A biscuit factory worker lost 18 stone after being warned his blood pressure was so high he should be dead.
Gary Marsden, 47, was so spooked that he shed nearly half his body weight following a routine medical at work three years ago. The father of one, from Batley in West Yorkshire, had been overweight for 20 years after piling on the pounds when he settled down with wife Pamela. He has dropped from 37 stone to 18 stone after changing his diet and taking karate lessons.
“I felt ashamed so I became depressed and withdrawn,” he said.
“It was a Catch-22 situation as I would comfort-eat but then I gained more weight and became even more depressed. I’d make excuses not to go on nights out or attend family gatherings because I felt really self-conscious. However, I hated missing out on doing things with my son Ben, who’s 11.”
Mr Marsden, who works as a stock controller for Fox’s Biscuits, was immediately sent to A&E at his local hospital after a nurse examined him in May 2012.
“She told me my blood pressure was so high that she was surprised I was still walking around. She said technically I should be dead,” he said.
“I knew my family was already worried about my health and I had to do something – I wanted to be around to see Ben grow up.”
He joined the same Slimming World weight-loss club his wife belonged to, overcoming his nerves to walk into a group made up of about 40 women. By following its healthy eating plan, he lost 5lb in his first week and switched from chip butties, chocolate snacks and takeaway dinners to salads, fruit and home-made rice and pasta dishes. Now he is planning to take part in the World Coal Carrying Championships that are held in Yorkshire every year.
Mr Marsden said: “My son thinks it’s great because I can run around a rugby field with him, I can shop in high street clothes shops, and my blood pressure’s completely normal too.”