A supersize dad lost a whopping ten stone to keep a birthday promise to his son.
Chris Hewitt weighed in at 24 stone, and vowed he would lose enough weight to take his son on the rides at Alton Towers for his 16th birthday.
The supply chain co-ordinator said he first thought about losing weight on his birthday last year, but struggled to find the motivation to get going.
He said: “I needed something to focus on, so I promised my then 15-year-old son that I would take him on the rides for our annual trip to the theme park - something his mum had always done because I could never fit.”
In July 2013, Chris joined the Langley Mill branch of slimming group WeightWatchers, and attended weekly meetings and weigh-in sessions.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it alone, and I wanted a support system. I didn’t know what to expect but thought I would just turn up and give it a go. Everyone in the group was so welcoming and my leader Louise was really encouraging,” he said.
Son Jamie’s birthday trip was planned for April 2014, so Chris aimed to lose more than a stone a month for nine months.
The 40-year-old said: “I started losing weight after the first couple of meetings and that set the wheels in motion, I was away and running - although not literally!”
Chris set himself challenges along the way including taking his dog on long walks.
“I started off gently, doing a couple of miles two days a week. My friends joked that I must have the healthiest dog ever,” he said.
Chris stuck to a strict diet and exercise plan and by Christmas had received his 100-pound weight loss certifictate (just over seven stone).
He said: “I found the meetings really useful and seeing the weight come off was the ultimate reward.”
A few months later, Chris, of Upper Dunstead Road, Langley Mill, got down to 14 stone in time for the family trip.
He said: “It was an amazing feeling, and being able to share the experience with my son was priceless - it made all the hard work worthwhile.”
Son Jamie, 16, said he was so proud of his dad’s weight loss.
He said: “Dad lost so much weight, he was really committed to doing it. His mentality is totally different. He’s swapped burgers for salads and still goes on long walks. He’s got a lot more energy. I got the best birthday present I could have asked for – a healthy dad.”
Despite reaching his goal weight and swapping his 52 inch waist trousers for a more modest 36 inches, Chris continues to attend WeightWatchers meetings.
The father-of-two: “I will keep going and possibly become a leader one day so I can share my success story, and help others on their journey.”
But Chris is still learning how different life is when you’re ten stone lighter.
He said: “I’m finding out new things all of the time. I recently went on a plane and I was amazed I could fit in the seat and actually put the tray down, it’s such a luxury.”