Ballinalee native Paul Bennett made exceptional strides this year after losing six stone, six and a half pounds.
After joining the local Slimming World branch in Edgeworthstown, the support that he received alongside his own persistence and determination saw him become one of the biggest weight losers in the county this year.
After spending years feeling unhappy with his weight and becoming more desperate to drop the pounds, he went from 21st 6.5lbs to 15st since July 24 last year.
“I knew for a long time that I needed to do something about my weight, but always found an excuse as to why I couldn’t or wouldn’t,” Mr Bennett explained to the Leader.
“‘I’ll start next week’ kept me going for years. When my son was born in June 2013, I decided that enough was enough; I now have two children and wanted to be fit and healthy for them.”
The local man says his family provided the inspiration for him to keep going, and to finally make that change.
“ I always thought that slimming groups were just for women so for me the challenge was joining that first night,” he continued.
“The fact that weight loss groups are mainly associated with women rather than men was a big barrier.
“I need not have worried about this as from the first night I joined I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome by both the consultant Jenny and the existing members. I soon realised we were all there for the same reason.”
Now 10 months on and feeling a lot healthier and lighter, Mr Bennett confirmed that he has “not looked back” since.
“I definitely don’t have any regrets and I would recommend it to everyone now – men and women,” he laughed.
“The great thing is you don’t go hungry. It is about healthy eating – and man-sized, satisfying helpings of healthy food too – not fads and gimmicks.
“I regularly cook for the family and still have curries, steak and chips and roast dinners.
“ I no longer feel embarrassed to go shopping for clothes and I am able to enjoy more activities with my children.”