Pals unite to fight fat after piling on pounds
THESE two friends have become an inspiration after they lost eight stone between them.
Stephen Walmsley and Darren Pye, both of Chester-le-street, have been shedding pounds with the help of Slimming World and are now encouraging other men to do the same.
The pals, who work for separate printing companies and do long shifts, including nights, had been struggling with their weight for years.
Then Stephen decided to join Slimming World in February last year.
He weighed 19st 5lbs, but within five months he dropped down to 15st.
He changed so much that when Darren saw him again in May at the Metrocentre in Gateshead, he was stunned.
Darren, who was nearly 18st at his heaviest, said: “I saw a massive difference in Steve. He had a huge weight loss and I just said ‘wow, Steve you look great. What have you been doing?’
“Steve then told me he had been going to Slimming World and started telling me how it worked.
“I just thought, if he has done that, surely I can do it. Something clicked and I decided it was time for me to make a change and do the same.”
Darren, a dad-of-three, went along with his friend to the group at the Chester-le-street Masonic Hall and joined their programme.
Both men say they initially thought it would be awkward as weight loss programmes are seen as being mainly female-orientated.
However, they felt welcome and supported, and went on to change their diets, eating more healthily and cutting out junk food.
Stephen, 45, said: “Before Slimming World, I had really bad habits. I always felt tired and never slept very well, and I had problems with my knees due to my weight.
“Since joining, I have changed my food habits.
“I can honestly say I have never felt like I have been on a diet. The food portions are so big and filling. You never go hungry. The programme is very easy to follow and the group is fantastic.”
Darren, who lost 3st 5lbs in six months, said: “Like most people who end up overweight, looking back, it crept up on me over a long time. I’d just eat and drink what I fancied and think I’ll lose it later, but of course I didn’t.
“I was just never really motivated and didn’t really see the problem myself. I enjoyed eating out occasionally and cooking, and liked having a few beers each night after work.
“Then a few years ago I started to delete any photos that were taken as I didn’t like what I was seeing and was embarrassed by my size.”
The 52-year-old was later diagnosed with having a large liver cyst and had surgery to remove it.
“Before the surgery I reached my highest weight of nearly 18st,” he added. I lost around half a stone when the cyst was removed.
“After I recovered, I just carried on pretty much as before until one day I met Steve, who I hadn’t seen for a while. The first thing I noticed was how much weight he’d lost and how great he looked.”
From then on, he started attending the Slimming World group and lost 10lbs in one week.
“The first week I really couldn’t believe how the weight literally dropped off me,” said Darren.
“I expected it to slow down but week after week it continued. It felt great.
“Now when I bump into someone I have not seen for a while and they say ‘wow,’ there’s no better feeling.” totally
■ Darren Pye, before and after his weight loss ■
Stephen Walmsley before and after weight loss