Sister inspired diet

Five stone weight loss progress photo

A student lost ten inches from his waistline after being inspired to turn his health around by his seven-year-old sister who was battling leukemia.

In total Ryan Ridgway, 19, lost five stone, shrinking from 20st to the 15st he is today.

When his sister Niamh Ridgway, now 9, fell ill two years ago, Mr Ridgway gave up toast, crisps, and fish and chips and instantly found the weight dropping away.

He said: “My sister’s treatment took my brain off eating. All my thoughts went to her. Making sure she was better was constantly on my mind.

“It changed the way I looked at life. I realised I could be better than I was. I could be healthier and do a lot more if I just kept up the weight loss.”

At his heaviest weight, Mr Ridgway was snared by bad eating habits, which included snacking to lift his mood.

He said: “The problems was I was overeating. When I was depressed I’d eat a big bag of crisps or have a double-portion meal.”

As Niamh’s condition got worse, Mr Ridgway found his thoughts increasingly preoccupied elsewhere, as he devoted more time to helping the family.

He said: “It was quite traumatic. As a family we were all over the place for the ten months Niamh was in treatment. My mum spent a lot of time on the ward with her, and I was going backwards and forwards to college.

“Sometimes it was really hard. At one point we didn’t know if Niamh was going to make it through. She was in intensive care twice, nearly on death’s door.”

He said his sister’s strength and bravery inspired him to make changes to his lifestyle to allow him to get healthier.

He started exercising more, taking walks and swimming twice a week. He also drastically overhauled his diet, swapping unhealthy meals for porridge and salads.

Before beginning his weight loss, Mr Ridgway typically ate a full fry-up with lots of buttered toast, ham sandwiches with crisps and chocolate for lunch, with a fish and chip takeaway for his evening meal.

Today, he typically eats porridge with fruit for breakfast, vegetable soup for lunch and grilled chicken with lots of fresh vegetables for his evening meal.

He said: “It was hard at first, but once I got to the point where I believed I could do it, it became a lot easier.

“At one point I thought I’d never lose the weight, that I’d never be a size where I felt comfortable, but now I feel so much more confident.”

To date, Mr Ridgway has managed to drop an incredible 10 inches on his waist from a 46 to a 36, and it has given him a new lease on life.

With his sister now in remission and back home with the family in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, Mr Ridgway has started looking to his future and is planning on attending university this year.

He said: “Losing weight makes it a lot easier to do things outside of your comfort zone. I can go to university and not feel as if people are looking at me, thinking I’m lazy. People judge each other. It’s bad, but it happens.

The confidence I got from losing weight will help me to communicate better with people.”

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