A Northern Ireland man has completely transformed his life after hitting rock bottom with his weight.
Peter Large, from Carrickfergus, knew he had to get things under control after struggling to tie his shoelaces without feeling breathless.
The 27-year-old weighed 23 stone, and wore baggy clothes in an attempt to hide it, which he said did not work, but now he’s a different man after shedding seven stone in a year.
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“I was utterly miserable and loathed the way I looked and felt,” he said.
“When I was in Edinburgh in 2019, I was walking up the Royal Mile, which is mostly uphill and cobbled, and as you can imagine, hauling 23 stone up a hill was tough. A man of my age should not be stopping to catch his breath walking up a hill.
“It does sound ridiculous but when I was getting ready for work one morning and as I was bending down to tie my shoe laces and got light headed and by the time I was finished I was out of breath. I knew then that I had to at least try to get my weight under control – so I joined my local Slimming World class at the Downshire Church.”
Speaking to Belfast Live, Peter’s consultant Doreen Wilson said she has noticed big changes in Peter, which are not just weight related.
Peter lost seven stone in one year, and went on to lose a further one and a half after this, with the help of Doreen and their community within the weekly group.
Doreen said: “He joined our group November 2019 and joined us after realizing he needed to lose weight to improve his health. He lost one stone in the first five weeks and fully emerged himself in Food Optimizing with amazing results. Knowing that he did not have to do without anything with our plan helped him achieve his results.
“When lockdown happened in March 2020 Peter had lost three stone in total but was so determined that he would not give up. We changed to a virtual service and Peter went on to lose seven stone by November 2020.
“Peter has gone from a being a very shy young man in group to being totally confident and an inspiration to other members each week. He has won numerous awards including Man Of The Year 2021 and Greatest Loser 2021 and 2022. We are so proud of his journey.”
Although delighted with his progress, Peter says it is a challenge to come to terms with how he looks today.
He says people are now telling him that he looks happier, a compliment which means the world to someone who had an unhealthy relationship with food.
“At my heaviest I was 23 stone and contrary to popular opinion, I did not hide it well. I would wear big jumpers, and baggy jeans which did not suit me. Looking back on old photos, I have realized that I was abusing myself with food and even though I may be smiling in the pictures, I was not happy in most of them.
“Now it is completely different and people are very quick to point that out to me.
“My first ‘non scale victory’ was walking into a shop and buying clothes straight off the peg, something that I hadn’t been able to do since I was fourth year in secondary school. I had gone from a 4XL to a L – and my wallet has not thanked me, or forgiven me since!
“I am a lot more mobile than I was before. I am running up stairs in half the time and enjoy 10km walks which I simply would not have been able to do before.
“Since losing seven stone I’ve a lot more mobility in my joints and my back doesn’t ache half as much. I am really grateful to the group and I think the thing i enjoy most about it is the sense of community it brings .
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of the members and look forward to seeing them every week. It’s also great to dedicate an hour a week to better yourself – it’s a kind of therapy to me, in a way.”
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