"I suffered a lot of bullying."
A Birmingham man spoke about his weight struggles, revealing that his own family told him they would have to pay someone to marry him.
Ajay Dulay-Kainth decided to make a change after a conversation with his GP about his worsening health.
The 33-year-old explained: “I was a fat child and always obese, being in an Asian family they would always say ‘do something about it’ and I thought, what do I do?
“They said ‘we don’t expect much from you’ and elders would say ‘we will have to pay someone to marry you’.
“I was always self-conscious and had low self-esteem. During my teenage years, I suffered a lot of bullying.
“Then as I got older I had health problems like high cholesterol and blood pressure and realised I needed to make a change.”
In 2015, when Ajay weighed 16st 7lbs, he was scrolling through Facebook and saw posts of school friends who had dramatically lost weight.
He then saw a Slimming World post and gave it a try.
In his first year, he lost 6.5 stone after making some swaps in his diet and taking more walks.
He said: “I don’t use oil but a spray instead, I use sweeteners instead of sugar in my coffee.
“As Asians, I think our parents didn’t educate us on what is enough, they would always say ‘do you want one more roti?’
“Where do you stop? I love my plan as I can have what I like but controlled.
“I can still have a drink or a cheese melt and still lose weight. I can still have my biryani, curries, cheesy chips, dhal and roti but an alternative to the roti.”
As he was losing weight, Ajay met his future husband in the same group.
But a life-changing diagnosis brought him back to square one. Ajay explained:
“My health kept getting worse so I visited my GP and was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).
“My mobility worsened and I couldn’t speak properly, I really declined. I had to take steroids and was also planning my wedding at the same time.
“Then Covid happened as well and I gained a lot of weight again thanks to the steroids, I had no drive anymore and beat myself up a lot.
“When I went to Italy for Eurovision in 2022 and none of my clothes fit, I was embarrassed to show my body in pictures.”
Despite the setback and having to use a walking stick, Ajay did not give up and returned to Slimming World.
After forcing himself to stay active, he lost a further three stone and is now a comfortable 10st 11lb.
Ajay is now a consultant for Slimming World and will be celebrating his fourth wedding anniversary later in 2023, praising his husband for his constant support.
Giving advice to those battling weight loss, Ajay added:
“Be kind to yourself. Take a step back and reflect on yourself.
“Don’t think it’s diet or you can’t eat this or that, you can actually eat but just make some swaps. Losing weight is not that big of an issue so cut yourself some slack.”