'I lost weight to avoid having to inject myself with insulin'
GRANDFATHER Peter McLaren received a shocking wake-up call about his weight when doctors told him he would have to start injecting insulin.
The 61-year-old exam invigilator from Daneside Country Park, in Somerford, said he was determined not to become a diabetic 'junkie' after his dosage for type 2 diabetes reached 11 tablets a day.
He said: "I had previously been quite fit. I did a lot of work as a cricket umpire, but for the last couple of years I had been spending my weekends at the pub, watching football, drinking beer and eating pub food.
"My weight slowly increased and I was almost 21 stone at my heaviest.
"The doctors said I couldn't safely take any more tablets to treat my condition because of my size, and advised that I start taking insulin with a needle.
"I thought, 'there's no way I'm injecting myself'. It was time to lose some weight and get healthy."
When Peter joined his local slimming world group in Congleton in September 2011, he weighed in at 20 stone 12.5 pounds and had a 50 inch waist.
During a six-week holiday to Egypt in January 2012, Peter saw the weight drop off as he combined his new healthy diet with several hours of walking a day.
"I didn't find it that hard to change my diet to be honest," he said.
"I knew I had to reduce my drinking and the mentors at Slimming World showed me that I could still eat all the things I enjoy, like potatoes or a full English breakfast, but that I needed to prepare them more healthily.
"Even though my holiday was all-inclusive, I managed to stick to the diet and after the six weeks walking around Egypt I had lost a stone."
From then on, Peter included walking and exercise in his daily routine.
He said: "I decided to get back into umpiring for my local cricket clubs.
"Instead of spending every weekend at the pub watching the football, I thought I should put something back into the sport I love."
Peter now umpires for the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League most weekends in the summer, and returned to Egypt for three weeks in September of this year.
He said: "It felt so much better being able to walk around in the heat without getting out of breath. I love to explore and I was able to see things that I might not have before."
Peter said his children, James, aged 32, and Liz, aged 29, are proud of his weight loss.
"They think it's fantastic," he said.
"I'm now down to four tablets a day from 11. It's so much better not having to take all that medicine every day. I feel a lot happier and healthier."
Slimming World Consultant, Tina McCarthy, said Peter had always stayed focused on losing weight, despite being the only man in the Congleton Slimming World group.
She said: "We're very, very proud of Peter.
"He never missed a meeting unless he was on holiday. He's an active member of our community, always posting recipes or suggestions for other members on our Facebook page."
Tina said the group would welcome more men to their sessions.
She added: "There's no reason to think the group is just for women. We're a very accepting group and we'd love to have more men come along to get healthy."
To find your nearest Slimming World Group, just visit the website www.slimmingworld.com and enter your postcode.