Sunderland slimmer meets football star after shedding more than nine stone
A Sunderland man has lost more than nine stone to reach the semi-finals of a competition to find the UK and Ireland's top male slimmers.
Andrew Coyles was one of 43 men to win a place at the semi-finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2018 competition after losing an impressive 9st 1lb.
It was there that the 33-year-old met former Liverpool, Watford and England hero John Barnes, who congratulated him on his achievement.
Andrew, who slimmed from 19st 6lbs to 10st 5lbs at the Hylton Road Slimming World group in City Life Church, believes it can be hard for men to admit that they need help to lose weight, and that it is especially difficult for them to walk through the doors of a slimming club for the first time.
Andrew said: “I joined Slimming World initially to support my partner, Toni.
“I did worry that I’d be the only bloke in the room, I wasn’t .
"And, even if I ever was, it wouldn’t matter because everyone is there for the same reason and it’s such a supportive and friendly environment.
"All the hints, tips and recipes you pick up in group are really helpful too.
“Losing weight has even encouraged me to think about how active I am too, so I’ve taken up running on evening and weekends.
"It’s just become a part of my life now.
"Getting to meet John was great too, I never knew losing weight would have this many perks!”
John, who has now hung up his football boots to become a successful pundit, was blown away by the achievements of the men he met at the competition.
He says: “As a footballer, health and fitness has formed a huge part of my life, so I know how much effort and dedication it can take to stay fit and healthy – both mentally and physically
"It was a pleasure to meet Andrew – I can’t believe his transformation, he doesn’t look like the same bloke!
“I think a lot of men find it really difficult to admit they have a problem with something and then seek the help they need to fix it.
"It’s not an easy thing to do so Andrew has my utmost respect.
"I have to say the food he makes looks delicious too – I might have to have a go at a few recipes myself!”
Alan Cooper who runs the Hylton Road group that Andrew attends, says he is very proud of his super slimmer.
He said: “A lot of men think that slimming clubs are female-only zones, so Andrew is living proof that this isn’t the case.
"In fact, there are now 60,000 men attending Slimming World groups, which goes to show that men need just as much support as women to slim down and improve their health."