Alan Apolakiatis is half the teenager he used to be after beating the school bullies and shedding almost 50 per cent of his body weight.
Alan, aged 19, from Shiregreen, once weighed in at 18st 2lb, but has now slimmed down to just over 11stones by starting a new exercise regime.
His achievement means he needs to buy T-shirts several sizes smaller than he used to and now has a trim 32in waist instead of his 42in waistband of two years ago.
Alan said he was subjected to cruel taunts about his weight from his primary school days, right through to secondary school.
He said: “There were lots of nicknames about me being fat.
“It never used to bother me to start with, but as you get older you start noticing it more. By my final year at school they used to really get me down.
“I thought ‘I don’t want to be like this any more’.”
“When it was time to start college I decided to make a big change.
“I didn’t want to go to college looking the way I did, wearing the clothes I wore, and being unhappy.”
He signed up to the Fitness Unlimited gym at Concord Sports Centre in Shiregreen, where he began training, and also started a healthier diet.
Alan, a sales consultant, said: “My relationship with exercise wasn’t very healthy.
“I needed a push in the right direction so I got straight into it, determined to change the way I look.
“After just a couple of weeks of training for an hour a day, I could tell there was a difference in the way I felt - I had more energy.
“This was thanks to the training as well as controlled healthy eating.
“The nutrition side of things is most difficult, because I’m used to a diet of junk food, but I have learned to appreciate all kinds of food and I spend quite a lot of my spare time dining out with friends – eating and socialising. I’m not going to lie, I still love my food and always will, but now I know from just a little exercise I can maintain how I look and be happy with myself.”
He recently completed a level two fitness instructing course. He is now saving up to gain further qualifications in the hope of getting a job in the fitness industry.
Alan also told how he has needed ‘several new wardrobes’ to cater for his new figure.
He said: “I used to be between XL and XXL in T-shirts, and now I’m down to small and medium – extra-small at a push.
“My waist used to be 40-42 and now it’s more like 30-32. I can do more things, like walking upstairs without getting out of breath.
“I never thought I could do it. I am happier, confident and, most importantly, proud of what I have achieved. I can’t thank Fitness Unlimited enough for all support they have given me.
“All of the staff are great and the equipment is brilliant.”