A MAN whose weight problems saw him hit rock bottom says Slimming World classes at the EPIC Leisure Centre helped save his life.
Ray Lenton, of Ellesmere Port, has lost a staggering 4st and nine inches off his waist in just 15 weeks.
And his efforts have landed him the group’s Man of the Year title for 2008.
Ray said: “I was always a big lad and during my late 20s and early 30s my weight started to get to me.
“I was always in and out of hospital for tests on my heart and I was suffering from frequent blackouts – problems that were both attributable to my weight.
“Four years ago a mental breakdown, again a knock-on effect of my obesity, cost me my career, my 14-year marriage and very nearly my life.
“In January 2007 I was the biggest I’d ever been and, to be honest, a bit of a mess.”
He added: “In my previous job at a sports shop they didn’t have a uniform that would fit me so I stood out from every else in the store. This made my self-esteem drop ever further.
“I knew I needed to lose weight and saw an advertisement for Slimming World but I kept putting it off by making one excuse after another.
“Finally one Thursday, feeling very apprehensive, I mustered the strength to walk through those doors at the EPIC and join the group held there. It’s the best thing I ever did.
“Straight away I got an amazing welcome and a great sense of belonging, plus the help I got from my consultant Lisa and the other members at the group was incredible.”
In his first week Ray lost 7½lbs immediately, achieving the half-stone award, and then the following week he shed a further 6lbs to win Slimmer of the Week.
Ray said: “The sense of motivation was incredible. It’s changed my whole outlook on life.
“We share food tips during group, giving me lots of ideas of what to eat. I have also found that it doesn’t need to be expensive to eat healthily.
“In fact, I probably spend less now on my weekly shop than I did before I joined Slimming World. Now I go to the gym regularly and love to swim, and enjoy the extra energy losing weight brings as it enables me to keep up with my children.
“My depression and anxiety have almost completely disappeared. I now no longer need to take the medication I was on previously.
“I’ve regained the confidence I need to get back to work, I feel as though the world’s my oyster.”
For details about Slimming World classes at the EPIC contact Lisa on 0151 348 1798.