A dad of four who suffered a stroke while working in a hospital after ballooning to 26stone has turned his life around – ditching more than half his weight.
John Schofield was working in a cardiology ward and was a size 5XL when he suffered a stroke after years of binging on pies, pasties, sausage rolls and burgers.
John often skipped breakfast, drank every day and had pies or scones between his main meals as snacks.
But all that had to end after the incident at work, when he was just 45.
The stroke, which saw him fitted with a pacemaker to slow his heart, left him constantly out of breath and slurring his words, reports MEN.
John weighed 26 stone and was a size 5XL (Image: John Schofield)
John now weighs 12 stone and looks unrecognisable after losing half his body weight, and has gone from a 60-inch waist to 30.
“Exactly five years ago, I was working at Wythenshawe Hospital when I suddenly felt unwell and colleagues noticed I was slurring my words,” John said.
“I remember feeling disorientated and not registering what was being said around me. As I was at the hospital already, a specialist nurse took my blood pressure and did a quick ECG.
“The results showed I had atrial fibrillation, something I hadn’t been familiar with before then which meant my heart was racing and beating faster than it should have done.”
A CT scan showed he had had a stroke.
John now weight 12 stone and has gone from a 60-inch waist to 30
“It was the wake-up call I needed to make a change.”
“I knew carrying excess weight was putting more strain on my heart and that the pacemaker I’d had fitted wasn’t cheap,” John added.
“I felt if someone had put that much time, effort and expense into making sure I lived, it was time I did my bit to help.”
John was put onto a cocktail of daily tablets and an inhaler. His chest always felt heavy and his legs and joints ached all the time.
“I wasn’t very active at all and even a short walk to the shop would take me forever and a day,” John said.
“Around that time, I bumped into two school friends in the local supermarket who had both lost weight and looking so much healthier I had to ask how they’d done it.
“They said they’d been going to their local Slimming World group. I’d tried so many weight-loss plans and slimming groups but I hadn’t tried this one so I thought I’ll give it a go.
John has undergone an amazing transformation (Image: John Schofield)
“I didn’t hold out much hope but weighing 26 stone I was at a loss to know what else I could do.”
John lost 15lbs in the first two weeks and instantly began to feel better.
After two years, by the end of 2019, John had lost over half his body weight, and no longer needed to take medication or to use his inhaler.
“I don’t have any aches and pains in my legs, and I’ve got a brand-new wardrobe too after going from size 5XL to medium or small sizes. I can buy clothes so much more easily, not just from specialist shops or online.
“Now I eat a lot of fruit and I make sure I eat three meals a day. I’ve given up beer which I used to drink every night and I always make sure I have eggs for breakfast as that keeps me going until lunchtime.
“I still enjoy savoury foods like burgers, but I make them myself with lean mince and I’ve found a new love for cooking. I prep my meals most mornings before work, dicing and cutting veg for that evening’s meal and I’m a big fan of the slow cooker. I’m really proud of my meatball chilli.
“I used to drive past joggers and say to my kids that will be me one day! Now I walk everywhere rather than get in the car and I regularly walk around 4.5 miles to my dad’s house which takes me just under an hour.
“I recently ran a 10K raising £700 for the Ticker Club, a local heart charity. The old me would never have believed I could have done that.”
Since February this year, John has been working on the coronavirus frontline at Salford Royal Hospital, on the critical care ward and Covid infection control ward.
John no longer takes any medication and doesn’t require an inhaler (Image: John Schofield)
“Being on my feet for 13 hour shifts and wearing the PPE, which is like something out of Star Wars, has been a real challenge,” he said.
“During the height of lockdown, I struggled to stay on plan as the panic buying meant empty shelves and my usual ingredients were nowhere to be found.
“Sheer exhaustion saw me forego my good intentions and I soon put on weight again. My mood was low and working shifts I found it hard to join my group at one of the weekly virtual classes they set up.
John said he lost his way during lockdown, but now that he is able to speak to members of his group again, they help motivate him after a bad week.
“I feel back in control and I’m determined to get back on track by Christmas,” he added.
“I’ve seen first-hand the impact of coronavirus and hearing about the increased risks of being overweight if you contract Covid has made me so relieved I was in good shape this year and also more determined to stay that way.
“I know what I need to do, and I don’t want to throw it all away.”