Weighing more than 19 stone with a 44” waist, the day Andy Gradwell could barely bend down to fasten his shoe laces was a life-changing moment.
Eating the wrong things and lack of exercise had piled on the pounds.
It had crept up on him over the years and he suddenly realised he had been changing his life fit around his ever increasing 44” waistline.
“I just thought I cannot carry on like this and I even stopped counting my weight,” said the 52-year-old of South Back Lane, Bridlington.
He hated going on the beach, in a swimming pool and having to squeeze into plane and train seats.
On a Spanish holiday with his wife Amanda and their children he took them on a rollercoaster ride.
“Two members of staff had to come along to push the safety bar in place. It was a bit embarrassing,” said Andy.
But his size was just part of the problem. His health was suffering, he was frequently short of breath and his blood pressure was all over the place.
“I was not the man I wanted to be and something had to change,” he said. That something came with a cautious decision, encouraged by a male friend, to join the Slimming World Group at Bridlington Rugby Club.
“I was very nervous thinking it would all be Jam and Jerusalem and I would be the only man but it wasn’t like that at all. I soon realised we were all in the same boat and all we wanted to do was reach our ideal weight,” said Andy.
That was in January last year. After losing almost seven stone he is now a happy man weighing in at 12 stone five pound, with a “34” waist and a whole different life.
“It did not take a great deal of willpower, just changing the way you cook things and what you eat plus more exercise,” said Andy, who has even able to take up cycling.
As for his wife and family they think its great. “I know Amanda is very proud of what I have achieved and I think some of the benefits have rubbed off on them in terms of what we eat,” said Andy.
Perhaps the icing on the cake - if he is allowed to eat it - is the Bridlington slimming group have just selected him as their “Man of the Year 2015.”
He could go through to the semi-finals of the national Slimming World Man of the Year 2015 competition, which will be held at Slimming World’s head office in Alfreton, Derbyshire in July. The overall winner will take home a luxury holiday in Chicago or £3,000 cash.