‘I shed more than half my body weight’

Craig Potts before shedding 16 stone
Craig Potts before shedding 16 stone
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SUPER-slimmer Craig Potts is half the man he used to be - after shedding 16 stone of his massive 30-stone body weight.

Obese Craig was even too heavy to be suitable for a gastric band weight-loss procedure and found simple everyday tasks like tying his shoelaces a struggle.

But now the 47-year-old, from Shirecliffe, is a fighting fit 14 stone after joining a Sheffield gym where he worked away the pounds.

Craig was referred to Concord Sports Centre by his GP, where he was signed up for a discounted 12-week course of exercise.

He admitted he was reluctant at first and said: “I was scared - I didn’t know what to expect and no-one there was as heavy as me. I really didn’t want to be there.

“But I thought I would either be dead at 50 or bed-ridden. I had to stick with it, my body was a ticking timebomb.”

Fitness specialist Dave Birds started Craig on a gentle workout a couple of times a week, gradually increasing his exercise each month.

He also shared his own experiences of losing 12 stone at the same gym to help inspire and motivate Craig on his weight-loss journey, which continued long after the end of his 12-week referral when he signed up to be a gym member.

Along with the exercise plan came a major overhaul of his diet, which was once made up of junk food like crisps, chocolate, biscuits and fizzy drinks - snacks which often replaced proper meals.

But now he is tucking into salads, fish and jacket potatoes - determined not to undo all the good work he has done at the gym, although he admits it has not been easy.

Craig said: “It’s been really hard-going physically and mentally, and during the 12-week course I wanted to quit many times.

“I always thought I was happy and mobile at 30 stone, but everyday tasks were a real struggle. Walking up stairs would require a break halfway and even tying my shoe laces was a task.

“But now I walk or cycle the three miles to the gym and do three or four miles on the treadmill.

“I’ve also gone cold turkey cutting out all the junk food - it would have been daft to go home and stuff my face when I was working so hard in the gym. I set my goals and I stuck to them. Today I feel far more outgoing and sociable, too.”

The radical weight-loss has also allowed him to come off the medication for his soaring blood pressure and he has even spread the message to his family.

His mum June, 72, and sister Beth, 48, are now on the GP referral scheme, too, and together they’ve lost more than eight stone.

Craig added: “I’m so thankful to Dave who has stuck with me after my GP referral finished and I became a Fitness Unlimited member. He’s done me the world of good.

“I’d be a lot worse without Dave’s help so I owe him a lot.”

Dave praised his efforts and said: “Craig has done incredibly well, losing more than half his weight.

“He has shown so much dedication, especially through the tough times. He proves people can come through the other side of obesity to live a healthy life.

The Fitness Unlimited scheme offers membership to Concord Leisure Centre along with Ponds Forge Sports Centre, Hillsborough Leisure Centre and Don Valley Stadium, which are all operated by Sheffield International Venues. For more information about the GP referral scheme contact Dave on 0114 257 4426.