“I knew I was overweight, but it didn’t really bother me because of my age. I’d lost my brother, Eddie, to a very aggressive form of lung cancer eight years ago when he was only 51, so being told I’d got cancer brought everything rushing back from that time.
“They began operating at 11am and it took six-and-a-half hours because I was five stone overweight. The excess fat in my body was hindering the surgeon from reaching my colon.
“I’m a great believer in fate and at the same time I received an email from ITV1’s This Time Next Year asking if I would put a child from the chess club I run into the show. I didn’t want to put a child under that kind of pressure, but said ‘I need to lose five stone’.
“20 minutes later I had a phone call from them asking about my story. I pledged to lose the weight by 5th May 2018, on what was the 45th anniversary of our wedding day.
“I was 15st 4lbs when I met the lovely Gill Crook from The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan.
“I liked the fact it was all about one-to-one support; that was the clincher for me. I cannot stand the happy clappy group things and think there’s something deeply depressing about them. I’m too old for that.
“Gill has a lovely, encouraging personality and I came away feeling very confident that – with her support – I could achieve what I wanted. I started on Step 2 and was only allowed to lose two pounds a week because of my medical history.
“It wasn’t a nice, smooth road with me, and I had to come off Plan a couple of times on my journey because of a couple of health scares, but throughout it all Gill was a stabilising influence. All the time, her cheery little voice kept me going and I didn’t want to let her down.
“John and I were married in a registry office first time round and wanted to renew our vows in a church, on our sapphire anniversary.
“Our son, Adam was his dad’s best man, our daughter, Nikki, was my matron of honour, our grandson, Lucas, 12, walked me down the aisle and Olivia, our eight-year-old granddaughter was our flower girl.
“I wore a made-to-measure dress bought for me by Nikki. It was beautiful and made me feel like a bride.
“By that time, I’d already made a decision to become a part-time Consultant to help others.
“I feel marvellous. Not only do I feel better, I know that I have extended my life span. I can walk without feeling tired, I’m probably the oldest newly accredited Consultant and have a new career.”
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