A SLIMMER from York who shed more than half his 31st weight in just two years will run the London Marathon this weekend.
Matt Briggs, 32, lost 17st, seven and a half pounds after he saw an unflattering photo of himself on Facebook.
Having shrunk from a 56in to a 32in waist he has taken up cycling, running and going to the gym, but now faces his biggest test since slimming down to just 13st 10lb.
Mr Briggs, from York, said: “Three years ago if someone had told me I’d lose 17st and be training to run the London Marathon I’d have thought they were mad, but my life is completely different now.
“I feel like I missed out on so much when I was bigger and I’m determined to grab every opportunity with both hands and try new things.”
Friends have even started calling him the “Duracell Bunny” after he climbed Ben Nevis in Scotland, cycled 50km for charity, and competed in 10k runs.
Mr Briggs is running this Sunday’s marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK along with four others from Slimming World, who have lost a combined 42st. Previous teams have raised nearly £70,000.
He said he turned to comfort food after his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 15. She died two years later.
But he began to cut down on takeaways and fizzy drinks in January 2010, after seeing the photo his father had taken of him on Christmas Day 2009.
“I’m passionate too about showing other men that losing weight isn’t girly and that slimming clubs aren’t just for girls, and I have lots of blokes in my groups,” he said.
“Helping other people to change their lives in the same way that I have my own is the best job in the world and my members have been really behind me, asking how my training’s going and digging deep to support Cancer Research UK too.”
Once he had lost 10st, he started parking his car a mile further from a phone store he worked at in York city centre, walking the difference. He added that his relationship with food “has completely changed”.
“I’ve discovered a new love of cooking and my favourite meal is homemade chicken curry with rice.
“Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t about counting calories or having small portions, it’s about changing the way you cook and eat.”
He went on: “The London marathon seemed like the next logical challenge so when I heard that Slimming World was looking for people to join its team, I jumped at the chance.
“I’m going to feel so proud when I cross the finish line.”