A Larne man who won a national slimming competition has been named as one of the UK’s ‘greatest losers’.
Thomas McIntyre was named Slimming World Man of the Year 2013 after losing 17st 6½lbs.
And now he’s added to that inspirational accolade by reaching the final 10 contestants in Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2014 competition.
At more than 31st and with a waist measuring 74 inches, Thomas 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 the 44-year-old wasn’t laughing, his weight was a constant worry and he was convinced he would die young.
Thomas, a fresh food manager for Dunnes Stores, says: “I was the typical jolly fat bloke, always making fun of myself before anyone else had the chance to do it. Deep down though I’d reached the point where I thought about my mortality all the time and the more I worried the more I ate, to comfort myself I suppose. It was a vicious cycle.”
Then in February 2012 a friend, Mauveen Kelly, confided in Thomas how worried she was about his weight and asked him to come to their local Slimming World group with her. He begrudgingly agreed.
Thomas said: “I was worried it would just be another failed diet attempt, but that changed when I met my Consultant Jayson. He’d lost 9st himself and he made me feel like I could do it too. Then when I came back after the first week and found out I’d lost 10½lbs, I was completely won over.”
Thomas began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan and started planning healthy, home-cooked meals as he picked up tips and recipes at his group each week. He never felt hungry and still enjoyed lots of his favourite meals.
Thomas has now lost 17st 6½lbs, going from 31st to 13st 7½lbs and a size 8XL to a medium. His waist has also dropped by 40in to 34in.
And his weight loss recently saw him named as the fourth place runner-up in Slimming World’s Greatest Loser 2014 competition, which recognises the achievements of those Slimming World members who have lost the most weight across the UK and Ireland.
Despite all this, Thomas says the biggest change is in how he feels about himself as his confidence is soaring. He’s learning to drive for the first time and is even hoping to start a family.
He concluded: “Before I joined Slimming World I had no energy, my days off would consist of me just lying on the sofa.
“Now everything’s easier and I’m not pretending to be the jolly fat bloke anymore – I’m genuinely happy.”