An inspirational Larne man who shed more than half his body weight is preparing to launch his own slimming club this month.
At more than 31st and with a waist measuring 74 inches, Thomas McIntyre was used to embarrassing situations caused by his weight, so when he got wedged in a football turnstile while dozens of supporters watched on he simply laughed it off.
But on the inside Thomas wasn’t laughing; his weight was a constant worry and he was convinced he would die young.
But life for the Larne man is totally different now after losing an amazing 17 stone in weight.
He has trained as a Slimming World consultant and is set to open a new Slimming World group just after Christmas.
Thomas owes his incredible weight-loss success to the Slimming World Extra Easy eating plan.
Before his weight-loss, Thomas was on lots of medication for a wide range of health issues including high blood pressure, breathing problems and fluid retention.
He tried losing weight before and managed to shed 11 stone, but that diet left him feeling hungry and deprived and unfortunately, he was unable to sustain the rigid eating pattern.
This led to Thomas regaining all the weight plus an additional three stone, making him the heaviest he had ever been.
The turning point came in February 2012, when a friend, Mauveen Kelly, confided in Thomas about how worried she was about his weight and health.
She asked him to accompany her to the local Slimming World group. Begrudgingly, he agreed to go along.
Thomas said: “I was extremely apprehensive, I was worried it would just be another failed diet attempt.
“But my consultant Jayson was very encouraging and told me about all the fabulous ‘free’ food I could have every single day.
So, when I came back after the first week and found out I’d lost 10.5lb, I was completely bowled over.”
Thomas continued to follow Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and started planning healthy, home-cooked meals based on ‘free’ food choices, as he picked up tips and recipes at his group each week. He never felt hungry and still enjoyed lots of his favourite meals.
Now he loves Slimming World friendly chicken curry, home-cooked mixed grills and full cooked breakfasts.
‘The more ‘free’ food I ate the more weight I lost. Filling up on lots of fruit and vegetables really helped me too,” he added.
“Before I joined Slimming World I had no energy, my days off would consist of me just lying on the sofa. Now everything’s so much easier, my health issues have disappeared, no longer on medication, fitter, more active and I’m so much happier.
“I feel like life passed me by for years, now I’m so determined to live it to the full. I love being out in the countryside breathing in all that fresh air while walking the dog.”
Paying tribute to the support his received at Slimming World, Thomas said: “Staying with the group has really helped me and I could not have seen it through if I had not stayed to image therapy every week.
“I feel this is the main reason why two-and-a-half years later I have maintain my weight loss of 17.5 stone”.
Thomas is now looking forward to opening his own Slimming World Group and supporting others achieve their weight-loss dreams in the New Year.
Anyone interested in trying it out can contact Thomas on 077126 85977 or come along on to the new group on Tuesday, December 29 at Linn Primary School, starting at 7.30pm.