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Mark Labbett has always been a big man. Standing at 6ft 6in, the 52-year-old former rugby player was once so overweight he could barely walk.
But after embarking on a new diet plan, Mark has managed to lose a staggering 10 stone.
And even though he’s now a healthy size 18, he still enjoys the odd chip!
“I was always a big lad,” Mark, from Kent, told Mirror Online. “I was about 18 stone when I was 18. I was a professional rugby player so I could carry the weight but it wasn’t healthy.”
At his heaviest, Mark weighed in at 32 stone.
“I had to give up rugby because of my weight. I was too big and my knees couldn’t take it anymore,” he said.
“My weight just gradually increased over the years. I’d comfort eat when I was upset and I love my food. I’m a real foodie.”
Mark’s turning point came when his doctor told him he was at risk of developing diabetes.
“That was my wake-up call,” he said. “I didn’t want to end up taking insulin injections for the rest of my life.”
So, in October 2016, Mark joined Slimming World.
“Within weeks, I started to see results,” he said. “I’d always been a big bloke but I started to feel lighter on my feet. I had more energy and I was sleeping better.”
And now, more than two years later, Mark has lost an amazing 10 stone.
“I’m so much healthier now,” he said. “I don’t get out of breath walking up the stairs anymore. And my blood pressure and cholesterol have both improved.”
Mark, who now weighs 22 stone, says he still enjoys the odd treat.
“I’m not a saint,” he said. “I still have the odd chip but I don’t eat them every day like I used to. I’m a lot more mindful of what I’m eating now.”
And he’s not the only one who’s noticed the difference.
“My wife Karen (49) has been really supportive,” he said. “She’s lost weight herself since I started dieting. She’s now a size 12.”
The couple, who have been married for 15 years, have also started running together.
“We’ve both got a real interest in fitness now,” said Mark. “It’s great to be able to share that with Karen.”
Mark is proof that it’s never too late to make a change.
“If I can do it, anyone can,” he said. “Losing weight has made such a difference to my life. I just wish I’d done it sooner.”