A ‘fat and happy’ man who would think nothing of scoffing a McDonald’s breakfast and lunch in the same day has shed 16 stone in just over one year.
James Mitchell says he never gave a second thought to his diet despite being so heavy, around 30 stone, that his weighing scales simply said ‘error’ when he stepped on them.
James, a software engineer from Moreton, says on a typical Friday he could eat a chippy dinner for lunch before ordering a large 14 inch pizza to himself for tea – washed down with bottles of fizzy pop or pints of lager.
The 41-year-old recalls being referred to a dietician at Arrowe Park Hospital as a heavy 13-year-old, only to scam the medics by filling his pockets with stones and coins on his first weigh in so they thought he had lost weight next time.
James told the ECHO: “I have always been fat; I have always been the fat kid of the class ever since I can remember.
“When I was at school for breakfast it would be sweets from the shop on the way in and maybe a chocolate bar, then chips for lunch, I would maybe get a pizza on the way home and then whatever I would have for tea.
“I just didn’t care. Because although I was the fat kid in school I was never bullied.”
James said he remembers his mum having to buy adult trousers for his school uniform, and his shocking diet continued after school and through the next two decades.
He said if away on business he would not think twice about buying his breakfast and lunch at McDonald’s before tucking into a mixed grill, a pudding and a few pints at a restaurant.
He said: “I was fat and happy. It honestly never bothered me.
“In my head I was absolutely fine. I was not one of these people that hides away in a corner, I would go out, if I was on holiday I was happy to take my top off and walk around.
“I was fine being fat until I wasn’t.”
James says the moment of clarity came as he tried to take his dog for a walk one day in April 2019.
He said: “The dog walker couldn’t come so I thought I will just take them out.
“I hadn’t walked them for a couple of weeks, but when I set off I got a few hundred yards and I thought I was going to die.
“I couldn’t breathe, I felt dizzy. I thought I am going to have to go home.”
James said the realisation was instant – and emptied his cupboards of newly bought biscuits and snacks and poured them into an outside bin.
He even describes pouring fizzy drinks down his sink to avoid his willpower failing.
The turnaround came when he made contact with fellow scouser Dominic Beebee, a weight management consultant with weight loss franchise The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.
Dominic turned up at James’s home in Standish and the scale of the task became clear.
James said: “He came to ask about my diet and weigh and measure me.
“I had cut out the chocolate and stuff for about a week at that point and I was 29st 13lbs at that stage.
“But the really embarrassing thing is he said ‘I’m sorry I forgot my measuring tape’. I said ‘oh I have got one here’, it was just a standard measuring tape.
“Dominic put it around my waist and it didn’t fit, it was around 60 inches and there was around a six inch gap.”
Despite some wobbles and “junkie” like cravings for sugary drinks, James says he stuck to the diet and has now even been advised by friends “not to lose any more weight.”
James stuck to the diet plan under the careful guidance of Dominic and shed more than half his body weight, now tipping the scales at a trim 13st12lbs.
He said: “I have gone from being the heaviest in the room to one of the lightest.”
Dominic said: “As a young consultant at the time, 20 years old, this was my biggest challenge yet.
“Fast forward 14 months to the end of June 2020 and James was at a healthy wight of 13st 7lbs with a truly unbelievable 16 stone lost in just 14 months.
“The more I got to know James through his commitment to the steps and utilising every aspect of the one too one support I offer the real James started to show.
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“James’s character, charisma and quirky sense of humour really began to shine through This was possibly the most priceless and rewarding aspect of James journey.
“James completely transformed his life and has changed mine too.”
James has also now joined the One to One team and is working as a consultant himself.