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'Weight loss feels great'

Article provided by NHS Choices

Nick Green's weight rocketed when he stopped smoking. But with a healthy diet and exercise, he lost weight and ran a marathon.

Nick did himself a huge favour when he decided to stop smoking. But when he ditched his 60-a-day cigarette habit, the 40-year-old from Leicester, who works as a regional manager for a garage company, faced another problem: his weight began to rise.

"I was around 13 stone, but quickly that rose to 15 stone," remembers Nick, who lives with his wife Isobel and their two young children. "My diet was never good because I ate a lot of takeaways, but now my portion size had grown and I'd started to drink more."

By December 2004, Nick's weight had risen to 118kg (18st 9lbs). He visited his GP for a blood pressure check because high blood pressure runs in his family. He was told that he, too, had high blood pressure. Nick's GP gave him a choice: lose weight or start taking daily medication to lower his blood pressure.

"My weight was already making me feel terrible," says Nick. "I was struggling to breathe in bed at night and even walking made me tired. The news about my blood pressure was the last straw."

Nick signed up for a local weight loss class. "I was very nervous that I'd be the only man at the class," he says, "but there were two other men there. Every week, the group leader talked to us about healthy eating and suggested new ways to enjoy food while decreasing calories."

A healthy diet

Nick chose to follow a diet that allowed him to eat lean meats, vegetables and fruit, but didn't mean he had to count every calorie. "A plan that required constant counting would never have worked for me. I wanted more flexibility.

"Sticking to the plan wasn't too hard because I was still able to eat my favourite meals, such as chilli con carne and spaghetti bolognese. But I used only a little lean meat and bulked up the size of the meal with vegetables. I swapped biscuits for fruit and started to drink less."

In the first week, Nick lost 3.2kg (7lbs). After six months he'd lost 19kg (3st). Feeling motivated, he bought a treadmill and started walking briskly on it for 20 minutes a day.

"The key for me with exercise was building up really gradually," explains Nick. "After a few months I was running seven miles. Now, I've just completed the Leicester marathon."

By sticking to his healthy eating plan and continuing to run, Nick's weight has fallen to a healthy 87kg (13st). His blood pressure has returned to normal.

"Physically, I feel better than ever," he says. "I can run around in the park with the kids. Before, I couldn't even walk to the park with them.

"To other slimmers I'd say persevere. Make small changes, stick to them, and you'll get there."

More information

Begin your weight loss journey by following the 12-week weight loss plan.

Learn the basics of a healthy diet in Eight tips for healthy eating.

There's lots more information and advice in Lose weight.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices

Record managed by Oxfordshire Family Information Service