Hartlepool farmer Keith Brown is almost half the man he used to be – after shedding an incredible 12 stones in weight.
Keith, 64, used to suffer from high blood pressure, painful leg ulcers and had problems just getting around after ballooning to 29st 8lbs.
Now he looks and feels like a new man since losing a life-changing 12 stones since last June after joining his local Slimming World group in Hartlepool.
Keith, who lives on a farm at Hart, has lost so much weight that some people do not recognise him at first.
He said: “My weight impacted on so many aspects of my life, the weight was also putting a huge strain on my health.
“I had high blood pressure and major mobility problems, they caused me leg ulcers and severe back pain.
“I walked with a stick and couldn’t bear to sit in a car it was just too painful.”
He has now been named Slimming World’s Greatest Loser of 2019 for Hartlepool after dropping down to 17st 8lb,
He added: “I feel like a new man since losing weight – in fact, I look so different that people who I haven’t seen for a while often can’t believe I’m the same person.
“For me though it’s the change on the inside that’s been the greatest – I’m happier, healthier and much more confident now.”
He joined the Slimming World group at Hartfields Retirement Village run by Nicci Hardy after a friend suggested it.
“Walking through those doors was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, literally as I needed aids to walk, said Keith.
“I was embarrassed about my size and scared that I might be the biggest person there.”
But he says everyone at the group was so friendly and supportive. Over the following months, Keith followed the club’s Food Optimising eating plan by swapping white bread, any alcohol, chocolate, cakes and cheese for full healthy meals with lots of vegetables and salad, meats and fish, a little bread and a glass of wine.
He swapped his usual full English breakfast for a healthier poached egg while for lunch and evening meal simply cut down on the quantity and ditched sweet things.
Keith said he never once felt like he was on a diet, adding: “I’ve just learned how to make small changes like using lean meat or cooking with low calorie spray instead of oil or butter.
“This is a change that I’ve made for life and have the tools I need to keep up forever.”
But he said he does not think he could have done it without the group’s support every week.
Nicci, who runs the Hartfields Slimming World group, said: “The changes we’ve seen in Keith are incredible. Nearly all his health issues have cleared up and some disappeared all together.
“I know his health professionals are over the moon with his progress and I hope his success will inspire other people in Hartlepool who’d like to lose weight by forming new lifestyle habits and become happier and healthier to take action.
“There’s a warm welcome waiting at Slimming World and, just think, if you start today you could feel like a completely new person just like Keith.”
The group meets every Tuesday at 9.30am, 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
Keith also expressed his thanks to nurses at Bakhouse surgery in the One Life Hartlepool medical centre for their years of care to him.