Brian Jordan: I went to my GP because I feared I was going to die
Brian Jordan (48), fitness instructor, lives in Dromore, Co Down, with his wife Beverley (46), who sufferers from MS, and their two children Louise (21) and David (15). He says:
The weight piled on me over the years simply because I was bone idle and did nothing. I had no interest in sports when I was growing up so I was never into keeping fit and healthy.
Then things just became a vicious cycle for me. The more I ate and the more weight I put on the worse I felt - then I would eat more to comfort myself.
I am a carer for my wife Beverley who has Multiple Sclerosis, so I would be at home a lot with her and then I would just eat.
At my heaviest point I tipped the scales at 22 stones and nine pounds, and I ended up in hospital with a heart attack.
The doctors warned me if I didn't change my lifestyle I would end up with a more serious attack, or worse.
It didn't really hit home at first and I continued over-eating, but then one day I just looked in the mirror and was disgusted at what I saw.
I was supposed to be looking after my wife and my family, but how could I do that when I could hardly take care of myself?
I went to my GP for help as I feared I was going to die.
She quickly referred me to a 'Fit and Well' programme at my local leisure centre in Banbridge.
I went along to exercise classes every week and began a healthy eating programme.
At first I hated it, but after a few weeks I noticed I had started to feel better and the weight was coming off.
I loved the craic and the banter of the classes and started to join other fitness activities such as spin and circuits.
It was a slow process, but I started to get my life back. I had loads of energy and could do things with the family.
I began walking and would cover anything from three to 15 miles a day.
My classmates actually paid for me to do an instructor's class as I was so enthusiastic.
That was the best thing that could have happened to me as I went on to do other courses and training - now I am training others.
This year, I started my own business - Jordan Fitness and I run classes and bootcamps.
In total I have lost eight stones and six pounds and I feel fantastic.
I still care for Beverley and work it around my schedule, but at least now I am fit to look after her and I will be there to see my children grow up.
I don't recognise who that person in those old photographs of me is anymore."
For more information on:
Slimming World, visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk/joining-a-group/nearest-group.aspx
Weightwatchers, visit www.weightwatchers.ie/getting-started/membership-costs-northern-ireland/ or tel: 028 9042 6812
Fit and Well, visit www.banbridge.gov.uk/Residents/Sports-Leisure/Leisure-Community-Facilities/Banbridge-Leisure-Centre.aspx