A chubby city councillor was inspired to lose more than seven stone in eight months by taking a series of photographs marking his progress.
Having once weighed 20 stone, James Alexander, 32, a Labour councillor for York City Council, is now a svelte 12st 3lbs.
To stay motivated during his weight-loss journey he frequently took photos while at the gym. The series of more than 60 photos shows his transformation from obesity to fitness.
Mr Alexander, 35, of York, said: “It started off as a bit of fun but it has saved and changed my life. If I can become healthy, anybody can.
“It’s great looking through the photos and seeing the weight drop off.”
By the time Mr Alexander had finished university in 2005 he was 18st 3lbs. His weight continued to increase and by the beginning of 2014 Mr Alexander was 20 stone in weight and, with a BPI of 44, was clinically obese.
He said: “I was out of breath too often and I was also sweating too much. I was genearlly unhealthy – I always used to get colds too.”
Mr Alexander took on the weight loss target in January 2014 after being challenged to do so by fellow Labour councillor Daffyd Williams, 36. The challenge was to see who could lose the most weight in the same amount of time.
Mr Alexander began monitoring his eating habits and exercise levels with a phone app, combined with a ‘smart’ fitness bracelet.
He recorded 275 hours of exercise, averaging ten hours per week, including cycling, rowing and running.
He said: “I climb the stairs now whenever I see them when I used to use the lift. I’m trying to be more healthy in every aspect of my life.”
“I lost 7st 7lb which amounts to a third of my entire body weight. I’ve dropped inches from my chest – its an amazing achievement.”
Before his weight loss, Mr Alexander typically ate nothing for breakfast and would grab a tuna sandwich, prawn cocktail crisps and full-fat Dr Pepper for lunch. For his evening meal he would tuck into a seafood pizza with cheese and chips. He would snack on chocolate and sugary fizzy drinks during the day.
Today, he eats Special K cereal with skimmed milk for breakfast, followed by Quorn salad for lunch, and homemade soup or grilled fish for his evening meal. When he snacks he will have a light yoghurt.
He began the challenge weighing 20 stone and now weighs 12st 3lbs, dropping from a 46- to a 34-inch waist.
Mr Alexander has since had to donate most of his former clothes to charity due to his rapidly shrinking waistline.
He said: “My partner has asked me to stop losing weight now. I was always the fat one in the relationship and she doesn’t want me getting so thin that she becomes the fat one.”
His weight loss competitor, Dafydd Williams, lost two stone six pounds stone during the challenge and is now 12st 6lb.
Mr Williams, a fellow Labour councillor, said: “I didn’t lose as much as James but I have noticed a difference in my life too, I feel much healthier after changing my diet.”
The duo have raised £2,000 for York Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit with the challenge, after the unit helped both of their families.
Mr Alexander said: “Staff at York’s Special Care Baby Unit were there for our families when they were most needed.
“My son was born five weeks prematurely and had to stay in the special care baby unit for 2 weeks. He is now 14 months old.
“Losing the weight has changed my life, so I’m thankful to Dafydd for challenging me.
“I’m now healthier and we’re raising money for a service which helps families when their children are at the most vulnerable.”
To donate go to: www.politicalheavyweights.co.uk.
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