“I feel like I’ve taken back control and ownership of my own body”

David, 39, from London, used New Body Plan to swap his dad-bod for pecs and a six-pack

I was fast approaching 40 and I had spent a lot of time in gyms trying to rediscover my hips under the layer of fat that was covering them. Whatever I was doing, I wasn’t making the progress I wanted so I thought, I really need to take control of this. 

I’d worked with various personal trainers and they’d all helped with gym form but when I said to them, “I don’t eat meat, what’s the best thing to do?”, it was always met with silence or comments like, “maybe if you just ate some chicken…”

Because I hadn’t taken too many picture of myself before I started, I thought I was in the prime of my life. But it turns out I had an expanding waistline and clothes that has been loose were starting to feel less comfortable. 

I felt quite frustrated because it wasn’t like I hadn’t been exercising. But I also had a lazy assumption that because I had been vegetarian or vegan for 16 years that I was automatically eating well. That assumption had almost given me a mental shield and allowed me to not question what was happening to my body shape.

The changes I’ve seen are huge. It’s a massive sense of achievement because it genuinely has changed how I feel about myself. I feel a lot more confident and I look a lot healthier.

The sessions were demanding. There wasn’t a session where I left the gym without having a good sweat. But they were enjoyable as well. They pushed you but in a good way.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the diet but they were really tasty, nutritious meals so the food was a pleasant surprise all the way through.

The diet was the big thing and it really made the difference. I re-learned how to snack and it changed my attitude towards alcohol. I realised it was the longest I’d gone without having a drink since I was 18. I thought it would be harder than it was to break that habit of thinking “it’s Friday night, let’s have a glass of wine or a couple of beers.” So those lifestyle things, they made a difference. 

It now feels like I’m in control of what I’m eating. And that is important, especially at a time when so much seems out of your control. I think that has made it more satisfying – to feel like you’ve taken back control and have direct ownership of your own body.

The progress photos were really useful. It helped to focus the mind and remind you why you’re doing it. I was tracking what I was doing at the gym but it really helped to have that visual reference. It is a massive motivator because you can see that it is worth it and it is working.

The key to my success was just sticking to the programme and being honest with myself about how I was training and what I was eating. That’s what made the difference and it was genuinely enjoyable all the way through.

Sometimes you need to look at yourself and take a step to make a change. I had been going through the motions and I hadn’t been achieving what I wanted to so I had to try something different. And once you decide to do that you’ve got to give it your all.

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