At his heaviest, Ste McGuire tipped the scales at just under 24st, after becoming too lazy to cook for himself.
On his 30th birthday, the cab driver, from Liverpool, hosted a huge party with his family and friends to mark his milestone.
But after noticing the photos from the night, he realised there was nothing to celebrate.
And after terrible news from his GP, Ste decided to begin his weight loss journey.
“She told me I was a 30-year-old man with the insides of a 60-year-old”
He said: “She told me I was a 30-year-old man with the insides of a 60-year-old. My heart was running like that of someone 30 years older. I was overweight.
“My cholesterol was through the roof and my internal organs were being suffocated by fat. She told me I could have a heart attack and die at any moment.”
Ste never had a problem with his weight, in fact at school he was athletic and always played football.
He added: “It was when I left school at 16, I started playing less – and eating more. I trained as a chef until I realised it wasn’t the job for me – but while I still loved cooking, I didn’t like cooking for myself. I was lazy.
“And takeaways were my biggest downfall. It only took until I was 18 to realise I was getting bigger – and bigger.
“I was having to buy increasingly larger clothes. By the time I stopped to seriously think about it, I was a pound off 24 stones. I didn’t recognise myself.”
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It wasn’t until his 30th birthday party where he realised he had to turn his life around.
“I was shocked when I looked at the pictures because I didn’t recognise myself,” Ste added.
“I was so disappointed with myself, I’d never realised how big I was. I had tried to make excuses, but I couldn’t ignore that picture.”
After the GP’s warning, Ste thought it was time to do something about his weight. His cholesterol was high and he feared he would have a heart attack at any moment.
He continued: “I was 30 but my heart was running like that of a 60-year-old – twice my age.
“I should have known. I have a son Steven, who’s six, and he is so active and loves football but I couldn’t run with him because I’d be out of breath and I felt embarrassed to even try.
“If we went to the park he didn’t even question it. I wasn’t like a ‘normal’ dad.”
Two weeks after his 30th birthday in November 2016, Ste joined his local Slimming World group.
After making a simple change to his diet and starting an exercise regime, he lost over 9st to reach a healthy 14st 6lbs.
Ste explained: “I’ve got the confidence to go back to the gym and I can be the dad I always wanted to be – and that means everything. I’m fun – I’m one of the stupidest dads but if you act silly and make them laugh I think you’re winning.
“I’m no longer with Steven’s mum and he stays with me on the day I go to Slimming World so he comes with me.
“He helps and hands out stickers – he presented me with my nine stone award and I broke down. I think he’s proud of me and realises I can do so much more with him.”
Not only did he regain confidence and turn his life around, he also fell in love.
He added: “Cheryl Ashdown was lovely and so supportive, and over time we realised we had feelings for each other. We now live together with her children Ben and Holly and, when he’s with me, Steven.
“I have gone from thinking I didn’t have a future to looking forward to an amazing one. Life shouldn’t be cut short by anything but I faced having mine cut short by my weight.
“I want to open my own slimming group next year and work to remove the stigma of men when it comes to slimming and mental health.
“I am half the man I was – but life is twice as much fun. I’m going to live every moment to the full.”
Mixed beans and lentils
STE MCGUIRE’S DIET BEFORE:
Breakfast: Full fry-up with bacon, sausages, black pudding, eggs and four slices of toast
Lunch: Pasties, sausage rolls, four packets of crisps and bars of chocolate
Dinner: Pizza or Chinese takeaway
STE MCGUIRE’S DIET AFTER:
Breakfast: Cereal with fruit or natural yoghurt with frozen berries, banana or apple
Lunch: Jacket potato with tuna and salad
Dinner: Tea might be steak with Slimming World chips or a stir-fry