A man who was once so overweight that he had to stand at the foot of the Great Wall of China because he couldn’t get up the steps to walk it, has lost an incredible 15st 8lbs.
Ben Muscroft, 42, from Sheffield, had struggled with his weight since childhood and weighed 27st 8½lbs when he was at his heaviest.
It was during a holiday to see his brother in 2015 when he realised that he had to take drastic action to overhaul his lifestyle, and he embarked on a weight loss journey that saw him lose 15st 8lbs in four years, with the help of a healthy diet and exercise.
He now weighs 12st ½lb and even found love as part of his local weight loss group.
Ben Muscroft, 42, from Sheffield, struggled with his weight throughout his life and weighed 27st 8lbs at his heaviest (left). He has now lost an incredible 15st 8lbs in just four years (right, now)
He was inspired to make a change after visiting his brother in China and struggling to walk along the Great Wall of China, something which he calls a huge regret (pictured in China in 2015)
Ben revealed: ‘Before I lost weight life was just hard. I couldn’t walk for more than five minutes, I always felt out of breath and I just had no get-up-and-go.’
He continued: ‘I had knee problems which made me scared to walk long distances because I worried it would just completely give out under the strain of my weight.’
‘I couldn’t even roll over in bed. It’s such an everyday thing for most people but if I wanted to change position to get more comfortable, I actually had to get up and move to the other side of the bed.’
A trip to China to visit his brother showed Ben, a care worker, just how serious his weight problem had become.
The care worker admitted his life was ‘just hard’ before he lost the weight and said he struggled with every day things (pictured before his weight loss)
He said: ‘Just getting to China was a bit of a battle. I had to ask for a seatbelt extension in front of the entire plane which wasn’t the greatest of starts.
‘Then the tray table wouldn’t lie flat so I had to eat my meals at a strange angle. It wasn’t a pleasant way to spend 20 hours.’
He continued: ‘Then when we got to China, my size meant I missed out of certain activities.
‘We visited the Great Wall of China, but I was too unfit to walk any of it, which I really regret.
Ben said he struggled to walk for more than five minutes and said at his heaviest he was over 27 stone
‘I also became something of a talking point because many people had never seen anyone my size before – so the looks and stares were plentiful.’
Determined to change, Ben signed up to Slimming World with his father and sister, and reluctantly went along.
Ben was pleased to learn that Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan meant he didn’t have to give up any of his favourite foods, he just had to learn to cook and prepare them in a different way.
He said: ‘To be honest when my Consultant told me about all the foods I could eat while losing weight I thought it was too good to be true.
Ben said at his heaviest weight he couldn’t roll over in bed and struggled to walk for more than five minutes
The care worker revealed he was inspired to change after taking a trip to China, when he said everyone stared at him
‘I gave it my all thought and in the first week I lost 10½lbs while enjoying meals like creamy coriander and mint chicken, which is my dad’s specialty!’
As well as the delicious eating plan, Ben soon realised that the support on offer at his Slimming World group was key to his success.
He said: ‘I’d had a few weight loss attempts in the past, but without any support I soon went back to my old ways, often gaining back everything I’d lost and then some.
‘Not only that – I met someone special too – my girlfriend, Karen. At the size I was I’d grown used to the idea that I’d never find anyone who wanted to be with me.
In the last four years, Ben has lost over 15st 8lbs, and now weighs a healthy 12st (pictured with an old pair of his shorts)
Ben credits a Slimming World healthy diet with helping him lose the weight and now exercises by running, boxing and practising yoga
He added: ‘My diet group didn’t just change my life, it gave me a life I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have.’
Losing weight also made Ben think about how active he was and sparked a new passion for exercise.
He said: ‘When you weigh more than 27st even the simplest tasks really take it out of you. I couldn’t walk the short distance to Hillsborough Football Stadium without getting out of breath.
‘I started building up my walking and then started running, which I really enjoyed. In fact, I ran my first half marathon in 1 hour 50 minutes, which I was really proud of.’
Ben said he will now return to China with his girlfriend Karen and hopes to take on the challenge of the Great Wall again
He added: ‘I also enjoy boxing and yoga – it’s just become part of my life now.’
He revealed: ‘Next year I’m planning on returning to China with Karen so that she can meet my brother and I know this trip will be full of amazing memories.
‘We’ve got our whole future ahead of us and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.’
Breakfast: Bacon, sausage and egg sandwich
Lunch: Fish and chips with peas and gravy
Snacks: Sausage rolls, crisps, pork pie
Dinner: A spaghetti Bolognese made from a jar or a pizza
Evening: A few cans of cider or two bottles of wine
Breakfast: Apple, orange, two grapefruits and fat-free natural yogurt
Lunch: Jacket potato with baked beans
Snacks: Fresh fruit
Dinner: Homemade creamy coriander and mint chicken
Evening: Fruit, coffee, Slimming World hi fibre bar