A Tameside man has dropped an impressive 10 stone in a bid to restore his health after his mother died of cancer.
Paul Barraclough, from Denton, had 22 stones eight years ago and was taking 20 tablets a day to treat a number of health conditions including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, gout and depression.
However, after losing his mother to ovarian cancer a week after being diagnosed, he was driven to transform his own health and started a weight loss program through his GP. .
Over the years he lost an incredible 10 stone and reversed many of his health issues, taking only three pills a day.
Now the 56-year-old says he is the fittest he has been in 30 years and has had a breath of fresh air.
Paul is a regular at the gym at the Active Tameside Wellness Center, a not-for-profit charitable trust, and has stepped forward to inspire others to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
The father-of-five said: “I lost my mum to ovarian cancer within a week of her diagnosis and that was a big wrench.
“We were all very close and she was the linchpin of the family that held us all together.
“It really hit me and I thought, I have my kids and my wife – if I continue as I am, I’m not going to be here very long.”
Paul said he was “a big boy” from a young age, brought up on his mother’s homemade dishes of stew, dumplings and steak puddings.
In his adult life, he said he could eat four bacon sandwiches for breakfast, a pie and chips for tea, and a full packet of biscuits with a cup of coffee.
Paul explained: “It was easy to do, so the calories were piling up.
“I had all kinds of health problems. Just walking down the stairs or shopping, I was out of breath and couldn’t wear normal sized clothes.
“I didn’t want to go out because my confidence level was zero.
“I didn’t want to talk to people because I basically felt ugly about myself and I had felt that way for years, even before my mother passed away.
“I was a mess. Losing my mum was the kick I needed.
At 22 stone and 5ft 4, Paul had a 54in chest and a 48in waist and said eating healthy turned into a ‘life-changing’ experience, his journey hasn’t always been smooth. simple.
He first hit the gym with a friend, but when the pal gave up, Paul said he lost motivation and went back to his old ways, fueled by grief.
However, after taking a course from Tameside Council to rebuild his confidence and self-esteem, he found the determination to start again.
Paul became a member of the Tameside Wellness Center which helped him with a strength and cardio exercise program which he currently attends four times a week.
He added: “I can walk for miles now. I could never have done this before.
“I have a new breath of life and so much more confidence now.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it and my goal is to help others achieve their weight loss and fitness goals if I can.
“I feel like I’m at my peak now.
“It’s time to live my life.”