IT was crunch time for Batley biscuit factory worker Gary Marsden when he had a medical at work three years ago.
Gary, 47, weighed more than 37 stones and when a nurse checked his blood pressure it was so far off the charts he was told: “You should be dead.”
The Fox’s Biscuits stock controller was told to go immediately to A&E at Dewsbury District Hospital.
Since then, however, Gary has shed more than half his body weight and has just won a national slimming award.
Gary said the medical had shocked him into finally acting on his weight problem.
He said: “The nurse told me my blood pressure was so high she was surprised I was still walking around, and that technically I should be dead.
Gary joined the Slimming World group which meets at Batley Town Hall on Thursdays.
He has lost 18st 8lb and was crowned UK & Ireland greatest loser for 2015.
Gary has taken up karate and bought his first motorbike after previously being too big to ride one – and his blood pressure is back to normal.
He said of his former life: “I felt ashamed, so I became depressed and withdrawn.
“It was a catch-22 situation as I would comfort eat, gain more weight and then become even more depressed.
“I’d make excuses not to go on nights out or attend family events because I felt really self-conscious.”
He followed Slimming World’s food optimising healthy plan and paid tribute to group consultant Lynne Asquith for dealing with his nerves.
Gary said: “She really went the extra mile and without her effort I probably would never have joined.”
Son Ben, 11, and wife Pamela are backing Gary as he seeks new fitness challenges.
He has taken up kayaking, hopes to take part in the coal carrying race in Gawthorpe and even started learning guitar.
Gary said: “My son thinks it’s great because I can run around a rugby field with him.
“I can shop in high street clothes shops and do all sorts of things I never dreamed of when I was overweight.”