Gary McHugh

My Weight Loss Journey From 19 stone 7 to 11 stone.

Why I Did It, How I Did It

Before & After

Psssst! There are some secrets in the last section of this page I used to boost my weight loss.

My Reasons
How I Did It
Why I Am Still Doing It
Tips And Secrets

Target Achieved!

Why I Did It
My Reasons

Well, I suppose there is no need to state the obvious here. I was morbidly obese. Before COVID, I was a full-time comedian, yes really, that was how I made my living. When the doctor used to tell me I was morbidly obese, I would always tell him he was wrong that I was quite happy being fat. I never could resist the play on words.

Of course, being a comedian gave me lots of great excuses for my weight "Skinny comedians are not funny", "People expect comedians to be fat" and the biggest lie of all the one above "I am quite happy being fat."

The truth is I wasn't happy at all. I hated the way I looked and felt. At 49 years old, I had aches and pains I should not have at that age, I could not walk without getting out of breath, I couldn't even put my socks on without a struggle. Just before I started this journey, I was seriously considering buying a  sock frame on eBay because I was struggling to bend down.

So What Triggered Me to Do Something?

Answer: This video. My wife Kristi filmed me trying to bounce my Grandson on my knee, and as you can see, there wasn't much knee to bounce him on, the enormous belly was in the way.

When I saw this video, I was appalled at myself and vowed to do something about it.

I could not believe I had allowed myself to get so big. I knew it was time to stop living in denial and take some action.

The problem was, I knew there was NO WAY I would stick to a gym regime, and there was even less chance of me sticking to any diet, I love my food too much. But...

Enough Was Enough!

▼How I Did It ▼

How I Did It
No Dieting, No Gym

I am not about to reveal some new fad diet or miracle weightloss pill. I am sure you have heard about Slimming World. While I hated the idea of a "Fat club", this was what I chose to check out, and boy am I glad I did.

Plucking Up The Courage

I should state here without my wife Kristi encouraging me I would probably be even larger by now and no doubt experiencing severe health issues. She had watched me get bigger and bigger over the years and encouraged me regularly to do something about it until she finally gave up when I refused to listen. Her love and concern fell on deaf, in denial ears.

After seeing the video above, I asked her if she would come with me to check Slimming World out. Being the loving, caring woman that she is she agreed, and I have to say she even looked relieved that maybe, just maybe her message had finally got through to me.


My Reservations

Even after seeing the video above, I did NOT want to go to Slimming World, but I had to do something. The idea of a permanent diet change filled me with dread. I thought it would make me miserable.  Then there were my incorrect mental images, for some reason, I pictured Slimming World being like the fat club on Little Britain with a large group of older women judging me as my 19st 7lb carcass stood on the scales.

It wasn't like that at all! I was welcomed by everyone, treated with kindness and immediately offered encouragement by a really friendly group of people who shared the same struggle I did with food. Shock horror there were men of all ages there too.

The First Meeting

I sat with Kristi in a little back room of a local church hall where the Slimming World meeting was. Our consultant Shelley introduced herself then proceeded to give us the new member talk.

She showed us an eating plan and assured me I would not be on a diet, and I would not be hungry. My mind was saying "You have no idea of my appetite lady" She then showed me a list of "Free Foods" that I could eat as much of as I liked.

I thought here we go, salad, veg and Rivita. I read the list I saw, all meat if it is lean including bacon, pasta, chips done in an air fryer, baked beans and a long list of other "normal" foods. That was it. Now I knew it was a load of rhubarb, no way can you eat as much as you like of all those things and lose weight.

"What about my coffee? I drink about eight lattes a day, and I'm not giving that up for anyone!" I was told that's fine you can use your syns for the milk. All my reservations were being answered, but still, I was sceptical this could NOT possibly work, they were deceiving people.

My mind at this point was planning to show this Shelley woman that she was talking rubbish. I went away still focussed on the "Free Foods" list, and for one week I ate like a pig. I stuck to their cooking methods, but boy did I eat. Cooked breakfasts bacon, egg, beans, fried mushrooms, sausages.  Meals with chips albeit air-fried and not fried. I was determined to prove this was some kind of con and one of those "Too good to be true" deals.

