LIFESTYLE

Slimming World Man Of The Year Reveals How He Lost 11 Stone (Hint: It Involves Croissants)

23/07/2014 09:04 BST | Updated 23/07/2014 09:59 BST

Swapping croissants for fresh fruit at breakfast has helped this year's Slimming World Man of the Year go from being unable to fasten his seatbelt on a plane to taking flying lessons.

Brendan O'Donnell, 31, dreamed of learning to fly but was told he was too heavy for light aircraft.

Now he has slimmed from 25st 9lbs to 14st 6lbs - losing a total of 11st 3lbs - and he is planning to take to the air to celebrate.

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Nicknamed "Big Bee" at school, the Aviva insurance worker said he decided he had to make a change upon turning 30 after an uncomfortable flight home from a family holiday to Spain.

He said: "I turned 30 at the beginning of 2013. I'd been lucky and didn't have any health problems, but I began to wonder how long I could continue with the lifestyle I was leading and remain reasonably healthy.

"We organised a number of birthday celebrations throughout the year and looking back I realise my weight impacted on a lot of them. A holiday to Spain last summer was almost ruined because I spent the whole time feeling too hot to enjoy myself, and on the plane home I only just managed to fasten the seatbelt. It dug into me for the whole flight and I decided enough was enough."

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big man

He and his wife Sarah, of Fridaythorpe in East Yorkshire, joined their local Slimming World group in August 2013 and soon swapped their diet of junk food and ready meals for fresh fruit and home cooking. Sarah lost 4st herself.

weight loss

Brendan said: "I'm also hoping to try scuba diving now I can fit in a wetsuit, and I'm going to learn to fly which is something I'd always wanted to do but I was previously too heavy for light aircraft.

"I'm never going back to the old Brendan, this is me forever now."