PAUL Shepherd could be the poster boy for a new unit of weight: the ‘Britney’.
The 40-year-old has so far lost ten stone – the equivalent of pop superstar Britney Spears – and plans to shed several more as part of his life-changing effort.
Paul, a factory operations director from Tanyfron, admits he was “a lazy, fat slob who played too many computer games and ate too much pizza”.
But after undergoing hypnosis his weight has come down from close to 30 stone.
It means he will be able to put back all the mirrors in his house, which he removed because “I couldn’t stand to look at myself”.
Paul said: “When I reached my top weight I developed a mirror aversion, basically because I felt so ugly. I actually kept one little mirror, just for shaving.”
To get in shape Paul worked out at the Total Fitness gym on Stansty Road for three hours a day, six or seven days a week, for 14 months.
It’s a far cry from the attitude Paul used to have – until he had a wake-up call from his boss and a doctor.
Paul said: “My boss took me to one side and said that I wouldn’t make many more years if I carried on the way I was. He said I’d die of a heart attack.
“I took that on board but did nothing about it, even though when I went into hospital to have a cyst removed from my face at about the same time the doctor said that I had to lose weight or I wouldn’t see 50.”
It was after his boss recommended an alternative therapist who used hypnotism that Paul really made the breakthrough.
“I saw him in April of last year, and I told him I wanted my waking thought every day to be that I wanted to go to the gym, and then he put the idea in my head that after going to the gym I’d feel like I was walking off a sunny beach and going to the top of a hill and feeling really good about myself.
“I started my gym regime on May 25, on a day when I couldn’t get to the top of my stairs, and the weight has been dropping off me ever since.”
As a result, Paul has had to buy four complete new wardrobes of clothes and three new suits.
He added: “It’s cost me a fortune, but I’m not complaining.”
Paul says he was quite fit in his younger days but put on weight due to stress and becoming lazy.
“That was the trigger. If something bad happened I’d just go on a binge for days,” he says.
So when one of his best friends died six weeks ago, Paul faced his biggest test yet.
“I didn’t turn to food to cope with it like I would have in the past. I would have pigged out for weeks.”
Following advice from his dietician about sensible food, as well as exercise, has helped Paul.
In the mornings he has just bread and fruit followed by a mid-morning shake. For lunch he has bread, meat and salad, while in the evening he eats just protein.
He said: “The idea is that I have no carbs at all after 6pm, so that 80 per cent of all my calorie intake is before that time.”
But Paul, who also uses weights, stresses there are no shortcuts to weight loss.
He said: “Even if you use them and lose weight, you’re not going to feel good about yourself. This way you feel you’ve earned it.”
The lighter side of life
Paul’s ten stone weight loss is roughly equivalent to...
l Britney Spears
l More than 1,000 Mars bars
l A full keg of beer
l A mature Dartmoor ewe
l The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger, served at a restaurant in Michigan, USA
l More than 21,000 pennies