A Wigan man has lost more than four stone through a council-led programme after weight gain rendered him in constant pain.
Sandy Mottram, 33, enrolled onto the Lose Weight Feel Great programme shortly after his 32nd birthday after reaching 18 stone.
At the time, Sandy has been taking prescription painkillers every day due to the damage caused through putting pressure on his knees.
Despite a difficult start, Sandy lost his target weight of four stone nine pounds in the first six months and has kept the weight off ever since.
He initially found the Lose Weight Feel Great sessions difficult as he jumped in at the deep end, attempting to tackle the harder levels from the get go. But after working with an instructor, Sandy was able to start at the lower levels and build up in the following weeks.
"Having the option to drop down to a lower intensity kept me motivated in those early weeks," he said. "I feel if I hadn’t taken their advice I would have been disheartened by my inability to keep up and perhaps I would have stopped attending the classes."
Sandy began to set himself targets which he would aim to improve on week on week.
He added: "I even started running a mile from my house to the exercise class each week to get warmed up, sometimes I would run home afterwards."
A few months after Sandy started the programme he adopted a rescue dog named Nico, despite previously feeling too unfit to own a dog due to the amount of exercise they need. Now Sandy walks Nico for miles every week and regularly goes running with him.
He added: "Nico gets tired before I do."
Sandy said: "I have enjoyed a wide range of different classes with different instructors, though I found one thing the same in all the classes and this was the extraordinary amount of care that all of the instructors have for every single person on the course, the level of care and attention still overwhelms me each week."
The newly-inspired fitness fanatic now plans his meals and exercise regime for the week, to the point where is has become "second nature".
"I strongly recommend the Lose Weight Feel Great programme to anyone who is looking to make a healthy lifestyle change," he said.
"The exercise classes are possible for anybody at any level and there is room to improve each week, this works because it’s not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. If your experience is anything like mine you will never look back."
For more details regarding weight management please call 01942 496496 or visit www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Health-Social-Care/Lose-Weight-Feel-Great/Lose-Weight-Feel-Great.aspx
The programme is designed for people with a BMI of 25 or over, which under national guidelines, is classed as "overweight".
There are a number of services on offer including community weight management sessions to help people get active and eat healthily, as well as specialist weight management programmes. There are also one-to-one sessions available and there is a "trim down shape up" service for men.