A MAN forced to book two seats on a flight because of his life-threatening weight issues has lost a staggering 19 stone.

Gary Kirkwood was heartbroken to discover he would have to fork out for an extra seat to travel abroad for his mate's stag do in June, last year, as he couldn't fit in a single seat.

He had spent years gorging on bread, Pringles, pizzas, takeaways and full fat drinks and now the 31-year-old had ballooned to a massive 31st 12lbs.

Gary, from Motherwell, said: "It just takes one moment to make you realise the time has finally come to do something about it. That moment was in July 2017 when I was invited to a friend’s stag do and it was a holiday abroad in June 2018.

"Due to my size I hadn’t been abroad in a very long time, as I just never had the confidence to do it.

"So, after finding out that it was going to cost me double the amount that all the rest of the guys had to pay, that time was now."

Spurred on by his upcoming holiday, Gary tracked down his local WW class, a rebranding of Weight Watchers, and made the leap to attend the weekly classes.

But, it wasn't easy.

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Gary said: "I had to do my homework, as it had to be a venue that I could park at, as I was unable to walk any distance to get to a weekly workshop.

"I found my local workshop in Motherwell and I was really nervous about walking through that door, but thought let’s give it a go, see what it was all about and see if I can lose some weight."

There, Gary met coach Cathy Scarrow who helped him to tackle his most dreaded moment - standing on the scales for the first time in years.

Although the slimmer knew he was large, he hadn't seen his exact weight as scales he had bought at home failed to reach those heights and, seeing the number for the first time, he knew just how far he had to go.

Gary started to track what he was eating, cutting down on portion sizes and cooking meals from scratch for the first time.

He also began exercising doing 10 minutes of step ups in his flat and 10 minutes of walking back and forth in the lobby.

"I gradually lost weight and by my sixth week I got my 25-pound certificate," he said.

"Every week I posted on social media my loss and the support from my family, friends, colleagues and the group were and still is amazing, and that fuelled me to continue my journey.

"I increased my daily exercise by a minute at a time, and started using a vibration plate, which had been hidden for a long time in a cupboard, purchased a weight bench and started to do sit ups on, building up my exercise activities and also getting a killer set of abs - [I'm] still working on it."

Seeing the weight drop off only made him more motivated and by week 16 he had lost an incredible 75lbs and, at this point, he decided to do something he had never done before - walk to his WW workshop.

He said: "This was a turning point for me, as I was never able to walk that far before.

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"I was so proud that I managed it without stopping or even having a hint of pain in my back and legs as before I couldn’t even walk that far before having a rest, as I was so big and so unfit.

"From that day I have walked every single week, rain or snow."

By the time the stag do and Gary's 31st birthday rolled around, he had dropped a total of 14.5st and he made it into his single seat.

But, he knew he couldn't stop there.

Gary said: "I was feeling amazing every week and buying a new wardrobe helped too. When I started, I was an eight XL top, and a 70-inch waist in trousers.

"Currently I am wearing 3XL top and 58 to 60-inch waist in trousers and jeans, so looking at that change its brilliant, amazing and I’m so proud of myself.

"I’m no longer eating the unhealthy foods that got me to the size I was. I used to eat high sugar cereals for breakfast, fry ups, pizzas, fish and chips, sausage rolls, frozen processed foods. Every dinner I would eat four slices of bread with butter, full fat drinks, full tubs of Pringles.

"No wonder I got to the weight I was. Now I’m eating home cooked meals, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of chicken. I’m never hungry and no food is off my menu."

And he credits WW's Freestyle plan, with helping him get there.

He said: "WW works for me, as it is flexible, and you can work it around your life. I work at my desk, so at lunchtime I can go and do a bit of walking, breaking up my 8 hours at work and at the same time getting healthier. Of course, I would have my lunch as well, usually a salad roll with chicken or some other cooked meats, which fills me up for what I need.

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"My lifestyle has changed completely, I am healthier, fitter, more active. When I started I couldn't ever walk far without having a sit down, if I was going out with my mates, it would have to be somewhere that has seats, so I did feel a bit of a burden on my mates, as we would have to change plans or go to places early so we could guarantee getting a seat. Now I can go anywhere without pre-planning location or going to the location earlier.

"WW has given me a second chance of life and I’m finally enjoying life. If I didn’t lose weight, I was putting myself in an early grave. A horrible thing to say but looking at it now, it was a true reflection, even at the time I didn't really see it, yes, I knew I was a bigger guy, but I thought I was not a heavy as I was."