Portsmouth man loses nine stone and gets to meet former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey

(left) Stephen Callaghan before losing weight and (right) after with former England, Leicester City and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey
(left) Stephen Callaghan before losing weight and (right) after with former England, Leicester City and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey
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A PORTSMOUTH man got to fulfil two dreams thanks to his journey that saw him swap olive oil for cooking spray.

Stephen Callaghan joined the Cosham Slimming Group after confessing to his wife that he was unhappy with his weight.

The 52-year-old said: ‘ My wife encouraged me to join Slimming World as she was getting more and more concerned about my health. I’m so glad I took that step.

‘Before I walked through the doors though I’ll admit I was nervous that I’d be the only bloke in the room. I wasn’t though and even if I ever was, it didn’t matter because everyone there is so supportive.’

With hints, tips and food swaps Stephen went from 23st to 13st 13lbs.

He said: ‘When I thought about losing weight I thought I’d have to cut out all of my favourite meals and go hungry but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve just had to make some simple swaps like ditching the olive oil or butter in favour of low-calorie cooking spray and swapping white bread for wholemeal.’

On top of his 9st 1lbs weight loss, he made the semi-finals of a competition to find the UK and Ireland’s top male slimmers and also got to meet one of his football heros.

Stephen added: ‘I never imagined I would be part of a slimming competition when I first set out on this journey, let alone meeting someone like Emile Heskey – it’s incredible!”

Former England, Leicester City and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey said: ‘I think it can be hard for men to admit they have a problem with something and then seek the help they need to fix it. It’s not an easy thing to do so hats off to Stephen because he has a healthy life ahead of him now.’

Lindsey Wright, who runs the Cosham group that Stephen attends, added: ‘A lot of people think that slimming clubs are female-only zones, but that’s not the case at all and Stephen is proof of that. There are now 60,000 men attending Slimming World groups, and we understand that men need just as much support as women to slim down and improve their health.’