WILLIAM Glass had tried various ways to shift excess pounds in the past, but always ended up piling them back on. That all changed when he enrolled on a 12-week programme called Dietbusters, which combines exercises classes with tips on healthy eating. The 65-year-old retired Royal Mail engineer, from Haydon Wick, took part in the scheme last year and is thrilled that he’s still more than one and a half stone lighter and has stacks more energy. William said: “It’s not about crash dieting, but making sustainable lifestyle changes – that’s why it works so well. I’ve kept up the exercise by going to circuit training classes and know a lot more about what to look out for on food labels. I can still enjoy treats and feel fantastic.” As a child William was a keen swimmer, which made him broad-chested. Although he has always stayed active, playing squash regularly, his weight crept up over the years. He said: “My family is stocky so that, along with the swimming, gave me a 48inch chest. In retirement I probably slowed down a bit and you struggle to burn things off as easily. I didn’t know much about what foods to avoid and at my heaviest I tipped the scales at 18 and a half stone.” William knew he needed to lose weight and tried different diets in a bid to beat the bulge. “It works at first, if you’re really strict with yourself, but inevitably you slip back into old habits and it all goes back on. I had almost given up hope until I went to the doctors and he suggested trying Dietbusters,” he said. “I was sceptical at first, but after the first session, I knew this was just what I needed. It starts with a discussion about diet – what traps to avoid, like hidden sugars in low-fat foods, and sensible alternatives. Then there’s 45 minutes exercise, such as shuttle runs and squats, which starts slow but becomes more vigorous as you gain strength and speed.” The council-run scheme, which is free for those who meet certain criteria, features a weekly exercise class and practical tips and guidance about food and drink. Eligibility criteria includes being obese, having type 2 diabetes or being eligible for free prescriptions. Alternatively it is possible to pay £42 for the 12-week programme, which is suitable for people of all abilities including those who are completely new to exercise. Reducing his daily fat and sugar intake combined with exercising three times a week certainly did the trick, as he noticed the pounds not only coming off but staying off. William said: “I’m now 17 stone and it’s still going down. The best bit is I haven’t done anything too drastic, so know I can keep it all up. I can still enjoy the occasional curry and have a biscuit now and then. The main thing is moderation, make it as fresh as possible and of course keep up the exercise.” Thrilled with the results, he has also inspired his wife Jane, aged 63, to join him so they both now go to circuit classes three times a week. He said: “We motivate each other, particularly if it’s dark and wet and you don’t fancy going out – you always feel much better afterwards. We love it really and we’ve also started doing more home cooking, incorporating plenty of fruit and vegetables. It’s not a drag, but just a better way of life. We feel great.” Find out more about Dietbusters by asking your GP or going online at www.swindon.gov.uk/dietbusters. You can check whether you’re a healthy weight by calculating your Body Mass Index at www.nhs.uk/livewell Find out more about Dietbusters by asking your GP or going online at www.swindon.gov.uk/dietbusters. Cllr Brian Mattock, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “People often embark on diets in January in the hope of tackling the effects of festive overindulgence. Dietbusters is a fantastic programme, which is proven to help you lose weight through making realistic and sustainable changes to your lifestyle. It’s definitely worth considering if you want to learn and experience with others ways of improving your diet and taking exercise for the long-term. We get lots of positive feedback about it so I would encourage anyone to give it a try.” The council also offers a scheme called Alive ‘n’ Kicking which aims to help children, aged between 5 and 16, lead a healthier lifestyle. For more information and to register for the programme, please call: (01793) 465412 or email email@example.com. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your sugar intake, sign up for a free Sugar Swaps pack with Change4Life, available by going online at www.change4life.co.uk.