A student nurse from Banbury who lost 8st in a bid to set a better example to patients has been named Slimming World’s Young Slimmer of the Year 2015.
At his heaviest, Uways Pervez weighed more than 20st and says he found long shifts extremely tiring and struggled to move patients, but has lost more than 8st in just nine months and secured his dream job working in the busy A&E department at the Horton General Hospital.
The 21-year-old said: “I used to get tired all the time and had no energy at all. Nursing is a very physical job and spending 14-and-a-half hours a day on my feet was absolutely exhausting, especially on top of studying.
“I felt really self-conscious about advising patients about their weight because I knew I wasn’t a healthy weight myself and thought they’d think I was a hypocrite.”
Mr Pervez gained more weight when he started studying nursing at Oxford Brookes University in 2012. He said it was a comment from a friend that prompted him to tackle his weight last summer.
“He said: “I lived off takeaways and felt I didn’t have time to exercise, so the weight soon piled on. We were talking in a seminar about a particular condition that affects people who are underweight and my friend joked that I wouldn’t have to worry about ever getting it because I was really fat.
“I didn’t know how to respond and was really embarrassed.”
On visiting his GP for advice in August last year, Mr Pervez was offered vouchers for 12 weeks of support at his local Slimming World Group via the Slimming World on Referral Scheme.
He then began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan and found it easy to fit healthy eating into his busy routine and eat well on a student budget. In the first week he lost 8.5lbs.
Mr Pervez said: “I’d seen a few of my friends posting about Slimming World on Facebook and they seemed to be doing well, so I knew it worked. As a health professional, it was important to me to choose something that was based on healthy eating too, rather than a faddy diet.
“I was still really nervous though. I thought Slimming World was just for women so as a young guy I didn’t ever expect to find myself walking into a group. I was worried about being the youngest there, about being the only man and being the heaviest.
“I soon realised that none of that mattered, everyone was really friendly and started chatting to me.”
Since being on the plan Mr Pervez has dropped to 12st and lost 12 inches from his waist from 44inches to 32inches. He said it isn’t only his appearance that’s altered as a result of losing weight.
He said: “My friends all say that I have much more confidence and I don’t hide away in baggy clothes anymore. I have so much more energy at work too, moving patients is easier and I don’t feel self-conscious about raising the issue of weight with patients now either.
“It’s always been my ambition to work in an A&E department, but at my biggest I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up because it’s such a fast-paced environment. Slimming World really has changed my life so much.”
Carolyn Pallister, public health manager for Slimming World, added: “Uways is setting an amazing example to his patients, but as well as that, his understanding of what it’s like to struggle with his weight enables him to raise the issue with patients in a kind, non-judgemental and empathetic way, which we know results in people feeling more open to making lifestyle changes - just like Uways has.”