'The person I was before this was so unhappy' - man who lost over 10 stone
A man who lost over 10 stone in three years said that he had to make a change because he was "so unhappy with life and with himself".
Mark Neary (43) marked his birthday last week - the 21st - by reaching his target weight loss of 10 stone 3lbs.
Mark, who is a taxi-driver, said he no longer recognises the person he was before his weight loss and he thinks losing the weight has saved his life.
"The person I was before this was so unhappy with life and with himself. He was very down and stuck in a downward spiral."
"I used to hate photographs, being stuck in crowds or trying to squeeze into an airplane seat. I had absolutely no confidence."
Mark, from Whitehall, Dublin was also struggling with "severe back pain due to carrying around all the extra weight." His 40th birthday in 2014 prompted him to take action.
"The main reason was seeing the photos taken at my 40th birthday party."
"I had been fed up going to specialised clothes shops in order to get something decent for nights out and I really didn't like the direction my life was heading in.
"I knew it was down to me and me alone to change that and take back control."
He tried several diets and eating plans over the years but decided to join Slimming World after hearing of other peoples success.
He celebrated his birthday and got through Christmas and "I said enough was enough. That was when my new better life began."
"Over the years there's generally a taboo about males attending these groups as they always come across as being for mostly women. So as the day of the group came round I was rather nervous."
He said: "I was eating rings and rings around myself all of that first week, but the difference was it was all healthy on-plan food."
"I went back to class, again still nervous and shy and was amazed to be told I had lost 6.5lb in my very first week. From that moment on, I was hooked."
"My starting weight was 24st 10lb and at my last weigh in I was 14st 11lb so my total weight loss to date is 10st 3lb or 143 lbs."
"My jeans were 48in waist, and there are currently 32/34in. My shirt was a 3xl, sometimes more, now I'm in either a large or medium."
He has had the support of his girlfriend Lesley and family and is a keen runner, competing in St. Anne's Raheny Park Run on Saturdays and he is hoping to do the Dublin City Marathon.
"It's not about where you start from, it's about where you are going that's important. One of my favourite sayings is to always believe in yourself and have faith in your own ability to change for the better."
"I'm the happiest I've ever been about my own personal life and my weight. I've so much energy and I'm a totally different happier more outgoing person. I feel like it literally saved my life."