrew. I would take anything at this point in time.
I left the consultation already feeling like a change had begun. I felt a surge of something I hadn't felt in a long, long time. Motivation. I felt the positive motivation to make a change for myself and to put my health first. It was time to start looking after myself again and to fit into my Christmas Pringle jumper. Heck, even to fit back into my clothes from a year ago would be great.
So tomorrow when my Saxenda pen arrives, I will start my weight loss journey. I was given several pieces of literature to read and to help guide me during the programme. And a ping on my phone notified me to an aftercare email which contained more information on maximising the Saxenda's weight loss properties.
So let's see how this goes. Let's see if a real change to my body is possible.
To be continued...