Pals unite to fight fat af­ter pil­ing on pounds

Sunday Sun - - News - By So­nia Sharma Re­porter so­[email protected]­plc.com

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

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