A morbidly obese 31 stone man lost an incredible 16 stone in just 15 months and completed – a full marathon.
Rob Sparkes, 31, decided to ditch his unhealthy diet and begin exercising after he realised he didn’t have the energy to play with his children and was out of breath climbing the stairs.
He initially lost 14 stone throughout 2020 and and now runs a half marathon nearly every weekend, and weighs in at just 15 stone.
Rob, a salesman from Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, said: “Before, I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath. I couldn’t fit in a cinema seat. I couldn’t go on rides at the play park with my daughter.”
He had been eating a whopping 6,000 calories-a-day and led a completely sedentary lifestyle before he realised he had to change his ways.
Rob added: “The furthest I’d walk is from work down to the shop to get food. On a typical day, I’d have four pieces of toast before work.
“Around ten, I’d end up getting a bacon roll, a Coke, and some chips. At lunch I’d have a half-pound burger and fries.
“If I didn’t have that, I’d eat a massive sandwich and a family-sized bag of crisps. In the afternoon, I’d be getting crisps and chocolate from the vending machine.
“I would snack the second I got home from work. The first thing I’d do is go into the cupboard and eat more crisps.
“Then for dinner, I’d order takeaway, typically a massive pizza. Later on I’d watch television and eat popcorn. I’d also drink about two litres of Coke every day. I just couldn’t stop. I just got in a really bad rut.”
Rob became concerned about his weight when he went to his doctor’s office for a routine checkup. He didn’t have any underlying health issues, but medics warned him that it was only a matter of time before he would develop diabetes and joint problems.
He said: “I’d only just had my second child and I was worried I wouldn’t be around for my children. So in September of 2019, I started trying to lose weight.
“I don’t really snack at all anymore. I eat a lot of chicken and veggies. For breakfast, I usually eat porridge or sometimes granola.
“I’ve also been eating a lot of meals from a healthy meal plan called Gold Star Nutrition for lunch.”
After losing some initial weight just through dietary changes, Rob turned his attention to physical fitness.
He added: “In March of 2020, I started running using the Couch to 5k app and started going to the gym.
“I joined a running club and on December 20th I ran my first marathon.
“It was meant to be an official one, but they all got postponed due to Covid, so my running club did an unofficial one.
“I had my wife and kids there waiting for me at the end, and it felt amazing. I ran it in five hours and 24 minutes, but I ran the whole thing.
“Now that I’ve done one, I don’t want to lose it, so I have four more marathons booked for 2021.
“Nowadays, I run a half marathon on most weekends to stay in shape. I also did the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, a 25-mile hike up the three highest peaks in Yorkshire.
“I did it in nine hours and 30 minutes, and raised £1,280 for the Alzheimer Society.”
Now that he’s achieved his fitness goals and lost the weight, Rob is looking into reconstructive surgery to remove his excess skin.
He is now beginning to train for his first ultramarathon, a 50-mile race – that only the most hardcore runners ever attempt.