24 Bags of Sugar Lost: James Priestley

“Signing up for the programme has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made.”

James (63) always had an ongoing battle with his weight and as he got older it became more difficult to do something about. Having done several diets in the past with differing success, James believed he had a reasonably active lifestyle through playing golf, walking and golf caddying during summer months. His biggest downfall was always his liking for snacks, takeaways and large portions at mealtimes. Health-wise, James would have been classed as morbidly obese suffering from high blood pressure and struggling with sleep apnoea where he would regularly take a nap during the day, or whilst sitting watching TV.

The free FIT Blackpool programme provided James with the kick-start he needed by providing a focus and regular meetings for discussion and exercise. Each week James knew he was going to be under the spotlight and that allowed him to focus on his reasons for doing the programme; to lose weight, eat healthier and become fitter.

James found it useful being at a venue such as Bloomfield Road as it provided a great mix of classroom work and plenty of different environments for the exercises, including pitch side sessions. James is also a lifelong Blackpool fan, so the programme could not have been based in a better location for him. The course enabled him access to parts of the club he had never previously been able to see. For example, the home changing room and down the tunnel.

As a result of the programme, James feels he is far more disciplined and structured in his approach to his food and exercise. Together with his supportive wife they create a weekly meal plan diary and shop just the once for all the ingredients. Physical exercise is normally taken during a morning and then a mixture of walking, jogging & cycling later in the day. James mentioned: “The programme taught me a lot about portion sizes and there is definitely less on my plate these days.”

James also stated: “There is no doubt that I feel so much better within myself, let alone looking better. I no longer have sleep apnoea and I am able to have a good night’s sleep. My blood pressure has reduced and is now considered to be in the normal range. I feel so much more active and no longer crave for the snacks which had become part and parcel of everyday life. Taking exercise has become so much easier and I no longer get out of breath so easily. I have dropped 6 inches from my waist size as well as a noticeable reduction in body shape/size.”

Moving forward from the programme James plans to monitor his weight weekly to have the ability to keep a close watch on it and react accordingly at an early stage if there is a setback. He is also planning on continuing with the best practices he learnt on the programme regarding his healthy eating and exercise.

It was during a half time comfort break at one of BFC’s home games where he noticed a FIT Blackpool poster informing about the programme and how to sign up. James said: “Signing up for the programme has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. There is no doubt as you get older, it gets harder to shed weight. It is a well-run structured programme allowing participants to go at their own pace and set their own goals. The coaches have been brilliant and are always on hand to help, guide and support. For 12 weeks of the rest of your life, what have you got to lose and its free!”

Prior to COVID-19 and the postponement of our sessions, James had a 100% attendance record. The COVID-19 setback did not stop James from achieving his goals and carrying on with his journey. James then attended all of our further weekly sessions that were delivered on zoom and would be very active in the programmes WhatsApp group. James proved to be
a role model throughout the programme, not only exceeding his own goals and expectations but also unknowingly helping, encouraging and motivating others to do the same. James lost an astonishing 16cm from around his waist at the halfway stage of the programme and lost an incredible 24kg weight at the end of the programme, equivalent to 8 and a half bricks or 24 bags of sugar!

The healthier lifestyle and increase in physical activity has led to James exceeding all his targets, becoming fitter and healthier and also dropping a couple of clothes sizes. James will now take what he has learned during the course and implement it in his new healthy lifestyle in the long term.

James is an inspirational case and shows the impact FIT Fans can have in changing people lives for the better, both physically and mentally.

For more information about the free FIT BLACKPOOL programme or to register your interest in taking part from January 2022 please email fitfans@bfcct.co.uk