A health scare shocked a wagon driver into shedding more than 10 stone in weight after spending a week in hospital with cellulitis.
Andrew Bland caught the serious skin infection in June 2012 from an old wound which caused his leg to swell to almost three times its normal size.
After being treated, the 33-year-old was advised by a doctor that he needed to lose at least five stone in weight to significantly improve his health and fitness levels.
Andrew, from Thornley, Durham, was determined to lose the weight and has shed a staggering 10st 2lbs and has found a new lease of life.
The dad-of-one is now enjoying family life to the full with his wife, Angela, and their six-year-old son, Evan.
“I had really wanted to lose weight, but couldn’t bring myself to do it,” explained Andrew.
“I didn’t like the way that people would look at me and always got the feeling that wherever I went everyone was talking about me.
“Comfort eating was the only thing that would make me feel better.
“My son was growing up so quickly and I didn’t have the energy to play with him. I got out of breath so quickly and didn’t have any impetus to do anything.
“I was a couch potato and got very defensive when any of my family told me I needed to lose weight.
“Being diagnosed with cellulitis was a real wake-up call and I got upset, thinking that I may not actually get to see my son grow up.”
Following his doctor’s recommendation, Andrew started All About Weight in June 2012 and replaced unhealthy snacks and meals with four nutritionally-balanced mealpacks.
At his first weigh in, Andrew lost 21lbs, something which he never thought possible.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’d heard about other people who had slimmed down with All About Weight, but I wasn’t expecting the weight to drop off so quickly.
“I began to see the difference the diet could make and began to think more positively about things.
“My son loves football and swimming and prior to starting my diet I would never have dreamed of going in the pool with him or to a park to kick a ball around.
“Now, Evan and I go on long walks and enjoy bike riding. I take him swimming and we have a kick about in the garden whenever we can. I’m absolutely loving it.”
Andrew spends approximately 45 hours per week on the road and says that he was regularly tempted by garage forecourt snack deals and takeaways.
“I’d stop off to fill the wagon up and be suckered in by all the ‘three for two’ or buy one get on free deals at the till,” he continued.
“I’d never like eating in the restaurants at the services as the food was always really dry having been out on those food warmers all day, so I’d opt for a Burger King or KFC because it was freshly cooked.
“If I ever stopped in a layby, I’d be tempted by the vans selling burgers or fish and chips and I’d often opt for a pizza or kebab when I got home.
“I can’t believe the food I used to get through in a day and I am so much more aware of what I am eating now.
“All About Weight has changed the way I think about food and it’s so easy to have the mealpacks when I am out on the road, rather than worry about making something from scratch.
“I’ve recommended the diet to lots of people and I am glad to say that my sister and a couple of fellow wagon drivers are now enjoying losing weight.”
Andrew has been married for seven years and says his new lease of life has gone down well with wife, Angela, 33.
“I’m not a slob anymore and help out around the house,” he said.
“Angela has been my rock and I want to do everything I can to show how thankful I am for her support.
“She loves the new me and we couldn’t believe it when I recently walked past my cousin in the street and he strolled past without realising it was me!
“I’ve always been really shy, but losing this weight has really helped my confidence. I don’t like a lot of attention, but it’s been nice to hear people say how well I look.
“Some say I look 10 years younger and I can’t wait to watch my son grow up and enjoy family life together.”
All About Weight works through a combination of meal replacement mealpacks and healthy foods from an approved list.
With four plans to choose from, the programme enables people to lose weight quickly and safely while changing their attitudes towards food.
Andrew has found his programme easy to follow and importantly, has kept his snacking to a minimum thanks to the satisfying mealpacks.
The North East often tops the polls when it comes to obesity levels in both adults and children.
Data from the Association of Public Health Observatories showed the region was the second fattest in the European Union, with 28% of adults classed as obese. The level was double that of the EU average of 14%.
Two years ago, The Journal joined forces with Nova International to launch our Great North Fitness Revolution.
The Great North Fitness Revolution is challenging everyone to make a pledge to get active and make the positive changes that will lead to a better quality of life.
From training for the Great North Run to something as simple as increasing the number of steps you walk each day, everyone can get involved.
For more information about All About Weight, call 0844 544 7773 or visit www.allaboutw8.co.uk