When Gerry Hanratty struggled to fit under the machinery in the Stonehouse factory where he worked, he knew it was time he lost weight.
At 19 stone, the 58-year-old maintenance engineer’s weight was beginning to affect his health.
Gerry, from Matson, had multiple gall stones and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that kept his wife awake at night due to his snoring.
Years of unhealthy eating and inactivity had taken its toll. And his doctor said an operation to deal with his gall stones was out of the question until he shed the pounds.
Gerry, who works at Dairy Crest, joined Slimming World to begin his battle with the bulge.
He said: “It was my wife that prompted me to do something about my weight as she was worried about my health.
“I weighed 18 stone 9lbs in January 2012 and had multiple gallstones.
“Sometimes I could be walking around the factory, other times I would be sat at the same machine for 12 hours.
“I loved bread and cheese so would take six slices in with me to work most days. I also would regularly eat takeaways, fish and chips or a beef curry. I would have a full English breakfast in work quite often.
“Now I rarely have a takeaway and don’t fry anything. If I want a snack, I’ll have some fruit.
“I try and walk a lot more or jog, and I use a low fat spray oil for cooking.
“Since I’ve lost all the weight I’ve been able to go to Lau Gar Kung Fu in Stroud Road twice a week. Being active and eating healthily has helped me keep the weight off.
“My friends at work thought I was ill at first, then I told them I was going to Slimming Word.
“They were impressed with how much weight I had lost and my wife Lisa is much happier now.”
Gloucestershire ranks eighth out the top 10 most obese counties in the UK.
Slimming World consultant Sam Summerfield said: “These statistics are really scary and they aren’t getting any better.
“We want to have an impact on the image of slimming and make a difference to these figures.
“Since losing six stone, Gerry has maintained it for more than 10 months.
“He has increased energy since losing the weight, his breathing has improved massively and his nurse is very happy with his weight loss.
“Gerry says his colleagues don’t recognise him and he has taken up new active hobbies.
“There are things out there to help people lose weight, unfortunately the public’s perception of slimming groups are influenced by negative media coverage.
“The most important aspect of our groups are the help and support people get to make those changes. We build up the person, we help them to respect and appreciate themselves.
“Once people start to believe in themselves, that’s when they can start to really make a difference.
“For each member we help in group, we are generally helping three more change their lifestyle at home.”