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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Stephen Topping & Charlie Duffield

Dad who had four bacon butties for breakfast every day was too afraid to leave the house

A dad-of-five who would eat four bacon butties for breakfast says he did not want to leave his home because his weight left him with little confidence.

Paul Barraclough, from Denton, Tameside, weighed 22 stone and was taking 20 tablets a day to treat several different health conditions - including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and gout.

His mental health was suffering, and the 56-year-old was also living with depression.

He recalls that he did not even want to speak to people as he "felt ugly", reports the Manchester Evening News.

However when his mum died a week after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Paul decided to turn his life around.

Paul Barraclough back in 2007, years before his transformation began (Manchester Evening News)

Eight years on, he has lost 10 stone and his life is completely transformed.

Paul said: "I lost my mum to ovarian cancer within a week of her being diagnosed and it was a big wrench.

"We were all very close and she was the kingpin of the family who held us all together. It really hit home and I though, 'I've got my children and my wife, if I carry on the way I am, I'm not going to be here much longer."

“My mum was very old school when it came to cooking, she loved cooking and baking for her family. Stew and dumplings, steak puddings, you name it, she made it and while it was good, home-cooked food, it wasn’t the healthiest.

He lost motivation when his friend gave up the gym, but managed to find his way back (Manchester Evening News)

“From an early age I was a big lad. Eight years ago, I was 22 stone, I had a 54in chest, a 48in waist and I’m 5ft 4ins tall. I had all sorts of health problems, just walking down the stairs or to the shops I’d be out of breath and I couldn’t wear normal-sized clothes.

“Starting to eat healthily was just a life changing experience for me. Previously I could eat four bacon sandwiches easily for breakfast, for dinner I would eat pie and chips and a full packet of biscuits with a cup of coffee. It was easily done so the calories were piling on.

“I didn’t want to go out because my confidence level was zero. I didn’t want to speak to people because I basically felt ugly about myself and I’d felt like that for years, even before my mum passed away. I was a mess, losing my mum was the kick I needed.”

Paul now takes just three tablets a day and says he feels the healthiest and fittest he’s been in 30 years. It’s all down to his sheer determination to eat healthier and exercise regularly.

Paul has a new lease of life (Active Tameside)

But Paul is the first to admit that becoming who he is today wasn’t easy.

On the advice of his GP, he attended Active Ashton and Active Hyde gyms with a friend, but lost motivation when his friend gave up.

Fuelled by the grief of losing his mum, Paul began spiralling back into old habits, with his confidence hitting rock bottom.

But he managed to regain the strength and determination to start again, halving the size of his meals, eating healthier and going back to the gym.

After attending a course to build up his self-esteem, Paul became a member at the Tameside Wellness Centre, in Denton.

He now visits the gym up to four times a week for strength and cardio exercises - while also popping into the sauna and steam room when he can for some well-deserved relaxation.

Paul's now the fittest he has been in 30 years (Active Tameside)

Now a granddad to a one-year-old boy, Paul is determined to use his experience to help others.

He is a full-time carer for his daughter Kirsty, 22, and the pair go to the Tameside Wellness Centre gym along with Paul's wife, Katherine.

“I can walk for miles now. I could never do that before,” he said. “I’ve got a new lease of life and so much more confidence now.

“If I can do it, anyone can do it and it’s my goal to help other people to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals if I can. I feel like I’m in my prime now. It’s time to live my life.”

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