Yes, Gary Kirkwood knew he was large, weighing in, as he did at a colossal 32 stone, but up to a certain point in his life he had known nothing else.
But, in Gary’s own words, it just takes one moment to make you realise the time has finally come to do something about it. For him, that moment was when he was invited to a friend’s stag party abroad in June 2018.
Gary told the Times and Speaker: “Due to my size I hadn’t been abroad in a very long time, as I just never had the confidence to do it. So, after finding out that it was going to cost me double the amount that all the rest of the guys had to pay, the time to make a change had arrived. The reason I would have to pay double was due to the fact I needed to book two seats to take my frame, as I couldn’t fit into a single one.
“I had to do my homework, as it had to be a venue that I could park at, as I was unable to walk any distance. I found my local Weight Watchers in Motherwell and have to say I was really nervous about walking through that door, but thought let’s give it a go, see what it was all about and see if I can lose some weight.
“When I stepped onto the scales, I was just so shocked what weight I was. I didn’t know the exact weight before this, as any scales I purchased just didn’t go that high. At least now I knew what weight I was, and the reality of my journey really sunk in. On July 15, 2017 I weighed in at 31 stone 12 pounds and the journey began.
“I started to track what I was eating, cut down on my portion sizes and even started to cook meals from scratch. I’ve never attempted to cook before.
“I also started doing some simple exercises, step ups on the stairs in my flat and also walking back and forth in the lobby. So, my first week on WW went well and I lost four pounds.
“I gradually lost weight and by week six I gained my 25-pound certificate. Every week I posted my loss on social media and the support from my family, friends, colleagues and the group were and still is amazing, and that fuelled me to continue my journey.
“Week 11 I was at 50 lb weight loss, then week 16 saw me at 75 pounds gone. I was starting to see a physical difference and was feeling great. At this point for the first time ever I walked to my weekly workshop. This was a turning point for me, as I was never able to walk that far before. I was so proud that I managed it without stopping or even having a hint of pain in my back and legs.
“By week 32 I reached my 150 lbs weight loss challenge.
“Now my friends stag do had arrived – that turning point when I decided I had to lose weight. On June 9, 2018, which was also my birthday, I had broken through the 200 lb weight loss or 14.5 stone. I managed to get on the plane, and only needed one seat and one seatbelt. I was ecstatic.
“Finally, on week 83 of my journey, I got to my final ever goal weight. I never thought I would say it, but I had gotten down to 12st 10lb, and meant in total I lost an incredible 19 stone and four pounds.
“I was feeling amazing every week and buying a new wardrobe helped too. When I started, I was a 8xl top, and a 70-inch waist in trousers. Currently I am wearing large size in tops and 36 inch waist in trousers and jeans – it’s brilliant, amazing and I’m so proud of myself.
“I’m no longer eating the unhealthy foods that got me to the size I was. I used to eat high sugar cereals for breakfast, fry ups, pizzas, fish and chips, or frozen processed foods. Every dinner I would eat four slices of bread with butter. Now I’m eating home cooked meals, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of chicken and I’m never hungry.
“WW works for me, as it is flexible, and you can work it around your life. I work at my desk, so at lunchtime I can go and do a bit of walking, breaking up my eight hours at work and at the same time getting healthier.
“Of course, I would have my lunch as well, usually a salad roll with chicken or some other cook meats, which fills me up nicely.
“My lifestyle has changed completely, I am healthier, fitter, more active. When I started I couldn’t ever walk without having a sit down, if I was going out with my mates, it would have to be somewhere that has seats, so I did feel a bit of a burden on them.
“WW has given me a second chance of life and I’m finally enjoying life. If I didn’t lose weight, I was putting myself in an early grave.”