A super slimmer is proving to be a winner at the losing game after shedding 4st and simonbeforebeing named Hoo St Werburgh’s Slimming World ‘Greatest Loser’, with the emphasis well and truly on Greatest!

In June 2012, the 42year-old weighed 17st 2lb and his size was affecting every aspect of his daily life. Since joining his local Slimming World group in Hoo St Werburgh Simon Carter is 4st lighter. Not only has he won the best prize of all – a fitter, healthier, happier future altogether – he’s also won the 5.30pm group’s Greatest Loser 2013 prize for the member who’s lost the most weight – and all in just 8 months.

Simon says: “I feel like a new man since losing weight – in fact, I look so different that people I haven’t seen for a while say they don’t recognise me! I feel happier and healthier, I’ve got more energy and I’m much more confident now too.

“Before, I lost the weight I’d pretend I didn’t care that I was bigger than other people, but that just wasn’t true. I hated clothes shopping and playing with my children or just climbing up stairs would leave me out of breath. I felt awful. Now I just want to make up for lost time and experience all of the things that my weight held me back from doing.”

Simon’s weight was also putting a huge strain on his health having suffered a heart attack in 2001 and a stroke in 2004, being left with severe heart disease.

simonafterPeople who are severely overweight, with a BMI* above 30, are more likely to suffer from health problems like coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and cancer, and obesity is linked to a reduction in life expectancy of between seven and nine years.

So, after researching online a variety of diet programmes, Simon joined his local Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall, Pottery Rd, Hoo St Werburgh. He says: “Walking through those doors was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I was embarrassed and terrified that I was going to be the biggest person there. But I needn’t have worried because everyone there was so very friendly and welcoming. I’ve made so many friends there and their support and encouragement has been the best. When you have a lot of weight to lose there are many hurdles to overcome to change old ways and adopt new healthy habits that you can sustain for the rest of your life. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Consultant Ash O’Neill and the rest of the group. Every week they were there with a new recipe or shopping tip and if I was struggling someone always seemed to have the perfect piece of advice.”

The club’s now-famous Food Optimising plan was a surprise too: “People think slimming means going hungry, eating nothing but salad, obsessively counting every calorie you eat and weighing or measuring everything on your plate, but it’s not like that at all at Slimming World. I love food and it’s never once felt like I was on ‘a diet’. I still enjoy all my favourite meals like burgers and chips and roast dinners but I’ve learned how to make small changes like using lean meat or low calorie cooking spray instead of oil or butter. It fits in really well with the rest of my family as well. We all enjoy the same meals and we all feel tons better for it.”

Now Simon’s lost a total of 4st and gone from a 40 inch to a 34 inch waist . He’s also more active nowadays and regularly enjoys a walk with the dog, a bike ride or a round of golf.

Ash O’Neill who runs the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group, says: “The change we’ve seen in Simon is amazing. He’s a huge inspiration to the other members and I hope his success will inspire other people on the Hoo Peninsula who’d like to lose weight and become happier and healthier to take action. There’s a warm welcome waiting at Slimming World.”

Each of Slimming World’s 10,000 groups in the UK and Ireland has their own ‘Greatest Loser 2013’ and winners will go forward to the national competition. Simon is now waiting to find out if he’s in the running for the £3,000 cash prize. He says: “I would love to win but I didn’t lose weight to win a competition, I wanted to feel healthier and better about myself and I’ve definitely done that. I feel great and that’s priceless.”

The Hoo St Werburgh group meets every Thursday at 5.30pm & 7.30pm at The Jubilee Hall, Pottery Rd. For more information contact Ash O’Neill on 01634250170/07733264751