A Horsham man was one of three West Sussex slimmers to reach the semi-finals of a competition to find the UK and Ireland’s top male slimmers.
Andrew Turner along with Andrew Newson, from Crawley and Simon Lee, from Chichester, were three of just 32 men to win a place at the semi-finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2016 competition after losing nearly 30 stone between them.
He has shed 13 stone 5lbs to be named by his fellow slimmers in the Roffey group as their Man of the Year. He then was entered into the national semi-final where the trio were congratulated by former Coventry, Aston Villa and Leicester City star Dion Dublin.
Andrew, 42, who slimmed from 28st 9lbs to 15st 4lbs, believes it can be hard for men to admit that they need help to lose weight, and that it is especially difficult for them to walk through the doors of a slimming club for the first time.
He said: “When men think about losing weight it usually involves hitting the gym or trying to eat less without really telling anyone. Joining Slimming World was a big step for me, I’m so glad I had the courage to walk through those doors though.”
New research backs up Andrew’s view, too. A recent study by Slimming World found that 72 per cent of men thought that increasing physical activity was the most socially-acceptable weight-loss method, followed by losing weight on their own (67 per cent) and taking advice from their GP (54 per cent).
However, while men are less likely than women to attend slimming groups, research shows that when they do attend they are actually more successful than their female counterparts and they find the groups to be much more man-friendly than they expected.
Claire Thornton, who runs the group that he attends in the Star Inn pub in Roffey, said: “A lot of men think that slimming clubs are a woman-only zone, and Andrew, Simon and Andrew are living proof that this isn’t the case.
“Men need just as much support as women to slim down and improve their health. We’re so proud of everything they have achieved.
“Slimming World works for everyone, so I hope they inspire lots of other men in West Sussex who’d like to lose weight to take that step and join one of our groups.”
All three men have also become more active as a result.
Andrew has been able to get a lot better at skateboarding, while Andrew from Crawley can now run 10km and easily cycles 20-40km per week.
Dion, who has now hung up his football boots to present hit daytime TV show Homes under the Hammer, was blown away by the achievements of the men he met at the competition.
He said: “Health and fitness formed a huge part of my career as a footballer, so I know how much effort and dedication it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“It was a pleasure to meet Andrew, Simon and Andrew and hear all about their weight loss.
“They’ve taken a really big and important step – a step which a lot of men would find too daunting – I think many people would be guilty of thinking that going to a slimming club isn’t very macho.
“It takes a lot to recognise that you have a weight problem and then be brave enough to do something about it – they’re all top men in my book.”
While Andrew Turner and Andrew Newson reached the final ten of the competition, unfortunately neither they nor Simon were the overall winner. The title was taken by Danny Crosby, from Altrincham.
For more information about Slimming World and to find groups go to www.slimmingworld.co.uk