A Kemsley man has shrunk from super heavyweight to fighting fit – losing more than 13st in just under a year.
Not only has Martin Howard’s quality of life changed beyond all recognition, he also looks a completely different person.
The 38-year-old’s staggering new image saw him become one of 36 entrants from across the UK and Ireland to win a place in the finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2013.
Although he missed out on a prize, the dad-of-four said he already feels like a winner.
He said: “My life has changed 100% and I’ll never go back to how I was.”
Courier manager Martin, from Premier Way, said he decided to fight the flab in January last year when a 25st friend of his had a stomach bypass to help her lose weight.
And at 28st 8lb, he was hardly in good shape himself.
He said: “I was seriously overweight, I couldn’t walk, could hardly work and looked a mess.
“I had serious medical conditions including Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea which meant I had to wear a mask to help me breathe at night.
“I used to be very active when I was younger and rode my bike 30 miles a day. Then I passed my driving test at 17 and the bikes went in the shed.”
Martin said heavy-duty partying during a two-year stint as a part-time DJ in Turkey didn’t help his growing problem.
But the thought of joining the Sittingbourne branch of Slimming World, on a friend’s recommendation, felt a big step.
“It’s not the sort of thing a man normally thinks about, it’s more a woman’s thing,” he said.
“In the second week after I’d signed-up, I was stood in the queue waiting to get weighed, thinking ‘if I haven’t lost any weight I’m not coming back’.
“But I lost 10lbs.”
And he hasn’t looked back, losing a hefty 13st between January and December last year.
Martin is a svelte 15st, which is much better suited to his 6ft 2in frame, and his waist size has slipped from 52in to 32in.
“All my health conditions have completely gone, as well as my gout and arthritis,” he said.