A super slimmer is half the man he used to be after shedding ten stone.
Graham Elliott, 50, from Hetton, has dropped so much weight he’s lost more than his wife Helen weighs - and he couldn’t be happier.
The engineering firm inspector tipped the scales at 26 stone before deciding to ditch the stotties and join a slimming group which helped him drop to 15st12lbs.
Now he hopes to encourage more men to realise that weight loss sessions aren’t just for women.
“The biggest thing for men is walking through the door on your own, not knowing anyone, and thinking it will just be for women,” said Graham who joined Glendale Social Club Slimming World group in Houghton a year ago, which is run by Janet Gritton.
He added: “But actually I’ve never felt so welcome in my life, and that’s credit to Janet.”
Graham, who’s gone from a 50in waistband to 36ins, was inspired to lose weight after reading about a colleague in the Echo.
He said: “The Echo ran a story about one of my male colleagues who had lost weight after joining a group and he inspired me to think there was no shame in it. I made the decision that I was going to go, told my wife what I was planning, and just went along, It was a decision which has saved my life. At my weight I was on a slippery slope and had no where to go.
“I’d never followed a diet before, I’d just tried to cut out certain things here and there. This was the first time I’d tried a dedicated plan but in my first week I lost 11lbs and could see it was working. After that I was averaging a loss of 4lbs per week. I used to eat things like stotties, a lot of bread, handfuls of biscuits and takeaways. Now I make things from Slimming World recipes and they’re delicious, I never feel like I’m missing out.”
He added: “I’d love for more men to join the classes and I’d be happy to talk to them about how I did it. If I can help inspire one man to lose weight it will be worth it.”
Graham, who works for Roballo in Peterlee, combines healthy eating with using the Wellness Centre in Hetton four times a week.
His journey has proved inspirational to his fellow slimmers and he’s won many awards including Man of the Year and Mr Sleek.
“The change in me is unbelievable,” he said. “I was fairly shy before, but now I’m full of confidence. My energy is unbelievable. We go for long walks now and I can run up the stairs. Before, I couldn’t even get to the top without being out of breath.”
•Slimming World meets at Glendale Social Club, Houghton, on Mondays.
Graham’s Food Diary
Breakfast: A handful of biscuits.
Lunch: Two or three big sandwiches or a stottie.
Dinner: Something out of a jar or a takeaway.
Snacks: Biscuits, chocolate and crisps.
Breakfast: No added sugar muesli.
Lunch: Chicken or tuna salad.
Dinner: Slimming World spaghetti bolognese or curry.