The prospect of teaching PE to children was the spur Paul Cannell needed to change his lifestyle and shed three and a half stones in weight.
Twelve months on, not only has he maintained his new-found fitness, but he is also running his own Slimming World classes.
In the last year he has helped more than 20 people reach their target weights, including his partner John Fox who has lost 4st 8lbs.
Paul, who lives in Cleckheaton, decided to lose weight when Spen lost its middle schools.
“I’d taught at both Whitechapel and West End Middle schools and absolutely loved it,” he said. “I was 19 stone, taught my own subject and stayed in my classroom, but when the middle schools closed I had to move to a primary where I knew I’d have to teach PE – a thought which filled me with dread. I couldn’t imagine running around with nine or 10-year-olds.”
So he decided to join his local Slimming World class and was amazed when the pounds started to roll off. He was so inspired that he then started his own class every Wednesday evening at the Scout Hall in Hunsworth.
“I got such a buzz out of being slimmer and being so much more active, and last April John decided to join the class. Now we both feel amazing and much more confident. We don’t turn down parties any more and last year we went camping for the first time ever.
“I love my job at Scholes Primary School and feel really comfortable teaching games and PE – I’ve even taught hockey for the first time!”
Paul is just one of a handful of male consultants and hopes his story will inspire more men to come forward and change their lifestyles.
“The world of weight loss is not just for girls!” he said. “And the support and encouragement of being part of a group really does help.”