TIPPING the scales at 30 stones, Craig Potts found everyday tasks such as walking up stairs and even tying his shoelaces were a challenge.
His body was “a ticking time bomb” before salvation came in the shape of a referral to a gym by his doctor.
Now Craig is literally half the man he used to be after shedding 16 stones in two years.
His GP referred him to Concord Sports Centre at Shiregreen for a discounted 12-week course of exercise.
Craig, aged 47, of Shirecliffe, said: “I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect and no-one there was as heavy as me, I really didn’t want to be there.
“But I thought I would either be dead at 50 or bed-ridden. I had to stick with it. My body was a ticking time bomb.”
He had gone to Concord reluctantly but his weight was preventing him from having a gastric bypass and it meant he needed medication to control his blood pressure.
Fitness specialist Dave Birds started him on a gentle workout a couple of times a week and has gradually increased the exercise each month.
Dave himself started a new life at Concord after losing 12 stones at the gym and Craig started to trust Dave’s guidance, becoming a member of Fitness Unlimited scheme run by Sheffield International Venues.
Craig said: “It’s been really hard going physically and mentally and during the 12-week course I wanted to quit many times.
“I always thought I was happy and mobile at 30 stones but everyday tasks were a real struggle. Walking up stairs would require a break half way and even tying my shoelaces was a task. I felt depressed because everything took so long to get done.
“Walking 20 or 30 yards would be a struggle but now I walk or cycle the three miles to the gym and do three or four miles on the treadmill. I’ve started running and one of my goals is to run a 5km race. I’m far more outgoing and sociable, too.”
Craig, who has now come off medication for his blood pressure, has even spread the message to his family. His mum June, aged 72, and sister Beth, 48, are now on the GP referral scheme, too. Together they’ve lost more than eight stones.
“I’m so thankful to Dave who has stuck with me after my GP referral finished and I became a Fitness Unlimited member. He’s done me the world of good. I’d be a lot worse without Dave’s help, so I owe him a lot.”
Dave said: “Craig has done incredibly well, losing more than half his weight. He has shown so much dedication, especially through the tough times. He proves people can come through the other side of obesity to live a healthy life.
“Craig can now fit into one of the legs of his old trousers and his old T-shirts go down to his knees, which shows just how far he’s come.”