A man who weighed 29 stone shed more than half his body weight eating a KitKat a day to achieve his New Year goal.
Matthew Hughes, 39, went on a diet to shift some of his weight after ballooning to 29st 5lbs in his mid-30s.
But, despite ditching takeaways and sugary food as part of his staple diet – Matthew allowed himself to enjoy a two finger KitKat each night since starting his weight loss journey in January last year,
He said he used the chocolatey snack as a way to keep him motivated.
The data analyst, from Widnes in Cheshire, has struggled with obesity since childhood and decided to lose weight after seeing pictures of himself at a friend’s party.
Six foot Matthew, who now weighs a healthy 13st 13lbs, has gone from wearing 6XL t-shirts and 60-inch waist trousers to fitting into large tops and 34-inch skinny jeans.
And Matthew, who lives with his partner Kerrie Murphy, 37, loves nothing more than telling people how he ate chocolate to lose weight.
Matthew said: “I can genuinely say that I have eaten chocolate to lose weight. I love telling people that.
“Every night since I made my New Year’s resolution to start dieting, I have eaten a two finger KitKat. It’s been great.
“It’s about understanding that you can have treats as long as they are a treat and not something you’re indulging in three or four times a day.
“I know if I eat good stuff all day, I can have the KitKat every evening without worrying and that has really kept me going.
“You’ve got to reward yourself. Just because it’s a diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.
“Even now that I’m maintaining my weight, I still have that KitKat after my tea every night without fail.”
Throughout school Matthew was bullied for being overweight but his ‘happy go lucky’ nature saw him embrace being ‘the big lad’ and shrug off the cruel taunts.
A lack of food education in the 80s, saw Matthew continue to make unhealthy choices well into adulthood.
As well as bingeing on crisps and chocolate bars, every day Matthew would guzzle two pints of full fat milk and five mugs of milky tea, each containing three sugars.
Matthew gorged on five takeaways a week and saw the pounds pile on, crushing his self-confidence and seriously damaging his health.
At his biggest, Matthew suffered with daily back pain and would be left completely out of breath after climbing a few stairs or going on a short walk.
He also found it impossible to find any high street clothes to fit his bulky frame, instead being forced to buy from specialist online shops.
Matthew said: “I have aways been the big lad, for as long as I can remember.
“I did used to get bullied a lot for my weight but at the time I felt like it didn’t bother me.
“I’ve always been a bit of a happy go lucky character and I shrugged it all off.
“It wasn’t until I started losing weight and started to feel better about myself that I realised how much it had been affecting me – physically and emotionally.
“When I was a kid there wasn’t the awareness and education about healthy eating that there is now.
“As a kid you don’t care and I started snacking constantly on crisps and chocolate bars. That continued through my adult life.
“Instead of having three solid meals, I would snack all through the day on sandwiches, crisps and chocolate.
“People always assume if you’re big you must drink loads of fizzy drinks but milk was my downfall and tea with three sugars.
“I was bad with fast food too. I would eat takeaways about five times a week. Usually KFC or McDonalds.”
Despite the crippling affects on his physical and mental wellbeing – and an embarrassing incident with a turnstile at a Manchester United match – Matthew remained in denial until an unflattering photo brought home the reality of his size.
After his wake up call, Matthew started doing Slimming World from home, reading every book he could to re-educate himself about food.
Since swapping all his unhealthy snacking and fast food binges for three home-cooked meals and one KitKat a day, Matthew has watched his excess fat melt away.
His new svelte figure has not only boosted his self-esteem but given Matthew a whole new lease of life – and he even now has the energy to hit the gym four times a week.
Matthew, who has now maintained his size for eight months, does a combination of cardio and weightlifting to tone up his body as his dramatic weight loss has left him with some loose skin.
Matthew said: “At my heaviest I started to get really out of breath and tired after just going upstairs or doing a short walk. And my lower back was always sore.
“I couldn’t buy clothes anywhere on the high street and had to start using specialist shops online.
“One day I went to watch my football team play and I almost didn’t fit through the turnstile. It was so embarrassing that I haven’t been back since.
“You’d think that all these things would have made me want to change and would have been that ‘turning point’ moment but I was in denial.
“Then I went to a friend’s birthday party and when I saw the photos I knew I needed to turn things around.
“I’d seen so many photos of myself in the past and thought ‘wow I’m big’ but then I would just push it to the back of my mind. This time it really hit home.
“In January 2017, I started doing Slimming World and I haven’t looked back since.
“I’ve had to completely re-educate myself on food and how to eat healthy. Now everything I have is fresh and home-cooked. Preparation is key.
“I feel so much better for it. It’s like I’ve been given a new lease of life. I’m so much more confident and I’ve got loads more energy.
“The loose skin can be hard to accept but I would much rather look the way I do now than how I did before.
“Sometimes I look in the mirror or at a photo and I can’t believe it’s actually me. I’ve got so much more self-esteem. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved.”
As well as using his daily KitKat as a motivational treat, Matthew encourages others starting their own weight loss journeys this January to celebrate every achievement.
Matthew thinks people should give themselves a ‘mental high five’ for every target they meet and use lots of ‘before and after’ photos to keep track of their progress.
Matthew said: “My main aim when I set out on my journey was to enjoy it.
“I didn’t look at it as dieting and restricting myself, I saw it as a lifestyle change. I was going to make my life better.
“I think it’s so important to have that mentality and celebrate every single milestone whether it’s to do with the numbers you see on the scales or something else.
“I would give myself a mental high five every time I lost half a stone and every time I entered a new stone bracket.
“But at the same time, I would celebrate every time I had to tighten my belt a notch and the first time I ever fit into a pair of skinny jeans.
“It was amazing. I never thought I’d be able to wear them.
“Another great moment was when a woman at work who hadn’t seen me since I was big didn’t recognise me until she saw my before picture on Instagram. It gave me such a good buzz.
“People need to congratulate themselves for all those victories and try to enjoy every moment of their weight loss. Have fun with it.
“It can be hard to see your own progress so the best way for me was to do lots of before and after photos. It really helps you realise how well you’re doing.”
Matthew’s daily diet before:
BREAKFAST: Four pieces of white toast with lashings of butter
SNACK: A packet of crisps and a chocolate bar
LUNCH: Two white bread cheese sandwiches with another packet of crisps and another chocolate bar
SNACK: A chocolate bar
DINNER: Four pieces of cheese on toast or a meal from KFC or McDonalds DRINKS: Two pints of full fat milk and five mugs of tea with milk and three sugars
MATTHEW’S DAILY DIET NOW:
BREAKFAST: Muesli with with yoghurt and berries
SNACK: An orange
LUNCH: Jacket potato with beans and a side salad
SNACK: A yoghurt
DINNER: Grilled sausages with butternut squash, mushrooms and kale
SNACK: A two finger KitKat DRINKS: Water