IT took a slice of pizza and months on the treadmill, but former 22-stone man Lee Pickering is now fighting fit and is using his experiences to help others.
At the age of 21, Lee, from Ashton, was half way through his favourite take-away when he realised he was unhappy with his size.
So he threw the offending pizza away and took to the treadmill to work off the extra calories he had consumed just a few seconds ago.
Determined to carry on with his health kick, he walked on the treadmill every day for a total of five months.
He noticed the pounds fall off and had lost seven stone within 10 months, and shed one stone in the final two months
He then began training at the gym and now, at the age of 25, he is a self employed personal trainer at DW Fitness, in Wigan.
Lee, who is a healthy 14 stone, said: “I just got into bad habits of doing no exercise and eating two take-aways a day.
“My weight did affect my confidence, as I felt people were always looking at me and judging me on my size.
“I never had any luck with girls and growing up in my teens was difficult.
“Then one day, I was eating pizza and got half way through and had an epiphany, as I thought to myself ‘what am I doing?’
“So I put the slice down and went on my dad’s treadmill for 30 minutes.
“I nearly fainted as it was the most exercise I had done in years, Then I exercised every day for five months.
“I didn’t go to the gym – I just started off walking on the treadmill and made it harder each time.
“Once I had lost the eight stone I joined a gym and did weights and cardio to get toned. I trained twice a day for two years,
“I feel a lot more confident now – like people are not staring at me and focusing on my weight.
“It was quite hard, but I managed it and I am so proud of myself.
“At the time I had just completed my English degree at Edge Hill University.
“I loved being creative with language and so I set up a writing business, doing freelance motor journalism.
“The business was doing really well and I loved doing that.
“But over the last few years it started to decline.
“And I realised my main passion was training so I thought it would be ideal to become a personal trainer.
“I like passing on my knowledge and inspiring people who are in the same position I was once in.
“I have empathy for them and as I am aware of how hard it is, I can really help and guide them.
“It is so hard to completely change who you are and what you do on a daily basis.
“I love teaching people and as I have picked up a few tips and ideas that work and things that really don’t help, so I can use that knowledge to help other people out. My best tip for people wanting to lose weight is that they should not go into it half-heartedly.
“People need to give it 100 per cent as it is more a mental thing, rather than physical.
“It doesn’t take long to get in shape, but it is all about having the right frame of mind.
“Nobody can tell a person to lose weight – it has to be their own decision.
“People need to make sure that they are dedicated and that it is not just a six-month fad.
“They cannot go back into old habits, as they will undo all their hard work.
“It is brilliant to see results and the confidence people gain when they lose weight and become the shape they want to be.”
To contact Lee call 07860466598 or visit www.facebook.com/leepickeringpersonaltrainer