A Derry man who shed almost two thirds of his body weight has urged others suffering from obesity to take that first step towards transforming their lives.
Patrick Coyle (31) from Carnhill has even offered to speak with people who are in the same position as he was just a few years ago.
In a dramatic transformation, Patrick has gone from being around 36 stone back in January 2012 to a svelte 14 stone today, and has set up a Go Fund Me page to help him raise the money now needed to have his excess skin removed- the final step, he says,in his weight loss journey.
Recalling the decision to change his life four years ago, Patrick said that being so big had made him self-conscious and at times anxious, tired or uncomfortable.
His mother had got him a gym membership for Christmas, and in preparation Patrick began reading up on nutrition and fitness.
“Once you start educating yourself, I realised it was a very simple equation: eating less and moving more.”
Patrick got his mother to take the picture featured on the right on January 1st, 2012, as he embarked on his weight loss journey. He then used a ‘My Fitness Pal’ App on his mobile phone, which scans the bar codes of foods and gives estimations on calories etc based on quantities of other foods. He still uses the App today.
“I weighed myself on New Year and got an error message,” he said. “It wasn’t until February 1st and I weighed myself then and it came up 33 stone, so I must have weighed more in January. The difference has been day and night. I am still flat out with regards to fitness and my diet. My appetite is still there, but I know how to handle that and you can still have a pig out every now and again.
“I now have more confidence. The best part of it all was at the end of that first year, we were having a staff do and I hadn’t bought a new pair of jeans and I went to River Island. My waist had been 60 inches, but I lifted a size 38 and took them into the changing room and they fitted no bother. They were even a bit loose. That is still my happiest moment. I started shouting out of me, cheering in the changing rooms. It just erupted and one of the staff actually came in to see if I was alright.”
He said that anyone else hoping to tackle obesity “needs to be brutally honest with themselves” as a starting point.
“They need to say ‘I can do this if I put my mind to it’, look at what you are eating, look at what you are moving, and say to yourself, ‘I can change this’. Even small changes. People expect results far too quickly. It is all about consistency over a period of time, and once you start to see results it becomes addictive.”
Patrick also advised anyone afraid to join a gym or club in case they’re judged by others, that he has found that people involved in fitness are the most supportive and encouraging and least judgemental.
Patrick said that raising the £5,174 needed for the surgery to remove his excess skin would mean the world to him: “Everything else I have been able to control. I would love to be able to finally look in the mirror and say ‘you done it’.
He said the response to date has been brilliant with around £800 raised in less than a week.
To donate go to www.gofundme.com/patrickcoylefund.
Patrick also paid tribute to his mother Deirdre, brother Shaun, nieces Klara and Chloe and friend Rhema for all their help and encouragement along the way.
And he urged anyone who would like help on starting their own journey to contact him via Facebook at: www.facebook.com/patrick.coyle.98.