Too fat to fly? Not any more! Slimmer's first holiday for 34 years

Katy Holland

A man who was so obese that he couldn't go on holiday has lost enough weight to take his first flight abroad in 34 years.

54-year old Pete Russell says he was so ashamed of his weight that he couldn't face trying to sit on an aircraft wearing the 'fat man's seatbelt'.

The shame meant that he never went on holiday abroad with his wife, his children or his grandchildren.

Eventually, his desire to go on holiday with his family - along with a serious warning that his obesity was life-threatening - prompted him to shed a total of ten stone in just ten months.

Ex-serviceman Pete Russell piled on weight after a tumour in his spine left him bedridden. He ate so much that at one point he weighed 25 stone.

He suffered years of ill health and abuse because of his weight, but wasn't until a nurse told him bluntly he would be dead within five years that he joined a slimming group.

Now the newer, lighter Pete has booked his first family holiday to Spain - and he's delighted that he won't have to face wearing the dreaded the bright orange extra large seatbelt.

Pete, from Wareham, Dorset, said the boredom of being bedridden drove him to overeat, scoffing crisps, chocolate and peanuts between unhealthy ready meals.

Even when he was back on his feet he suffered public humiliation, including taunts in the street such as 'who ate all the pies' and 'wide load'.

Then, last year, when he tested positive for Type 2 diabetes, that a nurse told him he wouldn't live for much longer if he didn't change his ways.

Pete joined a diet class with his wife Kate, 52, who has also lost six-and-a-half stone.

He said: 'It's amazing. If you'd told me this time last year I'd lose ten stone and be booking a holiday, I wouldn't have believed it.

'We have been married 34 years and haven't been away in all that time.

'I was too embarrassed to fly because I knew I'd be given one of those bright orange fat man's seat belts.

'Once, I was at a barbecue and sat on a plastic chair. It broke, and 30 people turned to stare at me - I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.

'Another time, I got stuck in a turnstile at a football match and had to be rescued by the officials.

'It was humiliating.'

Pete cut out fatty snacks of crisps and chocolate and began eating home-made healthy meals.

Pete is now running his own Slimming World class in Wool, Dorset.

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