A super-slimming grandad almost died when he broke his back in a horror sledge crash – while celebrating losing FIVE STONE.
Steve Carnell, 55, tipped the scales at 20 stone after years of binge-eating on Chinese takeaways and snacking on bread and butter.
In January 2011 the grandad-of-three was shamed into losing weight after he saw his reflection in a shop window and swapped junk food for fresh fruit and veg.
In two years he shed a whopping five stone and four belt sizes but in January this year he nearly died while celebrating his slimmer figure by going sledging.
He broke the T11 vertebrae in his back and needed pins inserted into his spine and spent three months undergoing gruelling physiotherapy to walk again.
Steve, from Ilkeston, Derbys., said: “It is quite ironic that I lost all that weight to get healthy but being thin almost killed me.
“With my new-found lightweight freedom I decided it would be a nice idea to round up all the family and go sledging at Cardboard Hill in Sandiacre.
“I decided I would go down the next hill but no one else was and it looked pretty steep but I just thought ‘why not?’.
“Off I set and the next thing I know I’m thrown in the air and bouncing down the hill.
“I landed in a heap and, in excruciating pain, had to be taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre when doctors told me I had broken the T11 vertebrae in my back.”
He was diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome, a condition where a bundle of spinal nerves have been damaged causing the loss of function of the nerve roots of the spinal canal.
After gruelling physiotherapy he has learned to walk again and remarkably has lost another stone to weigh a trim 14 stone.
He said: “Before I lost weight I just ate what I wanted and didn’t think anything of it.
“Then one day I saw my reflection in a shop window and was horrified at how big I was. I suddenly realised how many Xs I had on my T-shirt labels.”
In a bid to lose weight Steve, an after-sales manager at a power tool firm, joined his local Slimming World group and lost an impressive five stone in two years.
He added: “Even after I broke my back, which was a freak accident, I was still determined not to put on weight so I kept eating healthy food and exercising when I could.
“I would push myself to work extra hard at physiotherapy and just wanted to get up and out of hospital as soon as possible.
“The way I see it is, I might have done it if I was still 20 stones but my recovery would have taken longer and been a lot more difficult.
“I’d rather break my back at this weight than at 20 stones.”
Ilkeston Slimming World leader Steph Henshaw said: “I was amazed to seeing him back in group only a few weeks after his accident, especially after major surgery on his back – and he’d lost another 5lbs.
“He has been voted our Man of the Year 2012 and 13 and also our Greatest Loser 2013.
“He is absolutely fantastic and is such an important member of our group.”