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'I love being half the man I used to be': Councillor sheds 16st in a year

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 01 January 2020

Mark Gingell is literally half the man he was a year ago after shedding 16-stone at Slimming World in Diss. Picture: Rowena Mason

Mark Gingell is literally half the man he was a year ago after shedding 16-stone at Slimming World in Diss. Picture: Rowena Mason

Rowena Mason

A formerly 32-stone councillor who once ate a sausage roll, steak slice and four chocolate bars for breakfast has halved his body weight in just 12 months.

Diss Town councillor Mark Gingell when at his biggest when he topped the scales at 35-stone in 2015. Picture: Mark GingellDiss Town councillor Mark Gingell when at his biggest when he topped the scales at 35-stone in 2015. Picture: Mark Gingell

Mark Gingell is quite literally half the man he was a year ago after shedding 16-stone and seeing his waist size shrink from 62in to 39in.

"When I took early retirement, I steadily put on more weight and at my biggest was probably around 35-stone," said the retired teacher, who's starting weight was 32st 1.5lbs when he joined the Slimming World group in Diss in October 2018.

Mark Gingell, who lost 16-stone at Slimming World in Diss, says his next challenge is to maintain that loss for the rest of my life. Picture: Rowena MasonMark Gingell, who lost 16-stone at Slimming World in Diss, says his next challenge is to maintain that loss for the rest of my life. Picture: Rowena Mason

A radical change to his daily diet, with meals now featuring homemade quiche and lasagne, fruit and vegetables rather than kebabs, chips, cakes and ice cream, has brought about a transformation.

He said: "I have now lost half of my body weight just before Christmas; 16st 1.5lbs attending the Slimming World group every week without fail and over 19st lost from my very heaviest weight.

Diss Town councillor Mark Gingell when at his biggest when he topped the scales at 35-stone in 2015. Picture: Mark GingellDiss Town councillor Mark Gingell when at his biggest when he topped the scales at 35-stone in 2015. Picture: Mark Gingell

"After I had lost close to 100 lbs, I actually felt light on my feet for the first time and even though my weight loss has been consistent, it was weird that this felt as though it happened one week and not gradually, which was a strange feeling."

Mr Gingell, 55, who lives in Shelfanger and now volunteers at Diss Citizens Advice as a benefits specialist and sits on Diss Town Council, said issues with his weight go back to childhood.

Fomrer teacher Mark Gingell from Shelfanger pictured in 2016. Picture: Mark GingellFomrer teacher Mark Gingell from Shelfanger pictured in 2016. Picture: Mark Gingell

"I have probably been overweight for long periods of time, obese for most of my life, as I was 11lb 8oz at birth," he said. "I can't remember ever being thin but can remember being called fat for the first time as a toddler, children can be cruel."

He was 24st by the age of 33 and was advised to lose weight after a medical as part of an adoption assessment with his wife Amanda, with whom he also has daughters Madeleine-Rose, 18, and Gabrielle-Mae, 16.

Diss Slimming World consultant Jane Aldous with Mark Gingell has halved his body weight by losing 16-stone in just 12 months. Picture: Rowena MasonDiss Slimming World consultant Jane Aldous with Mark Gingell has halved his body weight by losing 16-stone in just 12 months. Picture: Rowena Mason

The lifestyle changes he has made in the past year have included longer walks with the dogs, exercise including swimming and cycling and cutting out takeaways and late-night meals.

His dramatic weight loss has had a positive impact on his life including improving his eyesight which had been deteriorating.

Mark Gingell in 2017. He now enjoys shopping for clothes he wants rather than the only 7XL tops he can find. Picture: Mark GingellMark Gingell in 2017. He now enjoys shopping for clothes he wants rather than the only 7XL tops he can find. Picture: Mark Gingell

More unusual benefits have included being able to drive using just a standard seat belt, rather than having to use an extender, and sleeping without the need for extra support underneath the bed.

He said: "I still have a bit to go and then the next challenge will be to maintain that loss for the rest of my life."

His success has seen him urge others to follow his lead, working with Diss Slimming World consultant Jane Aldous.

"I have encouraged three members of my village and a fellow Diss Town councillor to come to Slimming World and between them they have lost just over 10 stones," he said. "The five of us have lost a total of 26 stones between us and that is a serious amount of weight."

- Slimming World meets at Diss Youth and Community Centre, Shelfanger Road, on Tuesday (10am) and Thursday (10am/12pm). More details on 07747 788062.

TYPICAL DAILY MENU BEFORE

Breakfast: Sausage roll, steak slice, KitKat Chunky, Twix and two Club bars with mug of tea (three sugars).

Lunch: Four sandwiches made with four slices of thick white bread, spread with margarine, ham and mayonnaise, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, along with two packets of Walkers cheese and onion crisps and Snickers Bar with a Pepsi Max.

Dinner: Large donner kebab with chilli sauce and large chips, quarter of a hot cake with half a tub of Hagen-Dazs ice cream.

Snacks: Bananas, apples, crisps and chocolate bars.

Late at night: Four slices of thick white bread toast, spread with margarine, two with crunchy peanut butter and two with lemon and lime marmalade or chocolate spread; followed by chicken flavoured crisps and an almond Magnum.

TYPICAL DAILY MENU AFTER

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Breakfast: Two bacon medallions (all fat trimmed off), half tin of plum tomatoes, half tin of baked beans, two slices of toasted Nimble, a third of a punnet of mushrooms and two large eggs cooked with a spray of Fry Light. Black Americano (no milk, no sugar).

Lunch: Half of my own crustless quiche and salad: lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, onion, tomato, pickled onion, gherkin, with peppers, mushrooms, onions, quark, onion and chive cottage cheese, eggs and a small amount of cheese in the quiche. Pepsi Max Raspberry to drink.

Dinner: Slimming World Lasagne with carrots, beans, peas, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Blackberries, black currents, strawberries, raspberries, melon, red currents (most from frozen fruit packs) with a Kvarg flavoured Quark Pot.

Snacks: A banana, apples, pears, strawberries (June to September). Do not always snack though.

Late at night: Nothing

MARK'S SIZES IN OCTOBER 2018

7XL tops and 72" trousers

Chest: 59"

Neck: 20.5"

Upper Arm: 18.5"

Wrist: 9.25"

Waist: 62"

Hips: 70"

Thigh: 39.5"

MARK'S SIZES NOW

L tops and 38" trousers

Chest: 46"

Neck: 15.5"

Upper Arm: 14"

Wrist: 7.5"

Waist: 39"

Hips: 46"

Thigh: 25"

Total Inches Lost: 85.75" (Just over 7ft)

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