As a plumber and gas fitter, Neil Eaton has to be able to squeeze into tight spots.
So it didn’t help when his weight ballooned to 20 stone.
“Every time I passed a mirror I couldn’t believe how awful I looked - my clothes didn’t fit properly and my fitness levels were terrible,” said Neil, aged 31, of Thornbrook Gardens, Chapeltown.
Over a year, he lost eight stones and is so much fitter that he is taking exams to be a personal trainer so he can help others with weight problems - and he is to tackle the world’s largest obstacle course for charity.
The turnaround came as Neil joined his local gym, Prime Mover, near Meadowhall, where he followed a strict fitness regime.
Then there was a diet of fresh meat, fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables and seeds and nuts - the Paleo diet, taking its cue from ‘hunter-gatherers’ at a time when dairy products, refined sugars and processed foods were not on the ancestral menu.
Up until then, Neil had been too tempted by chocolates and takeaways, and it was taking its toll.
“I was struggling from day to day,” he said. “Now my energy levels have gone through the roof and I’m doing more and more.”
The change of lifestyle was “a shock to the system”, but he had good support, and it is paying off. Last year he took part in the Peak District Endurer Dash.
Neil is preparing to tackle more than 200 obstacles - monkey bars, ‘cat crawl’, mud runs and water challenges - at the Elizabethan country estate of Burghley House in Lincolnshire at the Dirty Weekend event, run by adventure sports company Rat Race, on May 10. He will raise money for Lupus UK. His sister-in-law, Emma Eaton, has the illness of the immune system.