This is exactly the inspiration we're all needing to help us stick to those New Year diets! A formerly obese father-of-three has been named Slimming World's Mr Sleek 2019 after shedding a whopping five stone. Ross Hebden said that he was spurred on to lose the weight after accidentally being sent an email from a colleague in which they referred to him as "the fat and ugly bloke".
Ross, who is 36-years-old, works in insurance and lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and three children. He reportedly weighed 18st 8½ lbs at his heaviest but has managed to get his weight down to an impressive 13 st 7 lbs.
He achieved this inspiring transformation by changing his diet and hitting the gym. At his heaviest, Ross's daily diet consisted of:
A bacon sandwich on white bread for breakfast, followed by snacks such as chocolate or crisps. For lunch, a triple layer sandwich with crisps, chocolate, a fizzy drink, and a doughnut. Finally, for dinner, he would typically have a chicken tikka masala made with sauce from a jar and served with garlic naan bread. Then more snacks, such as doughnuts, biscuits, cookies and share-sized bags of crisps.
However, after being left devastated by his colleague's hurtful email, Ross decided to swap the bacon sandwiches and the crisps for chicken salads and fruit. This resulted in him picking up the inspiring Mr Sleek award.
Though the email acted as the catalyst for his weight loss journey, Ross said that it wasn't the first instance that his weight had bothered him. Speaking about a family holiday to Turkey, Ross said:
"The first time I set foot on a plane I think it really hit me just how big I'd become. We were going on a holiday to Turkey with friends and I could just about buckle the seatbelt. I was too embarrassed to ask for an extender though, so I spent the whole flight feeling squashed and uncomfortable, especially when the in-flight meal arrived because I could barely get the tray down over my stomach."
He continued by saying:
"It had got to the stage where I was almost used to people making comments about my size. But when an email went around at work which called me the 'fat and ugly bloke,' I was devastated. I wasn't supposed to receive it, but that didn't matter – my self-worth was completely destroyed and I just couldn't shake it off."
This prompted Ross to make some important changes to his lifestyle. He said that he had tried to lose weight before by going to the gym and exercising more, but without changing his eating habits he saw few results. He said: "I was getting physically fitter, yet I still wasn't getting the results I wanted because I hadn't done anything to address my eating habits." He said that even if he did lose some weight from the extra exercise, it proved difficult to keep it off.
However, when his wife, Amanda, gave birth to their third child and decided to join Slimming World to lose the baby weight, Ross says that he thought he'd "bite the bullet" and joined her. He said that his biggest worry was going hungry in order to lose the weight, but he found that he could still eat all of his favourite meals - they just had to be prepared in a different way.
He traded his morning bacon sandwich for a healthier "grill up" of low-fat sausages, lean bacon, beans, tomatoes, and eggs fried with low-calorie cooking spray. His new lunch consisted of a large chicken salad and a high-fibre cereal bar. An example of his healthier dinners is homemade sticky teriyaki pork served with vegetables and wholegrain rice.
About Slimming World, he said:
"Joining a group made everything click for me and part of that was definitely because of the other members. I was worried I'd be the only man there and I'd feel out of place, yet everyone was so welcoming and supportive that it really helped me to hit the ground running. I haven't looked back since and neither has Amanda, she's lost 3st 6.5lbs too!"
Ross says his weight loss has changed his life in numerous ways, but most importantly to him is his ability to be there for his family. He said: "I was becoming the kind of dad who was tired all the time or was too out of breath to play with them, and that wasn't who I wanted to be. Now I've got plenty of energy to keep up with my three wonderful children and I couldn't be happier about that."
It isn't just Ross's family who are proud of his achievements - Twitter users have taken to the platform to share their support and admiration for his weight loss journey.
Congratulations Ross, you're an inspiration to all of us!