An islander who was 'too big' to ride a rollercoaster has won a national award for weight loss.
Joe Thompson, 35, from St. Brelade has been named 'Slimming World's Mr Sleek 2023' for maintaining his five-stone weight loss for a year.
The self-proclaimed yo-yo dieter gained more weight when he went to university, as he relied heavily on takeaway, drank more alcohol and found comfort in food.
The Mr Sleek winner says he has always struggled with his weight and found it hard looking different to his family.
“For about two years I cut out all carbohydrates and while I did lose a lot of weight I found it really restrictive, and I was miserable."
"I also put all of the weight back on when I started eating normally again."
Joe recalls feeling the most embarrassed when he went to Thorpe Park and was turned away from the Colossus ride as he could not fasten the safety harness.
Alongside with this, Joe hated seeing himself in photos and used apps to make himself appear slimmer.
"I really hated having photographs taken by other people."
"I’d become quite good at angling the camera so I looked slimmer or cropping out my body so you wouldn’t notice my weight as much."
"I couldn’t believe it was me in the pictures and I just felt terrible. I think I’d become so used to editing my photographs that it really hit home to see the ‘real’ me.”
After joining Slimming World, Joe found that he had more energy and his podagra flare ups became less frequent meaning he could exercise more.
“I used to be quite sporty as a kid, but my podagra meant that I’d become really sedentary over the years."
"I love walking – I find it’s as good for your mental wellbeing as it is for your physical health.”
Eventually, he started walking with a 30kg vest to increase his fitness more.
"It’s amazing to think I used to carry extra weight around like that every day!”
Joe's next goal is to inspire others with his weight loss by sharing his journey on social media, showing people that weight loss does not have to be boring and miserable.
"I’m done with the yo-yo diets because I’ve finally found a way to live healthily, for the long term.”