The First Weigh-in

Seven days later we are back at the meeting for the first weigh-in, and I am feeling all smug about to prove to everyone that this was codswallop and I would still end up on a diet or suffering in the gym if I wanted to slim down.

I stood my smug arse on the scales, and I had lost six and a half pounds. I could NOT believe it! I ate for Britain all week. The week after I lost another two and a half pounds and so it went on.

At this point, I had to admit I was the one full of codswallop. It clearly worked, so I started to listen and learn.

Seventeen months later, at the time of writing this, I have lost four stone thirteen and a half lbs. I am about to hit my five stone award, which will leave me with another three and a half stone to go to my target weight. I decided at the beginning I was going to do this slowly so it could be maintained for life and I would not go back to my old habits.

UPDATE: I reached my 8½ stone weight loss target on 6th June 2024

▼Why I Still Go To Group Every Week ▼

Why I am Still Doing It
The Future

After joining, and steadily learning a healthier way of eating, I am now a massive advocate of Slimming World. My wife Kristi lost over two stones, hit her personal target and is looking even more gorgeous. My Mum and her partner watched our success and joined their local group in Leeds. Mum has lost one stone 8lbs, which is substantial for her as she is only a little 'un, and at 70 years old, she is now finding walking and stairs much more manageable. Her partner Michael has dropped over three stones and is looking awesome too.

Slimming World is NOT a diet; I would never have lost all this weight if it were. You can eat ANYTHING you want! It is all about how you cook the food and replacing ingredients that are bad for your waistline with something more healthy that often results in better flavour too.

It is that terrifying phrase “A lifestyle change” but here's the thing it is just a change, not a sacrifice. We eat so much delicious food now, meals that are way tastier than the junk we ate before. We try new meals all the time, it is so enjoyable. Both Kristi and I now also have a much healthier relationship with food.

Name ANY food or meal you love, and I GUARANTEE there is a healthier, tastier Slimming World version of it.

I will keep going to the group because once you reach your target, they continue to offer support when you start a new journey to maintain your healthy weight. Not only that, I have a lot of friends there and love to help them too, whether they are winning (which means they are losing he-he) or especially if they are having a tough week,

I still have not set foot in a gym, but my energy levels have improved 1000% I no longer get out of breath walking, I walk for about 15 minutes every night literally just round the block. Rather than coming down the stairs like an old man, I now fly up and down them without effort. I no longer grunt when I get off the sofa nor do I have to shuffle to the edge of it to stand up, and best of all I am not tired all the time like I used to be.

I now have a second grandson and have plenty of knees available for bouncing both of them!

I also previously suffered badly with acid reflux, that has gone now. The many pills the doctor gave me did not work, but eating lots of yummy food did, imagine that? My knees also no longer hurt me, and I rarely get the colds or chest infections I seemed to constantly fall foul to before.

Oh, and I never bought the sock rack, I have NO issues AT ALL putting my socks on now. I feel a million times better.

The Catches

Ahhhh you knew they were coming right? Well, here they are:

1. You will need to buy new clothes as your old ones start to fall off you and more than once, how awful that is shopping for smaller clothes?

2. You will have to give up an hour a week to go meet new friends, laugh a lot, share ideas and discover even more yummy things to eat.

3. You will deprive the seagulls at the landfill of all that food you used to throw away.

4. You will have to suffer all that encouragement and people who are genuinely happy when you succeed and will encourage you and be there for you on the weeks you don't. It is truly awful.

Helping Others

While I have now achieved my target, I will continue to try as much as I can to help others. I talk about Slimming World excitedly when people notice my weight loss.

Shelley, my consultant, keeps telling me I should become a consultant myself. Those of you that know me will understand it is probably not a good idea, I would not be able to hold my tongue if someone were making excuses, I think the comedian in me might get me in trouble. That said I will continue to encourage people to check out their local group. Slimming World has been truly life-changing for me, and it is far too good not to share.

