"This one is quite different. I finished the project last November and my weight has stayed down." Mr Christie, 55, said he was on the verge of serious problems when he started the course. He had taken early retirement from his job as a deputy headteacher on health grounds. "There were obvious problems ahead if something hadn't been done quite quickly," he said.
He is critical of those who dismiss the obesity problem. "Even when I was in my twenties and playing lots of sport I weighed 161/2 stone. I'm never going to be matchstick man," he said. "It's an illness like any other illness. If there are millions of people who are obese that is an epidemic and needs attention paid to it."