A 34-STONE man is looking forward to a slimmed down Christmas after he shed more than half his body weight.
Dave Lancaster from Warwick struggled with his weight from a young age, spending years yo-yo dieting between takeaways, processed ready meals and alcohol.
And when his mother died two years ago, the 44-year-old ballooned to his heaviest weight at 34.5 stone.
Not only was the call centre team leader unable to walk to the end of the street, but he developed type two diabetes and his nights were plagued by sleep apnea – a condition which interrupts breathing during sleep.
Dave made the decision to give up alcohol and join Slimming World – and is now weighs just over 15 stone.
He said: ” My world had become smaller and smaller due to my failing health and lack of mobility.
“When I joined it was a very low point in my life and I could no longer walk to the end of my street and was in constant pain.”
The group provided Dave with a healthy eating plan, focusing on balanced and satisfying meals, rather than a ‘restrictive diet’.
And with support from staff and friendships made through Slimming World, Dave has since shed 19 stone, and is no longer on medication for diabetes.
He said: “Giving up things like food or alcohol wasn’t a difficult thing strangely, but learning to give up punishing myself for ‘failure’ and using it to confirm that I wasn’t worth success or didn’t deserve it, was much more difficult.”
And while the group mainly focused on clean-eating, Dave’s own determination to conquer his physical incapabilities soon kicked in.
Now his grueling efforts – with torn calf muscles and swollen feet taking him a painstaking hour and half to manage just one mile – have blossomed into a passion for walking.
Dave now walks over 70 miles a week, and has clocked up more than 4,000 miles since he got the bug.
He added: “I feel for the first time in my life that I can move through the world unaided and that there’s no place that’s inaccessible – be it mountains or country.
“My life has completely changed and I couldn’t have done it without the support and friendships I’ve found in this group.
“They’ve all seen my highs and lows and it’s important to me that others benefit from both my failures and successes.
“I’ve made many friends along the way that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and I have realised in many cases I’ve begun to promote positive changes in others, which is immensely gratifying.”