At 23 and a half stone, medics had recommended a gastric band to help Stephen lose weight. However Stephen wanted to investigate other options and so was referred to One You Kent (OYK) Lifestyle Advisor Mark McIntyre.
At that point the former marathon runner openly admits he ‘was in a bad way.’ He was frequently out of breath, struggling to do up his shoelaces and suffering with sleep apnoea and was pre-diabetic because of his weight. Now just a few months later Stephen is feeling on top of the world after shedding six stone and is not finished yet.
Lifestyle advisor Mark told father-of-two Stephen that there could be another way to lose weight apart from having surgery. ‘He suggested I set myself a goal. I like a challenge and I just thought, yes I can do it. I think he was pretty shocked when I said I wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.’
Stephen had regular motivational Saturday meetings at Ramsgate library with Mark looking at his goals and tips to overcome any obstacles along the way.
With some of Stephen’s friends and family in disbelief about his plans, he began making it a reality by starting a 12 week weight loss course and signing up to the Blue Wave gym in Margate for ongoing support. He said ‘I lost two stone during those three months just by making some simple changes to what I was eating. I would recommend it to anyone.’
The gym offers a reduced price membership for three months for clients referred from OYK. He was supported to slowly increase his physical activity and make changes to his diet. ‘I honestly believe it is important to have the triangle of support around healthy eating, healthy mind and fitness programs together for success.’
He has since lost over six stone and is on track to climb Mount Kilimanjaro next year, already putting down the deposit on his African adventure. Blue Wave Gym Trainer Nat said, ‘Stephen is the reason we do this job. He set himself a goal and has stuck at it. We can see the improvements in his physical and mental health and it’s all down to his own determination. He is such a gentleman too, always happy to support others at the gym who might be struggling on the equipment or give someone a bit of encouragement.’
Living on the coast gives Stephen the chance to get out for some sea air every day. ‘Whatever the weather, I go out for a 30 minute walk outside every day. I also like to go swimming, go on the treadmill and do circuit classes at the gym. It is such a friendly gym. The trainers have been absolutely fantastic.’
Lifestyle Advisor Mark calls it a privilege working with clients like Stephen. ‘I want people to be able to live their best lives. Stephen is a real inspiration. He is doing just that.’
With gastric surgery now firmly off the cards, 66 year old Stephen is spending his time training and planning for his adventure.