A man has revealed how his life has completely turned around after he shed a staggering 25 stone in a bid to improve his health.
Oliver Bales, 24, weighed 38st 13.5lb at his heaviest and feared he wouldn’t live to see his nieces and nephews grow up.
After joining a slimming club, the weight began to fall off Bales to the point where he became virtually unrecognisable.
He said of his weight loss achievement: “As I’ve shrunk, my confidence levels have soared and I’m so much happier and much more ambitious.
“I used to be so shy and quiet but that’s completely vanished now and I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones.”
Bales, who is from Portsmouth, Hampshire, has shared his story in a bid to inspire others that it’s never too late to turn your life around.
Bales said he struggled with his weight throughout his youth and, when he began to near 39 stone, it began to severely affect his health.
“While I have some amazing memories from my childhood, I sometimes look back and wish I could have the chance to re-do it,” he told the Press Association.
“I used to feel like people were always comparing me to other children my age, and feeling like ‘the fat, ugly one’ made me angry and upset.
“I missed out on a lot, too – I always used to ‘forget’ my PE kit because I hated getting changed in front of the other pupils.”
It soon got to the point where Bales couldn’t stand for long periods without being in pain. He also had very high blood pressure.
Bales said he sunk into depression when he went to university to study business studies. His lifestyle consisted of lying in bed, eating junk food and watching TV.
“I didn’t get the experience of university life I’d hoped,” he said. “I was too big to take part in activities, and I couldn’t fit in the seats in some lecture halls so I’d have to sit at a separate table away from everyone else, which was mortifying.”
Bales wanted to lose weight because he feared he would not be around to see his niece and two nephews grow up.
After he cracked the family bath while trying to have a shower, he knew something had to give.
Bales had been monitoring a friend’s weight loss on social media and, feeling inspired, he decided to give Slimming World a go.
The 24-year-old, who is half-Filipino, said: “I was completely shocked that cooking something the Slimming World way could taste so delicious – better than before, in fact – and, coming from an Asian background, I am a complete lover of rice so I was over the moon to know I could eat rice and still lose weight.
“I can honestly say I have never felt hungry.”
Bales has lost 25st and 0.5lb altogether and now weighs 13st 13lb.
He has also gone from wearing size 6XL clothes with a 64in waist to an M with a 34in waist.
He’s a regular gym-goer who loves swimming and running, and he has big plans to run a marathon, do a triathlon and learn to scuba dive.
Bales, who has recently started a new job as an on-board host for Rail Gourmet/South West Trains, said: “Everyone tells me I look amazing, which is a great feeling.”
Due to his perseverance and incredible weight loss story, he has been crowned Slimming World’s ‘Greatest Loser 2016’.
He said: “Being overweight has affected by entire life – until now.
“Thanks to Slimming World I feel normal for the first time in my life and my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.
“I hope my story will inspire other people to know that it’s never too late to get support and, even if they don’t know it, there is help just around the corner.
“My advice to anyone wanting to make a change is, ‘Close your eyes and jump’.”