At my heaviest I suffered a string of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, sciatica and severe back pain, which left me fearing I wouldn’t be around to see my four beautiful children grow up.
My weight problems began after an abusive childhood and I fluctuated in size throughout my teens, 20s and early 30s. Then in 2008 my triplets were born three months premature and with varying degrees of health problems. It was a very difficult time and I practically lived at the hospital, so my eating habits suffered badly.
I was so ashamed of myself that I didn’t want to leave the house. I’d just sit on the sofa and eat junk food every night. It was a vicious cycle.
However, I woke up one morning and something just clicked. I thought about the way the triplets had fought for their lives and I knew it was time for me to start fighting for me. I didn’t want to leave my children without a father.
My GP had previously recommended Slimming World and a few friends had been members, so I decided to give it a try.
Food Optimising was a world away from the restrictive diets and quick fixes I’d tried in the past. I swapped my junk food dinners for healthy, home-cooked meals. My favourites include a massive Free Food-packed omelette and chips or chicken tikka masala with boiled rice, and found I could still enjoy treats too. My partner, Neil, and my children all eat the same meals when we’re together.
I still have a takeaway most weeks. I’m a chocoholic, too, and I can have a little bit of chocolate every day. What’s not to love?
As well as changing my eating habits, I increased my fitness levels. I started by walking for around 15 minutes each day and slowly increased how much I was doing. I also joined a gym with Neil and even signed up to jazz and tap dance classes.
Losing over 9st has improved my health dramatically – I no longer have diabetes symptoms and I don't need medication for any of my previous complaints.
I’ve got a whole new wardrobe, and I've had the confidence to take and pass my driving test. I feel like a different person. I used to struggle to keep up with the children – now I’m the one tiring them out!
One of my great passions is musical theatre, and since I’ve lost weight I’ve felt able to audition for the parts I’d never have dared to try for as an overweight actor.
When I was bigger I used to always play the comedic roles and hide behind my jolly persona, but inside I felt ashamed at how big I’d let myself become. Now I’ve won a few leading man roles and I love being on the stage again.
I couldn’t believe it when I heard I’d been named Slimming World’s Mr Sleek 2016. It makes me realise how far I’ve come. I know I’ll never go back to the old Martin and I truly believe that if I can do this, absolutely anyone can!
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.