A gluttonous granddad shed more than 13 stone – and added 20 years to his life expectancy – after his huge frame forced him to switch seats on a holiday jet.
Tony Westaway, 58, lost half his bodyweight in just two years after becoming so overweight he was struck down by pneumonia and suffering with diabetes.
Doctors reckon Tony, who used to pig out on a packet of biscuits every day, has now added 20 years to his life thanks to his the dramatic diet.
At his heaviest, Tony tipped the scales at nearly 28 stone and had been warned he was ‘knocking on death’s door’.
But he’s now dropped from a 5XL shirt size to a medium and swapped regular pie dinners for salads, fruit and veg.
Now weighing in at a modest 14st 6lbs, Tony said: “Recently I saw a heart specialist who said I’d probably extended my life by 20 years.
“Now I just have to convince my wife having me around for another two decades is a good thing.”
The weight-loss champ, who has been named Slimming World Man of the Year, said his wake-up call came from wife Gail in April 2015 when they went on holiday to Ireland.
He said: “On the plane I had to ask for a seatbelt extender to go around my middle.
“We’d paid extra to sit in the emergency exit aisle so that I’d have more leg room, but the cabin crew explained that you couldn’t sit there if you needed an extension belt, so they had to find me another seat.
“Everyone was looking to see what the fuss was about and it was quite embarrassing.”
He had originally visited a dietitian after contracting pneumonia in January 2012, but said he was treated ‘very un-humanlike’.
Tony, of Woodbury Salterton, near Exeter in Devon, said: “I was given a diet plan through the local surgery as well and that didn’t last too long either.
“One week I couldn’t make the appointment, then the next week they couldn’t, so it wasn’t really a recipe for success and I only lost a few pounds in total.”
The granddad told how joining Slimming World with wife Gail was initially nerve-racking – because he felt awkward being a man at the meeting.
But he added: “The welcome was wonderful though and now we’re like a happy little family.
“There’s so much support in that room and we all help each other, whether it’s swapping recipes or talking about our week – you’re never too old to learn something new.”
Tony began following a Slimming World eating plan and lost an incredible 14.5lbs in his first week.
He said: “We thought the scales were broken at first.
“It was bit of a shock because I was able to eat so much that I wasn’t hungry and I could still have treats so I didn’t feel left out.
“The biggest change is that I eat vegetables now because I didn’t before, and the grandchildren are healthier after watching what we’re eating too – they’ll try more things nowadays and love
helping us to make healthy meals like homemade vegetable soup.
“Losing so much so quickly made me believe I could do it, and I did – I lost 12st in 13 months and now I’ve lost 13st 7lbs in total.
“I’ve gone from a 5XL shirt to a medium – it’s eye-opening.
“I couldn’t have done it without my Consultant Ali though – she’s been amazing and I tell people she’s the woman that saved my life.
“Even outside of the group she’s always there with a text or a little card through the door to give you a boost.”
As Tony lost weight his fitness levels improved too and he joined a gym, took up swimming and cycling, and can work full-time hours again.
He added: “It’s a real transformation. I never had the confidence to go swimming before because I felt as though everyone would be looking at me, now I feel fine taking my shirt off, and I even wear shorts to work so I’m finally getting tanned legs.
“Best of all, my grandsons have a granddad who can play football and chase them around the garden – and a granddad who’ll be around to see them grow up.”
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