Football fan slims down to fit in
A football fan who was so overweight that he got wedged in a turnstile at a sports ground as dozens of supporters looked on has lost more than 17 stone.
Thomas McIntyre, 43, from Larne, Northern Ireland, cut a huge figure at six foot tall, weighing more than 31 stone and had a waist measuring 74 inches.
The Celtic fan's goal of shedding the pounds was recognised at the Ritz Hotel in London where he was named Slimming World Man of the Year 2013.
Mr McIntyre, a fresh food manager at Dunnes Stores, has lost 17 stone 8lb, going from 31 stone to 13 stone 6lb and a size 8XL to a medium. As well as his dramatic weight loss, the size of his waist has dropped by 40 inches to 34 inches.
"I was the typical jolly fat bloke, always making fun of myself before anyone else had the chance to do it. Deep down, though, I'd reached the point where I thought about my mortality all the time and the more I worried, the more I ate, to comfort myself I suppose. It was a vicious cycle," he said.
Mr McIntyre had been overweight for more than two decades, since giving up playing football in his early twenties without quitting the junk food his active lifestyle had allowed him to indulge in. He grew in size steadily and in the run-up to his wedding five years ago he became so worried about his increasing weight that he secretly purchased a bigger back-up suit - it was an 8XL.
"Getting stuck in a turnstile when I went to Partick Thistle's ground wasn't much fun either. After that I had to go in through the disabled gate every time I went to a football game," he said.
Then in February last year a friend confided in him about how worried she was about his weight and asked him to come to the local Slimming World group with her.
As the weight started to come off, Mr McIntyre felt confident enough to begin exercising. He challenged himself to do a little more each day, spurred on by his consultant and his fellow Slimming World members, and now runs three times a week as well as taking his dog on long walks.
He said: "I feel like life passed me by for years so I'm determined to live it to the full now."