Why John Is Proud To Be Britain’s ‘Greatest Loser’

We’ve all heard tales about truck drivers who struggle to fit behind the steering wheel because their only exercise is getting out of the cab to enjoy a massive cholesterol laden fry up at the greasy spoon. The truth is that statistics show that 80% of truck drivers are clinically overweight, with the associated risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes high blood pressure and even a tendency to drop asleep at the wheel. John – Before Forty-year-old John Devonshire from North Wales was no exception. When he started driving trucks 22 years ago, he was a normal weight for his height. Many of those years were spent driving a recovery truck and as more work came in life just got busier, so stopping to eat a proper meal was a long forgotten luxury. Food was usually grabbed ‘on the hoof’ and like most recovery drivers John knew every McDonalds and 24 hour transport cafe on the map. Over 12 years John’s weight ballooned to 223kg, over 35 stone, and he paid little attention to his doctor’s warnings about the dangers of being so overweight. Vehicles don’t just breakdown during the day and he just accepted the silly hours and typical truckers’ unhealthy lifestyle as normal, until everything came to a dramatic halt when he was the victim of a devastating stroke which nearly killed him. However it wasn’t the stroke itself which convinced John he had to do something. It was the humiliation he felt when he overheard the ambulance crew debating whether they would have to remove the window to winch him out of his third floor bedroom to get his 35 stone bulk out of the house. John said: “I felt so embarrassed and ashamed and if a friend hadn’t told me, in no uncertain terms, to get up and walk down the stairs, I don’t know what would have happened.” Then, when John reached the hospital, they didn’t have scales large enough to calculate his weight, and if that wasn’t enough, the nurses had to haul him into a harness just to get him into bed! He felt as if he was being treated just like the smashed vehicles he was used to loading onto his truck. Those two weeks in a hospital bed really made him take stock of his life. As well as the stroke John was also diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and he realised that if he didn’t do something drastic his life would be in danger. “I knew I had to lose weight fast but how on earth could I lose so much weight safely? I decided to join my local Slimming World group, and when I stepped on the scales for the first time it showed I weighed in at 35st 8lb. I made the decision there and then to lose 17st 9lb which is half of my body weight, so that I could say “I’ve lost me”” explained John. “I couldn’t believe how much I could eat, filling up on satisfying foods like pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit and veg, lean meat and fish, and still lose weight.” Now three years later John is just one stone away from achieving his target weight and in April 2009 he was awarded the title of Slimming World’s GREATEST LOSER 2009. John – After Following his stroke, John can no longer drive, and that has been further encouragement to change his whole life. He now works normal hours in the depot and is able to apply his years of experience in the recovery industry to other areas of the operation. He still has a very healthy appetite, but these days his plate is piled high with vegetables, baked potatoes, Quorn curries and stir fry rather than fat laden fast food. John has also become much more active. He walks everywhere, regularly swims, works out in the gym, and aims to cycle 10 miles at least 3 times a week. As a result of his life changes John has been given the all clear from his GP on the diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He has never felt better, and even more importantly, he can now enjoy life to the full. He recently fulfilled one of his life’s ambitions; to walk up Snowdon, taking just 3 hours to reach the summit. And he had a fantastic day at Alton Towers where he went on every ride – just because he could! He’d been before but wasn’t allowed on the rides for safety reasons because they couldn’t get the seat belt round him.

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