'Sidmouth slimmer' celebrates huge weight loss
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 July 2014
A morbidly obese dad from Sidmouth, who once topped the scales at more than 27 stone, has shed nearly half his body weight in just over a year.
Graeme Bernard, 52, weighed almost twice as much as an average-sized man after he gave up smoking and substituted his cravings with sweets and takeaways.
The Tyrrell Mead resident also lived a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle, which encouraged his eating. His waistline eventually ballooned - with him weighing in at a hefty 27 stone and nine pounds.
Graeme said he spent most of his working days as a high-flying senior manager fighting the embarrassment of meeting his clients because of his size.
“I quit smoking in 1999 because I had high blood pressure,” the father-of-two said. “I was advised to give up cigarettes so I substituted them with food and drink.”
After reaching breaking point, Graeme decided he would take action and he ended up joining Slimming World - a decision which he says ‘transformed’ his life.
As he learned more about healthy eating and portion control, the weight started to fall off to such a degree that he lost 13 stone and two pounds in just 14 months.
Such is the success of Graeme Bernard’s drastic weight loss that he made it to the semi-final of Slimming World’s Man of the Year competition in Derbyshire.
Pitted against 36 other slimming hopefuls, Graeme failed to make the final, but called the experience an ‘honour’.
He continues to eat the same sized portions as he did when he was larger, but has learnt how to cook the right ingredients to ensure his weight remains healthy.
“I am now the same weight I was in 1985,” he said. “I am still going to Slimming World so I can keep an eye on myself.”
Cara Shepherd, who runs the Sidmouth group which Graeme attends, said: “Graeme is almost unrecognisable from the man who walked into my group all those months ago.
“He’s shown that making small changes to the way you eat and becoming more active bit by bit can make a huge difference.
“I hope he inspires lots of other men in Sidmouth who’d like to lose weight to go for it and join Slimming World.”