A man who lost more than nine stone in weight and became a certified spin instructor is hoping his story will inspire other Luton residents to improve their health.
With National Obesity Awareness Week starting on Monday, Neil Hobbs is telling people how much his life has changed since his remarkable transformation.
After his wife of 30 years sadly died of cancer in 2011, Neil became very depressed and put on a lot of weight. The 53-year-old said: “I was very unhealthy and in early 2012 a friend convinced me to join the gym at Lewsey Sports Park. The day I first walked through the door I was just shy of 24 stone.
“I needed to do something and I needed to do it quickly. My motivation was simply to get healthy and to be around for my boys who had lost their mum and didn’t need to lose me too.
“I started doing cardio work and weightlifting and owe so much to the staff at Active Luton who gave their time freely and really helped motivate me.
“Some days were difficult, some days were easier and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. But after 18 weeks I had managed to lose 75 pounds; and 101 pounds after 27 weeks. I’ve now gone on to lose 130lb (just over nine stone) in total.”
Among other things Neil started doing spinning classes and although he found it difficult to start with, he ended up falling in love with it and admits that it was a big part of his weight loss.
Neil was so encouraged by his own achievements that he decided he wanted to be an instructor so he could help others.
He said: “Within 364 days of walking through Lewsey Sports Park Profiles Gym for the first time, I was a certified spin instructor. I now take regular classes at the centre.
“I don’t even recognise the person that I was. The physical change is obvious but the mental changes are also massive. I walk with my head held high, I’ve got so much more confidence and I’ve got a bigger circle of friends. My life has changed 100 per cent.”
National figures suggest that more than half of the UK population is heading for obesity by 2050, with an annual cost to society approaching £50 billion.
Active Luton is a not for profit trust operating a variety of sports and leisure facilities in Luton and has a number of weight loss programmes to cater for everyone, whatever their personal circumstances.
The Trust currently operates six leisure and activity centres including Inspire: Luton Sports Village, Lewsey Sports Park and Lea Manor Recreation Centre.
Helen Barnett, Chief Executive of Active Luton, said: “We know that obesity is a problem in Luton and we are committed to doing what we can to help residents lose weight. So why not kick off 2014 right and make the small changes to your lifestyles that will make a huge difference to your life.
“We have a friendly and experienced team of professionals who can come up with a fitness plan to suit you and your lifestyle. Come along and see for yourself. There has never been a better time to join.”
For more information about Active Luton’s weight lost programmes, facilities and memberships visit www.activeluton.co.uk or call 01582 400272.