A Hebburn slimmer has hit the back of the net after reaching the semi-finals of a competition to find the UK and Ireland’s top male slimmers, where he met international football star John Barnes.
David Brown was one of 43 men to win a place at the semi-finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2018 competition after losing an impressive 10st 7lbs
It was there that the 39-year-old was congratulated by the former Liverpool, Watford and England hero.
David, who slimmed from 22st to 11st 7lbs at the Whitley Bay Slimming World group, 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.
David said: “I joined Slimming World following the encouragement from my wife Sarah who has also lost 5st.
"I’m so glad I had the courage to walk through those doors. In fact, I haven’t looked back since!”
Although David missed out on becoming the overall winner of the competition, the super slimmer was delighted to have come to far since the start of his weight-loss journey.
David added: “I think I had a really negative view of weight loss before I joined Slimming World, I thought I’d be constantly hungry and have to give up all of my favourite foods.
"I couldn’t have been more wrong though, I eat just as much as before, if not more.
"The beauty of Slimming World is that I can fill up on all of my favourite foods and lose weight without depriving myself.
"Steak and chips, cooked breakfasts curries and my favourite fishcakes are all still on the menu, I’ve just had to make some simple swaps like ditching the olive oil or butter in favour of low-calorie cooking spray and trimming the fat off of meat.
“I did worry that I’d be the only bloke in the room, I wasn’t though.
"And, even if I ever was, it wouldn’t matter because everyone is there for the same reason and it’s such a supportive and friendly environment.
"All the hints, tips and recipes you pick up in group are really helpful too.
“Losing weight has even encouraged me to think about how active I am too, so I’ve taken up walking, motorcycling and we cook and do activities together as a family now.
"Getting to meet John was great too, I never knew losing weight would have this many perks!”
John, who has now hung up his football boots to become a successful pundit, was blown away by the achievements of the men he met at the competition.
He said: “As a footballer, health and fitness has formed a huge part of my life, so I know how much effort and dedication it can take to stay fit and healthy – both mentally and physically.
"It was a pleasure to meet David – I can’t believe his transformation, he doesn’t look like the same bloke!
“I think a lot of men find it really difficult to admit they have a problem with something and then seek the help they need to fix it.
"It’s not an easy thing to do so David has my utmost respect.
"I have to say the food he makes looks delicious too – I might have to have a go at a few recipes myself!”