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Diss town councillor sheds more than 16 stone in one year

A Diss town councillor, who has shed half his body weight in just over a year, said that his transformation has changed his life in every way possible.

Mark Gingell, who at his heaviest weighed 35 stone, decided in October 2018 to turn his life around.

Sceptical at first, the 55-year-old signed up to Slimming World in Diss and became hooked after his first week in the group.

Mark Gingell had shed a whopping 16 stone in just over a year. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
Mark Gingell had shed a whopping 16 stone in just over a year. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

“I have probably been overweight or obese for most of my life, as I was 11lb 8oz at birth,” said Mr Gingell, a father-of-two.

“I can’t remember ever being thin but I can remember being called fat for the first time as a toddler.”

He was 24 stone by the age of 33 and was advised to lose weight after a medical as part of an adoption assessment with his wife Amanda, with whom he has daughters Madeleine-Rose, 18, and Gabrielle-Mae, 16.

Mark before he lost the weight.
Mark before he lost the weight.

“When I took early retirement, I steadily put on more weight and, at my biggest, was probably around 35 stone,” said Mr Gingell, who lives in Shelfanger.

“Both of my parents died from diabetes-related illnesses and I did not want to go the same way. I lost about three stone on my own but it was over a six-month period and, for me, that was not fast enough, as I had about 20 stone to lose.”

Since losing a touch over 16 stone, his life has changed dramatically. He can now shop at regular department stores, can wear a standard seat belt when driving and has improved eyesight, which had been deteriorating.

The 55-year-old signed up to Slimming World in Diss in 2018.
The 55-year-old signed up to Slimming World in Diss in 2018.

“My life has changed in every way possible,” said Mr Gingell.

“I am happier, healthier, financially better off and more relaxed. I can take my dogs for longer walks, which now tires them out instead of me.”

The lifestyle changes he has made in the past year include exercising regularly by swimming or cycling and cutting out takeaways and late-night meals.

“I have taken a Raceatyourpace challenge every month during 2019, starting with 100 walking miles in January and completing the December challenge of 400 cycling miles,” he said.

“This month, I will receive my special medal for completing over 3,000 combined miles of walking, swimming and cycling. I never thought I would have achieved that total 12 months ago.”

Despite his drastic weight loss, Mr Gingell said he still has a bit to go and believes the next challenge will be to maintain his weight loss.

“Very rarely, I have doubts, but my Slimming World group keep me focused and I love them all for that,” he said.

“So, to my family, the new friends I have made and especially Jane Aldous, who I feel is a Slimming World consultant of the very highest calibre, I say thank you for helping me to reach a tipping point in my life.”

The only negative of his significant weight loss has been that this is the first winter where he feels cold, meaning he has had to resort to wearing thermal vests.

This article appeared in the Diss Express on January 10.

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