Darran Kettle was under no illusion that he had a weight problem – the shelves lined with diet books all revealed past attempts to get his unhealthy habits under control.
But at 17st 5lb, the 38-year-old had found the constant cycle of failed dieting attempts draining.
Until the day a particularly blunt comment gave him the kick-start he needed.
‘I was at my grandmother’s funeral and a friend of the family came up and said “What happened to you? You’re huge.”
‘I knew I was, I’d always struggled with my weight,’ says Darran. ‘But that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
‘Normally I’d shrug it off or come back with some witty remark, but this time it cut a little bit deeper.
‘For most of my adult life I’ve been overweight but over the past few years it had really got out of control.’
Darran, a teacher from Hayling Island, had always tried to lose weight on his own but this time he realised he needed help.
So he put his fears to one side to join WeightWatchers in January 2011 and seven months later he’d lost more than five stone.
‘I had always looked at WeightWatchers as being a female thing,’ he adds.
‘But the leader was a man and I think that helped me a lot.
‘It was pretty much the last chance saloon – that was the way I looked at it. I knew I had to be completely committed and focused.’
He blames big portion sizes for his continued weight problem. Darran admits he never knew when to stop eating and would simply stuff himself until he felt uncomfortable.
But with an eating plan to follow, plus guidance on portion size, he began to rein himself in until he’d eventually gained control.
Unhealthy snacks were replaced with fruit and vegetables and he began to exercise more.
Following on from his own success, Darran now leads two groups of his own in Petersfield and Havant.
‘I’ve got a completely different relationship with food,’ he explains.
‘I feel great, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and that’s why I wanted to be a leader.’
While not everyone will want to join a weight loss group like he did, he says everyone can aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and increase the amount of exercise they do.
‘Obesity is in the news a lot at the moment and when you look at the figures it’s scary,’ he adds.
‘I was one of those statistics and you feel helpless in a way. I felt like I had so much to lose I didn’t know what to do.
‘But it is never too late. It starts off with losing the first pound, having a bit more fruit and vegetables and walking five more minutes a day.
‘It doesn’t have to be a huge lifestyle change.’
n To find your nearest meeting log on to weightwatchers.co.uk