Don’t think the less of me!

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PREDICTABLY, dieting, giving up smoking and cutting down on drinking will be among the majority of new year resolutions destined for epic fail.

Yet, with the right help, an encouraging peer group and strong motivation, it is possible to carry one’s resolve through to a successful conclusion.

While it helps to have a wedding, graduation, once-in-a-lifetime holiday or other major event to aim for, many are now looking to change their bad habits not only to lose a couple of jeans sizes but to avoid untimely illhealth or worse.

And the stats show that people who join a group are more successful long-term than those who go it alone.

“It was definitely for health reasons that I finally conquered my constant battle with yo-yo 
diets,” said chef Will Mitchell (53) of Stirling, who travels through to Linlithgow to attend a weekly weigh in at a slimming group.

“I’m a team player and, when my wife suggested joining a weight loss group, I thought I’d give it a go. I got so much out of the group dynamic that the pounds just keep coming off.”

While his initial weigh-in saw him tip 17.5 stone, he had managed to rack up a worrying almost 20 stone at his most overweight. Now, an impressive 14.5 stone, he is just a few pounds short of his target weight.

“I have a 23-year-old daughter and a son who’s 10,” said Will, “and I was getting so ill that I could hardly breathe let alone walk or get up and down stairs.

“I genuinely was worried that my kids would be without a father in their life before too long. As a trained chef, I appreciate good food so I wasn’t looking forward to the usual ‘banned’ foods.

‘‘It was a pleasant surprise to find I could still have a healthy full Scottish breakfast – just grill bacon and sausages instead of frying it in oil. Little changes like that kept me on track.”

Will was one of the growing number of men who are in the obesity ‘red zone’ and, according to the latest Scottish health survey published in October last year, there are more obese men in Scotland than women and, of those, men are fatter and their waistline bigger.

Yet, the survey said, fewer men than women care enough to do something about it or even recognise their size is a problem.

A recent men’s health report confirmed the latest findings adding that, despite well-established links between obesity and ill-health, men appear reluctant to engage in weightloss programmes, regardless of growing evidence of their success.