MAN OF THE YEAR 2017
“If you’d have told me 18 months ago that I’d be able to lose nearly half my body weight in such a short space of time, I’d have laughed at you. There have been times when it's been tough; I'm not gonna lie, really tough, but my Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant, Amanda Howgate, got me through those times and I came out the other side smiling.
“A year and half ago I stepped on the scales weighing a whopping 28 stones four pounds. I was incredibly unfit and one more cheese toastie away from a heart attack. Every father wants to walk their beautiful daughter down the aisle, but if it wasn't for Cambridge Weight Plan’s help, that option would have been taken away from me.
“I think the unfortunate passing away of my father contributed towards my comfort eating. I was so focused on supporting my family through such a devastating time that I lost all consciousness of my own mental and physical health.
“Takeaways were easily accessible and pretty much always waiting for me, along with a glass of wine. I could easily forget everything. It reached a point where I didn’t recognise hunger any more; I was just putting food into my mouth because it was there.
“I needed a reality check and that’s what I got when me and my wife, Emma, got married. I didn't realise how big I had actually got . . . my suit was huge, which cost me an extra £100 for the extra fabric. On the plane to our honeymoon destination I had to wear an extra belt attachment, which was so embarrassing.
“I could not fit on rides . . . I tried to squash my huge stomach in, but it wouldn't fit so I had to - very embarrassingly - leave the ride and was also told ‘I’m sorry sir, you won't fit’. I really didn't see this coming. Looking back at photos, standing next to my old school friends, those glasses of wine and takeaways had visibly gained me an extra 14 stones.
“I was struggling to work as a roofer . . . it was getting harder and harder to do a normal simple task like climb a ladder. It just became an impossible task. Once I did - eventually - get to the top I would be out of breath, sweating and no longer be able to continue work.
“No work meant I could not support my family - what type of man would that have made me? I even realised one day that the ladders I had been climbing were only meant to take the weight of 26 stones, so I had been putting myself in even more danger.
“I was ashamed to say food had taken over my life; it controlled me. Something had to change.
“Scrolling through the endless web pages of diet advisers, weight loss medication and starvation methods (all of which I knew didn't work), I came across an advertisement for Cambridge Weight Plan. This immediately stood out to me as an effective method to get my life back on track.
“With my own personal Consultant, Amanda, who has been there to guide me every step of the way, it felt brutal at first as my stomach wanted rubbish food, not healthy stuff that I had to eat on Step 4. The results were phenomenal. It's now become a new way of life. I ate plenty but healthily and was surprised at how much of the right food I could actually eat.
“A year and a half ago, my two children would ask me to play football with them in the garden and go walking with them in the forest. My son has boxing coaching lessons but I could only stand and watch.
“Why had I let this happen to me? All of these became endless, tiring activities which I just could not participate in. At 28st 4lbs, my life was over. But I was only 44 and didn't want to die. Along with Amanda's help, I relentlessly worked my way from Step 4 to ease me into the Plan as my BMI was high, to Step 1b, which I shall remain on for a while to reach my target of half my body weight.
“In my cupboard we have a sign saying ‘don't take orders from a cookie’. Cambridge Weight Plan has given me and my beautiful family my life back and I will be eternally grateful for that.
“Now, a year and a half on, life has never been better. I do regular weekly walks, swim, score goals in the back garden and join my son in his boxing sessions.
“I am no longer in constant fear of having a heart attack. It seems a simple and assumed thing, but I am now able to earn money for my family . . . climb ladders to reach roof tops without being short of breath and the sweat no longer dripping off my forehead after just five minutes of activity.
“I feel healthier and happier in myself . . . there are so many things I missed out on doing with my family. Now they are just normal little things I take for granted.
“Now I'm half the man I used to be and could not be happier. Thank you for giving me my life back Cambridge Weight Plan.”
Rate: 18 months *The weight lost and/or timeframes are particular to this slimmer. Everyone’s weight loss journey is unique to them
Woman of the Year 2017