A Northern Irish man who weighed in at 434 pounds turned his life around after he got stuck at a turnstile at a Celtic game.
Thomas McIntyre (43), from Larne, County Antrim, lost a total of 246 pounds and has been named the Slimming World Man of the Year 2013.
McIntyre, who is six foot tall and had a waist measuring 74 inches, works as a fresh food manager at Dunnes Stores, an Irish supermarket. Amazingly after his dramatic weight loss he went from an 8XL suit size to a medium and his waist now measures 34 inches.
Despite being the “typical jolly fat bloke” McIntyre eventually got sick of embarrassing situations such as getting stuck in a turnstile. The football mad McIntyre was in Glasgow on his way in to a Celtic game when he got stuck.
He told the Herald Scotland, “Getting stuck in a turnstile when I went to Partick Thistle's ground wasn't much fun either. After that I had to go in through the disabled gate every time I went to a football game.”
McIntyre spoke about his dramatic transformation. He explained, “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.”
For over 20 years McIntyre had been over weight. He had given up playing football but continued eating junk food. His size continued to grow and during the lead up to his wedding five years ago his suit was sized 8XL.
He said, "My weight felt like a huge burden when I married my beautiful wife Claire. She's always loved me for me but getting a suit was difficult and I felt awful in it.”
McIntyre was also on various medications for health problems including high blood pressure, breathing problems and fluid retention.
He lost 154 pounds on a diet but he was left hungry and couldn’t keep it up. He then regained the weight and another 42 pounds.
Then in February 2012 he joined Slimming World. He said, “I came back after the first week and found out I'd lost 10.5lb, I was completely won over."
Although he’s made a massive transformation the Irishman says the best thing is how he feels about himself. His confidence levels are high, he’s learning to drive, and he and his wife are hoping to start a family.
“Everything's easier and I'm so much happier. If we are lucky enough to have children, I'll be the active dad I always wanted to be and that's really important to me.
"I feel like life passed me by for years so I'm determined to live it to the full now.”
He added, “I can fit through the turnstiles when I go to the football now so there's no embarrassment there. In fact, that's the only downside to my weight loss because I have to queue with everyone else.”
Top movies about Northern Ireland's Troubles