Man of the Year winner, Mark Barry, avoided having baths and showers when he was morbidly obese because it meant having to walk past a long mirror.
“I know it sounds awful, but I struggled to go to the toilet because of my size and don’t feel like I was washing myself properly,” he said.
It got to the stage where Mark wasn’t leaving the house and, if he did, he’d only wear black to cover himself up and blend into the background. The pandemic made things 10 times worse.
“I, like most of the world, was working from home for nearly two years during the pandemic; this definitely didn’t help. After the realisation kicked in about me putting on so much weight, I totally went into self-isolation.
“I never wanted to leave the house, locking and hiding myself away not wanting to speak to or see people. The thought of having to walk anywhere even just to local shops or the chemist around the corner would fill me with dread and extreme anxiety. When I did have - it was a have, never a want - to leave the house, it would have to be planned like a military exercise.
“I would have to give myself plenty of time, not only to get to where I was going, but also knowing I would have to give myself some extra time to stop walking and rest, because I knew I would be totally out of breath and my back and knees would be hurting.
“I would even have to give myself time to stop and try and pull my trousers over my belly, as well as time to calm my heart rate down and stop profusely sweating before I had to encounter anyone.
“Looking back on it now, I didn’t realise just how totally miserable and sad my life had become.”
Welsh-born Mark, who now lives in Nottingham with his partner, Wayne, said their relationship suffered because of his size.
“I would always be mean to my partner, snapping and shouting at the smallest things. Inside, I was crying - in fact sobbing - and desperately sad and unhappy.
“One particular evening, Wayne and I sat down and finally admitted to each other that we couldn’t continue the way we were and the direction our relationship was going. My behaviour was seriously affecting our relationship.
“We discussed ways to get me help and get our relationship back on track, starting with how I could begin losing weight. I needed something that would give me results quickly and a work colleague of Wayne’s had tried The 1:1 Diet and seen an amazing transformation, but it would mean leaving the house and meeting a Consultant (or so I thought).”
The realisation that consultations could be carried out remotely was a game changer for Mark.
“I was overjoyed that virtual consultations were now an option and would look for Consultants who did virtual visits. I contacted Jo and, even though I was literally around the corner from where she lived, she must have sensed the anxiety in my voice and I became a virtual client at first.”
Mark started Plan in October 2021 and reached his goal weight at the end of July 2022.
“What I truly love about the Plan is, not only do you see results quickly, but you are also made to think about your eating habits and why you ate certain foods and - in my case - why I over ate.
“Part of my journey has been the realisation - and still is – that, when I was happy or sad, I would turn to food as a form of comfort. How you think about food has a huge impact on your relationship with it.
“Admitting to myself that I will have to watch my food intake is really a no-brainer, but accepting and embracing it is now a huge step forward for me.
“My Consultant encouraged me every step of the way, was there to offer words of wisdom, encouragement and that kick up the bum when needed. She also gave me the confidence to start having my consultations face to face.
“She knew that this was going to be a huge emotional boost for me to do this.”
The 1:1 Diet has become part of the family for Mark now.
“Wayne joined the Plan in March 2022, after seeing how I had found myself once again and was loving life. He too wanted us together to embrace life to the full; we are back to being Mark and Wayne and looking forward to a long happy future together.
“My mother-in-law also joined the Plan at the same and it’s fair to say we all love it!”
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