A Chester man is literally half the man he used to be after shedding a colossal 20 stone.
Former nurse Andrew Sale of Garden Lane has shed more than half his original body weight after tipping the scales at 34 stone – through an intensive fitness regime at Chester’s Northgate Arena.
The 38-year-old realised it was time to take action about his weight when he was admitted to hospital amid concerns for his health.
Walking just 20 yards would leave him breathless and Andrew was diagnosed with sleep apnea, with doctors telling him his weight could cause him to contract diabetes or even lose a limb through poor circulation.
Andrew said: “It was like a slap in the chops. I had always been stocky and was quite active in school and played under 18 rugby but playing sport slipped by the wayside when I was allowed into pubs and then the weight started to creep up.
“A normal meal for me would have been a family sized supermarket pizza at 7pm and then before bed a couple of rounds of toast and then up at 7am for beans on toast.
“I was also drinking six or seven pints a night, two or three times a week.
“But being told my life expectancy could be lowered was the wake up call I needed,” he added.
Shortly afterwards, Andrew joined the Brio Weight Loss Guru programme at the Northgate Arena, a specialised weight loss course which combines exercise and healthier eating.
When the weight started to fall off, he added swimming sessions to his routine and then moved onto the Member Journey programme of fitness workouts in the gym and group fitness classes under the guidance of the Brio fitness team.
“I thought the place would be full of pretty people in Lycra, but I soon found that everyone was very friendly and that regardless of size people were there for the same reasons – to stay in shape or get in shape,” recalls Andrew.
“The Brio fitness team worked with me on an exercise programme and as the weight came down my confidence went in the other direction.”
And in case he reverts back to his old ways, Andrew still wears one of his original T-shirts to train in the gym, as a constant reminder of how he used to look.
“The T-shirt is my motivation,” he said. “Eventually it will get far too big for me but I will keep it just in case I wonder at any stage whether sticking to the exercise programme is worth it.
“ I’ll take it out and it will remind me where I’ve come from.
“Before – I used to be embarrassed when people stopped in the street to watch me – even just walking into Chester was an effort.
“People never said anything but I always thought I knew what they were thinking because of my size and the way they looked at me.
Andrew added: “These days I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger but I don’t get those looks any more.”
Steve Edwards, a gym instructor at Brio said he admired Andrew’s determination.
“He has shown remarkable discipline, sticking to the steps of the Brio Member Journey programme workouts we’ve designed for him. “He’s an inspiration to anyone who feels they need to lose some weight or get back in shape,” he said.