'Greatest loser' award for man who shed 17 stone

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A former taxi driver who shed 17 stone won a slimming award today.

Mike Smith, 57, was warned by doctors to slim down after his 32st 12.5lb bulk was discovered to be the cause of serious health problems.

The father-of-two, from Beighton, near Sheffield, was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism - a direct result of his fast-food diet and long hours in his cab.

He joined his local Slimming World group, changed his diet and managed to lose more than half his body weight.

His efforts were rewarded today when he was named Slimming World's Greatest Loser 2010.

He said: "I was living on crisps, bottles of pop and chocolate.

"I tried lots of diets but found them all too hard to fit into my daily routine and odd hours. As the weight climbed, my health suffered.

"I had sleep apnoea and found it hard to get about. I did most of my own maintenance on the taxi but I'd struggle to get up from underneath the car."

Mr Smith's dramatic weight loss resulted in a change of lifestyle.

Shedding 28in from his 70in waist has led to a marked improvement in his health and he now advises others on weight loss as a Slimming World Consultant.

He added: "The sleep apnoea has vanished and nowadays I've got so much more energy.

"When you have a 70in waist you don't get very much choice - these days I can buy clothes off the peg and the only problem I have is keeping my trousers up."

Since shedding the pounds Mr Smith has left his job as a taxi driver and now works as a courier.

He said he sometimes finds it hard to believe he is now advising others on weight loss.

He said: "I love meeting new members, especially seeing their mouths drop open when I tell them how much I've lost or show them my 'before' pictures.

"And now I have a life-size cut-out to show them I'm living proof that what seems impossible is possible."

Slimming World's Greatest Loser title is open to members of Slimming World groups from across the UK and is awarded to the entrant with the greatest weight loss, provided some of that weight loss has occurred within the last 12 months with Slimming World.