SLIMMING coach David Ducasse says you don’t have to put weight on over the festive period.
The 36-year-old, from South Shields, is celebrating two big milestones this Christmas.
David, who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 with his pop group Scooch, is marking two years since becoming a Slimming World group leader.
David is also celebrating shedding 2st since he first joined the slimming club.
He said: “When I first joined I was 14st and had a 38in waist, but I’d put weight on without even realising it.
“I think I’d just got into a comfortable way of living and wasn’t really paying attention to what I was eating.
“I didn’t notice until I was signed up to do a panto in Consett. I was playing the lead in Dick Whittington, and I’d had to send the designer my measurements for my costumes.
“Then when I went to try them on, I couldn’t get the pants on – it was so embarrassing.
“The costume lady wasn’t very happy with me. I’d told her I was a 34in waist and she said she’d have to put panels in all my pants.
“I knew I’d have to lose some weight, but I wanted a healthy way to do it. Before Eurovision, I’d starved myself by just living on Snack-a-Jacks and yoghurts and I didn’t want to do that again, because it was hell.
“I was in the pantomime with Leah Bell and it was she who told me about Slimming World.
“I went home and looked it up and found a local group. I spoke to the leader, Christine Bateman, and she told me to go along to the group.
“I went, but I was terrified to get out of the car.
“I thought it would be full of little old ladies and I’d be the only man there. I was so embarrassed that I just drove away.
“That night though, Christine rang me to ask what had happened and I told her.
“She told me to go back the following week and she’d meet me at the door and take me in.
“I was right; it was all little old ladies, but I loved it. They shared recipes with me and they were all so lovely.
“I reached my target by the time the panto came around and I didn’t need those panels in my pants after all.”
David was soon asked if he wanted to become a group leader.
He said: “There is such an amazing atmosphere at the groups. Everyone is there for a different reason and hearing everyone’s stories and being a part of it is wonderful – I love it.”
David is now hoping to recruit some new members over the festive period.
He added: “Christmas is a time of celebration and a lot of people come out of the other side feeling like they’ve overdone it.
“You can still enjoy Christmas without putting on weight, though, or if you do, the new year is a good time to get into a new lifestyle.
“It’s strange for me to look at my old clothes now and see how much weight I’ve lost, but it feels amazing, and I want to help other people have that feeling too.
“I’ve never looked back since joining Slimming World.
“People think you have to starve yourself or go to the gym every day to lose weight, but you really don’t.
“What we do at Slimming World isn’t revolutionary, it’s just going back to basics.
“You can still enjoy Christmas and be healthy.”
David runs Slimming World groups at St Margaret’s Church in Prince Edward Road, South Shields, at 5pm and 7pm every Monday, and at the Masonic Hall in Ingham Street, South Shields, at 8.30am and 10.30am on Saturdays.
He’ll also be taking over the groups at the New Crown in Mowbray Road, South Shields, as of Friday, January 3.
They’ll run at 9am and 11am each week.