Stuffing a slice of toast into my mouth, I rushed out of the door. “Come on Dad, hurry up!” called my daughter, Phoebe, 12. It was July, 2010, and Phoebe and my other daughters, Shai, 13, and Pache, nine, were fizzing with excitement.
We were off to Legoland in Windsor, Berkshire, for an end-of-term trip with the girls’ school friends and some of their parents. The girls couldn’t wait, but I was nervous. I’d always refused to go to theme parks because, tipping the scales at 23st, I was terrified I’d get stuck on one of the rides! So, while the girls shrieked their way around the park’s rollercoasters, I stood at the side-lines. But as their excitement gathered momentum, it was clear that they weren’t going to let me sit it out forever. “Come on the log flume with us Dad!” Phoebe cried. “Please?” added Shai. Unable to turn them down, I joined Phoebe and Shai in the queue for the Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench ride, while Pache waited with the other parents at the bottom. After queuing for 20 minutes, the girls went down first. “See you at the bottom!” they shrieked. Then it was my turn… I got into the boat with two other parents and one of their sons.
“Here we go,” they shouted. The boat went up a ramp, before speeding downhill with a big splash. We were absolutely soaked! But as we neared the end of the ride, the boat came to a sudden halt. “What’s happening?” I mused. Seconds later, another boat smashed into the back of us. “I think we are stuck,” I mumbled. After a minute, there were even more boast piling up behind us. I knew exactly why… Waiting at the end of the ride, I could see the girls were giggling, but I was mortified. I was weighing down our boat so much it couldn’t move through the shallow water!
Unsure what to do, I grabbed the wall and the side of the ride and used my hands to push our boat away from the pile-up. “Talk about a splash landing,” I joked, trying to hide my embarrassment.
Eventually, after five minutes, we reached the exit and an assistant helped us out of the boat. “Are you all right?” asked one of the other parents. “Yes,” I mumbled, still crimson with shame. For the rest of the day, I was too scared to go on anything else. At least getting into deep water was the incentive I needed to do something about my size. For the last three years, I’d let my weight creep up. I ate McDonald’s for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and snacked on sweets and crisps while driving my work van. For dinner, I’d have chicken and chips. I’d been to a slimming class before, but the group was mainly made up of women and I felt very out of place. Before long, I was right back tucking in to fast foods. But after my log flume humiliation in front of my kids, I was more determined than ever.
I started swimming a mile three times a week, swapped my fast food lunches for low-fat sarnies, and stopped munching sweets and crisps in the van that I drove for my security job. Despite my best efforts though, I still wasn’t shedding as much weight as I wanted to. So I downloaded an app to count my calories and started using FORZA Raspberry Ketone slimming pills after a friend recommended them. The pills helped to reduce my hunger and encouraged my body to burn more fat, as well as giving me more energy - helping to keep me away from temptation.
And after six weeks, my clothes started to feel loose! Within a few months, other people noticed too. “Looking good Dad!” said Shai. “Hey, slim Jim,” my mates quipped. By March 2013, I’d got down to 15st 11lbs. “I can fit my arms around you for a proper cuddle now,” beamed Phoebe. It’s now three years since I got stuck in the log flume, and I feel healthier than ever. My weight might have caused a pile-up on the ride, but now I’m slimmer, I feel like a new man and can go back to the theme park without worrying that I’ll become the main attraction again! - Pete Cavender, speaking to Georgina Childs