▼Secret Tips ▼

My Personal Little Secrets
Tips To Help You Lose More Weight

Let me state here I am not a consultant, but these are things that fit into the Slimming World plan that helped me on my weight loss journey.


One thing I REALLY missed was bread. Now, as part of the Slimming World plan, you can eat a couple of slices of whole-grain bread per day as a healthy extra. My challenge with that is two diddy slices does nothing for me, and I am not that keen on whole-grain bread.

Then quite by accident, I discovered Broghies, which are a game-changer. They are bowl-shaped pieces of popped grain, either wheat or corn. They are fantastic for replacing bread. Yes, they are crunchy which is a little different, but now I would much rather have a ham salad Broghie than that gooey, stick to the roof of your mouth sensation bread gives.

Also, if you put hot food on Broghies, they get softer, giving a similar texture to the bread. You can make an awesome fried egg butty with a Broghie, and for sweet treats, the Banoffee Broghie is a touch of paradise.

At 1 syn (20 calories) each, they fit easily into the Slimming World plan, and you are not limited to two a day.

You can get Broghies at this website.

Sweet Treats

I was the worlds number 1 chocaholic I was sure I would hate giving up chocolate. The first point here is you CAN still have chocolate on slimming world within your syn allowance. That said after being on plan for a while, you will learn there are much better sweet treats for less syns here are some of my lifesavers.

Weetabix Pancakes
(A daily occurrence for me and I will NEVER get bored of them)

2 Eggs and 1½ Weetabix crushed up and mixed into a paste, add a few plunges of low calorie vanilla coffee syrup into the mix then just cook like a pancake with fry light of course. Top with raspberries, sliced banana and half a pot of white chocolate Kvarg to substitute as cream. 5grams of choc shot drizzled on the top to finish. Very naughty tasting and perfectly on plan. Great breakfast!

Upside Down Cheesecake
The other half of the white chocolate Kvarg in a small ramekin, 5 or 6 raspberries pushed in, 5g of chocshot on top, then cover with the remaining half of the Weetabix from above. Perfect little desert for after tea.

You can have two of these little chocolate covered treats for one syn fabulous for a quick chocolate fix.

Banoffee Broghies
Oh my goodness this is the closest you will come to going to Gregs and stuffing your face with cream cakes. They are substantial, heavenly and will hammer that need for sweet for sure. At just three syns they are way more enjoyable than a Freddo Frog for five syns.

Slice a banana onto a Broghie
Drizzle with 1 tsp of Sweet Freedom caramel syrup.
Add 8g of 30% less fat squirty cream
Drizzle with 1 tsp of sweet freedom choc shot.

Muller Light Yogurts
At half a syn each great to kill a sweet craving.

Pudding For Breakfast
A delicious, sweet breakfast meal.
Half a pot of Lidl flavoured Skyr just 1.5 syns for the whole large pot (be careful with Aldi or Arla Skyr way more syns), Vanilla is my favourite.
Crumble in one dry Weetabix and mix

It is like a pudding for breakfast. 3.5 - 4 syns or just one syn if you use the Weetabix as half of one of your healthy extra B's

Frozen Chocolates
One third of a pot of vanilla Skyr (150g) from Lidl ½ Syn
2 Teaspoons of any Choc Shot 1 syns (the salted caramel choc shot is AWESOME here)
11g Options hot choc powder (or equivalent low sugar hot choc) 2 Syns

Mix the above in a bowl until thoroughly blended together. Scoop into a little latex sweet mould and freeze for a couple of hours.

As they melt in your mouth you get the caramel flavour, the chocolate flavour and because of the texture of the Skyr, you get that chocolate texture as they melt.

With my sweet mould the above will make 26 of these chocolates for 3½ syns.

▼In Conclusion ▼

Want to lose weight and keep it off?
Slimming World All The Way
  • No dieting
  • Optional but recommended exercise
  • Discover lots of tasty new meals
  • Make great new friends and share in each others success
  • Feel much better
  • Get your mojo back

Weight Lost

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How Long Did It Take Me?

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How Much Better I Feel

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Find Your Local Slimming World Group

Don't delay they are waiting to welcome you I promise. You will be so glad you did.