John loses 13st on his journey to fitness and health

John Martin and Nicola McPherson are both celebrating incredible weight loss success thanks to Fitne

John Martin and Nicola McPherson are both celebrating incredible weight loss success thanks to Fitness 2000.Studio portraits by Wayne Pilgrim - Credit: Archant

PADDLING in the sun-lit surf on holiday in Majorca it is hard to believe that corpulent cabbie John Martin had already begun his journey to fitness when this snap was taken.

John Martin on holiday in Majorca four years ago, having already lost some weight

John Martin on holiday in Majorca four years ago, having already lost some weight - Credit: Archant

In fact he had been shocked into losing weight months before when his mother died and he was unable to find a smart suit to wear to her funeral - but still he was almost too fat to fly when it came to take-off.

At the same time his daughter Jade, keen to lose weight before her holiday, persuaded him to go with her to the gym when no-one else would.

And although she gave up soon afterwards, John was hooked and is now as addicted to exercise as he was to swilling coke and fast food.

Four years on the 46 year old of Blake Drive, Bradwell is super-slim and super-fit, with a host of new friends and more energy than ever having taken up a range of activities and running up to 40 miles every week.

He can plot his rising bulk against a host of conspiring factors including giving up smoking, losing his physical job as a scaffolder and having to care for the growing children and his wife who has ME.

Now he has lost 13 stone and is doing all he can to stave off temptation and the slide back to obesity by exercising daily and being meticulous about his food.

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“This is my passion,” he said. “I went from being a scaffolder to a taxi driver when my wife was ill, sitting down all the time and eating the wrong stuff.

“I was diabetic and struggled to get the seat belt on on the plane and they had to bring me an extension.

“When my mum died and I couldn’t get a suit, I stopped drinking coke and snacking and lost about three stone straight away. Then my daughter wanted to go to the gym and no-one would go with her so I lost about another three or four stone pretty quickly.

“Now I feel fantastic. This has given me a big boost. Everyday I wish I had done something sooner.

“Now people get in the cab and I do not shut up about it. I am in the gym every morning at 6.30am. It is a different life.”

John, who works for Anglia Taxis and goes to Slimming World regularly, had nothing but praise for the staff at Fitness 2000 in Southtown Road who have helped him.

“Everyone has been so supportive,” he said. “I was paranoid about going to the gym but I would do anything for my kids.

“Everyone has been so friendly and helpful, it felt like a family. It got me out of the house, it is my little escape. In two and half years I have only missed a week. I just love it.”

As the main cook and carer in the house, his wife of 27 years Cheyelle, 43, has also benefited now healthy home cooking has overtaken take-aways, and has also lost weight.

On the down side, some of his regular taxi customers were alarmed by his drastic weight loss.

“I had one lady in tears,” he said. “She thought I had some terrible disease.”

He now tips the scales at a lithe 11 stone.

Eva Howkins, owner at Fitness 2000, said there was always a flood of new members at the gym in January but that anybody looking for a quick fix would be disappointed.

“You cannot do this healthily and well in just a couple of months,” she said.

“It is difficult to make changes. If we can support people that is a big help and makes them feel they want to come back in.”

Contact Fitness 2000 on 01493 442317, or visit their website.