Slimming regime saves life of man with learning difficulties

Slimmer Gary Watson with his Mr Sleek 2018 award after shedding five-and-a-half stone.
Slimmer Gary Watson with his Mr Sleek 2018 award after shedding five-and-a-half stone.

An inspirational man with learning difficulties has saved his life with the help of a slimming class in Bulwell.

Gary Watson, 53, piled on the pounds to such an extent that he faced numerous health problems.

Gary Watson before he embarked on his slimming challenge.

Gary Watson before he embarked on his slimming challenge.

Things got so bad that his sister, Linda, feared his life was in danger. She said: “I was worried that Gary wouldn’t make it to the next Christmas.

“I thought Christmas 2017 would be the last one with my brother. But thanks to Madi Dhillon, who runs the Slimming World class at Bulwell, Gary has turned his life around, despite his learning difficulties.”

Gary embarked on his slimming challenge in January last year. He safely made Christmas and in just over a year, he shed five-and-a-half stone.

At first, he found it hard to read the books he was provided with and struggled to understand his slimming plan. But the group stepped in to support him by using visuals in its sessions. Fellow slimmers also helped him to do his shopping and buy the right foods.

Gary said: “I feel amazing. My energy levels have been boosted, and my health conditions have totally improved.

“I can walk around a lot more without getting out of breath, and my biggest achievement is being able to do my own gardening, which I never thought I would be able to do.”

Gary’s slimming success earned him two awards within the group -- Mr Sleek 2018 and Greatest Loser 2019 -- which he accepted with great pride.

He added: “I have had to drop sizes in my clothes, but I have gained a lot more confidence.

“I thought this would be a real challenge, but my journey with Slimming World has saved my life.

“The group made things so easy. It’s a simple, healthy lifestyle that I can follow forever.

“Losing five-and-a-half stone has improved my quality of life and now I can’t wait to get to my next target.”

As well as his weight loss, Gary’s body mass index (BMI) has also dropped from 51.1 to 39.5, improving his sleep patterns and decreasing his obesity level massively.

Madi, who runs the Bulwell group, said: “Gary has done amazingly well. I’m so proud of how far he has come, despite his challenges. He is a true inspiration to us all.”