Former rugby player Jonathan applied for this year’s Fit Factor in a bid to regain control of his weight - and his life.
The 43-year-old is the heaviest contestant in this year’s competition, weighing in at 28st 10lbs at the start of the 12 weeks.
But the Newcastle City Council worker is determined to make the most of the opportunity he now has.
Jonathan, of Killingworth, said: “I wanted to take part this year because I knew it was time I made a change in my life.
“Eighteen months ago I got married to my wife, Trisha, and I want my marriage to be as long as possible.
“I actually lost a lot of weight about six or seven years ago but, after I got married, I became a bit content I suppose and ended up putting it back on.”
Jonathan used to play rugby for Percy Park and Northumberland County but years of unhealthy eating started to reveal itself.
“I suppose I was eating the wrong things,” said Jonathan. “I would come home from work, tired and just pick up a takeaway. Or I would be eating the wrong types of food - lots of bread and pasta.”
Knowing that his weight was taking a heavy toll on his health, Jonathan decided to apply for this year’s Fit Factor.
He said: “I know the trainer, David Fairlamb, because we used to play rugby together and I had read about past Fit Factor competitions.
“I just thought the time was now right to enter and make a change.”
Jonathan said wife Trish has been particularly supportive when it comes to cooking the new diet he has to follow.
“She’s a great cook,” he added. “She comes up with these fantastic combinations and it has been a big help.
“A few weeks ago I was in Austria and I found it a real test when it came to eating, but so far, so good.”
Jonathan knows that being the biggest in the competition means he has to put in that extra effort, but the support he is getting is helping him through.
He added: “The rest of the contestants are just fantastic. We really support each other.
“Everyone is there for their own individual reasons but we are working together because we all have one common goal - to lose weight and make a change in our lives.”