A ONCE-bulging Charlie Shakesby has shaken off his old image and emerged happier and healthier than ever.
Having tried and failed with a string of different diets, the desperate 57-year-old went to see his GP.
He was then referred to the NHS weight loss programme where he spent a year seeing a weight psychologist, personal trainer and dietician.
But instead of slimming down, Charlie, of Hendon, piled on the pounds, with his weight soaring to more than 25 stone.
He said: “My weight was really getting to me. I had no confidence and I was really depressed.
“I couldn’t find clothes that fitted me and I’d become really antisocial and didn’t want to leave the house.
“I went back to the doctor’s and he said he was going to refer me to Slimming World.
“At first, I didn’t want to go, because for the last three years I’d become really antisocial and the thought of standing up in front of a load of strangers scared me.
“I had really serious self-image problems and led a very solitary life and because of that, I’d lost touch with reality.”
Determined, Charlie attended his first session and managed to see it through.
He said: “I almost left after 10 minutes, because there were so many people there and it was scary, but it didn’t take me long to realise I was in the best place.
“Everyone was in the same boat as me and they all knew exactly what I was thinking and were going through the same as me. I think that’s when it clicked.”
Since joining in May, Charlie has lost 6.5 stone and is well on his way to hitting his target weight of 15 stone, although he has his eyes on the 10 stone mark.
Charlie said: “The Slimming World worked for me especially because I think you’ve got so much support around you.
“Everyone is going through the same thing and you can all relate to each other and support each other and that really does help.
“Slowly but surely I’m getting my confidence back and I’ve not just lost 6.5 stone I’ve lost 10 inches off my waist and can go and buy clothes off the peg now.”