An obese man who was wearing 8XL clothing has managed to lose a whopping 21 stone in weight.
At his heaviest – 37st 2½lbs – Phil Kayes’s weight was comparable to that of a mountain gorilla.
Doctors warned the 47-year-old that if he did not lose the weight, he would be lucky to reach the age of 40, the Liverpool Echo has reported.
Phil started his Slimming World weight loss journey after his mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He was also terrified of dying in his sleep, he admits.
Phil, a civil servant, from Co. Down, Northern Ireland, also caught coronavirus and puts his weight loss down to being able to survive the potentially fatal virus.
Phil, who has now found love, was recently crowned Slimming World’s ‘Greatest Loser 2020’
Shirt size was XXXXXXXXL
Phil said: “I was always bigger than my peers. I remember at school being called out by my PE teacher for being too big to play football.
“The weight really started to pile on though when I started university.
“My size meant that my life became increasingly insular and I made up a variety of excuses not to go out.
“I’d avoid gatherings like parties and weddings because I just felt so uncomfortable. I knew I wouldn’t fit into a plane seat so I never travelled, even though I really wanted to.
“Apart from my job as a civil servant, I didn’t really do anything except hide away and eat. It was a very lonely time.”
He suffered a string of health problems like sleep apnoea.
Phil had a waist measuring 68in and his shirt size was XXXXXXXXL.
More than 21st lighter
He said: “Mum was facing her fourth cancer battle which sadly turned out to be her last.
“The news sort of spurred me into action and I knew this time I had to try and be as healthy as I could – not just for her but for me as well.
“I was also worried that if my mum did pass away, I wouldn’t be able to be one of her pallbearers, which was heartbreaking.
“She died in October 2017, by which point I’d lost 5st. I know she’d be really proud if she could see me now – more than 21st lighter.”
Phil has become much more active since losing all the weight – and has started cycling again after a near three-decade absence from the activity.
He said: “Years of being overweight really took its toll on my knees and I used to take medication daily to manage the pain.
“I will still need a knee replacement at some stage, but I have certainly delayed the inevitable and made the operation itself more likely to be successful.
“When I was 37st, my doctor told me it was too risky for me to have surgery because calculating the anaesthetic needed for someone my size was so tricky.
“Now I’ve started cycling again, I can walk without getting out of breath and I also enjoy yoga.
“It’s a completely different life to the one I had before – one that is full of opportunities, friends and adventures.”
He said: “By far the best thing that has happened to me since losing weight is meeting Nicole.
“When I was bigger I couldn’t imagine ever finding love and felt resigned to dying alone.
“Since meeting we’ve moved in together, swam in the Mediterranean Sea, been on a walking tour of Berlin and I’ve learned to drive.
“There are lots more adventures we want to tick off the list and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the future.”
Phil also says his lighter weight helped him overcome what he believes was coronavirus.
He added: “I dread to think how my body would have responded. It was a timely reminder of how important my health is.”
Phil was encouraged to join Slimming World in July 2017 by a friend who agreed to attend his local group with him.
He said: “I was, of course, nervous on that first night but it really helped to have my friend Laura beside me.
“I even contacted the consultant in advance to check the scales would be able to weigh me.
“The last time I’d weighed myself was at the hospital, where I had to stand on two sets of scales just to get a reading.