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Northern Ireland man Patrick Coyle's life transformed after shedding more than 22 stone

'Now I’m up for anything - I have a whole new lease of life'

By Laura Abernethy

Published 12/02/2016

Patrick before and after his weight loss
Patrick before and after his weight loss
Patrick Coyle before his weight loss

A Co Londonderry man has transformed his life after he lost 22 stone in four years.

Patrick Coyle (31) from Cairnhill in Derry lost almost two thirds of his body weight by keeping a food diary and slowly introducing exercise into his diet.

The vocational teacher said that four years ago, he was too heavy for his bathroom scales and as the New Year approached, he decided he needed to do something.

He explained: “I’d always struggled with my weight. You don’t realise until one day you look in the mirror and suddenly you’re 30-odd stone.

“I just said to myself on New Year's Day ‘I’m going to give it a shot’. I just took it day by day.”

He estimates he weighed around 36 stone and was at serious risk of heart disease and diabetes.

“One of the reasons why I started was that I started to notice my health deteriorating. Just doing everyday tasks became really painful. I felt like my heart was going to burst out when I walked up the stairs”, he added.

Using a free calorie tracking app called 'My Fitness Pal', he kept a food diary of everything that he ate and learnt to change the way he ate.

He said: “The secret was that I started keeping a food diary on my phone to track every bite that went into my stomach. I had to be honest with myself. If I hadn’t had that many calories, I could have a treat.”

He also started to slowly introduce exercise into his daily routine: “To start with, I did a lot of walking on the treadmill and just out on the street. As I lost more and got more confident, I was able to start running and I tried different types of exercise.”

Patrick has kept track of his changing body over the last few years by taking a photograph in the same place every month.

He hit 14 stone about a year ago, bringing his total weight loss to an amazing 22 stone. He still has a healthy diet and exercises regularly but now faces the problem of excess skin.

He has been turned down six times by the NHS for surgery to removed the skin and he is trying to raise over £5,000 to have it removed privately in Poland. The surgery is scheduled for 11 April.

Patrick Coyle needs surgery to remove the excess skin after his weight loss
Patrick Coyle needs surgery to remove the excess skin after his weight loss
Patrick Coyle needs surgery to remove the excess skin after his weight loss
Patrick Coyle needs surgery to remove the excess skin after his weight loss

He said: “The excess skin has been the hardest part. Everything else has been under my control. I’ve been able to lose weight and keep control of my food but the skin is a byproduct. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s the last part of the old me. I feel good, I look good in clothes but when I take my top off, I ask if all that hard work was worth it.

"I wouldn’t change anything though. I would rather deal with the loose skin than be the size I was but it does affect my confidence.”

Patrick’s lifestyle change has allowed him to get back to enjoying the hobbies that he avoided as his weight held him back: “Ive always been into travelling but it got to a point where I just didn’t want to go. I thought I’d be uncomfortable and I didn’t like flying because of my weight but now I’m up for anything. I have a whole new lease of life.”

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