- Name: Nigel Ringland (ask him anything on Talk)
- Height: 5′ 5″ (165 cm)
- Age: 48
- Highest weight: 383 lbs (173.7 kg)
- Lowest weight: 160 lbs (72.5 kg)
Nigel, you’re in an exclusive MAN v FAT club of guys who have lost over half their body weight, which is incredible. You reached a pretty extreme total for anyone, but especially for a 5’5″ frame. Tell us about your history with weight.
I have been overweight for most of my life, as a small child I remember always being teased by other children for being overweight. I don’t remember a time of my life when I was not overweight. Throughout my teen years my weight only increased. At the age of 23 when I got married I was 17 and a half stone.
My wife and I have three children – two boys and a girl. The boys are a lot older than my daughter, Amy is 13 years-old now and all of her life I have had very bad health problems because of my weight. My weight just kept on increasing and by the age of 35 I weighed around 24 stone. It was then that my health started to get really bad.It was then that I realised my life was near to an end.
You seem to have suffered from just about every weight-related ailment, can you give us a run-down?
My health was so bad I was not able to walk very much and had to use a walking stick. I was not able to manage the stairs in my home so my family and I had to move into a bungalow. I had to have handrails fitted into my home to help me get around. From the age of 35 until I was 45 my life was difficult, over these 10 years I stayed in my home for 99% of the time, the only times I would leave my home was for hospital and doctors’ appointments. I had Polymyalgia, arthritis, C.O.P.D. diabetes, three blood clots, and bowel problems. I was taking a large amount of medication for all my health problems.
I had the blood clots on the 8th April 2012 and was in hospital for eight days. The clots were in my leg and a blood clot in each of my lungs, my doctor said that these were life-threatening and I was seriously ill. It was then that I realised my life was near to an end.
That’s terrifying. I can’t think of anything more disruptive than moving house and to have to do it because of your weight, that must have been really difficult. How else had it impacted on your day-to-day life?I was taking approximately 46 tablets a day, about 20 of them were for pain.
Over these ten years of ill health my wife, Lorraine, had to look after me, I wasn’t able to do very much. She had to wash, shave me and change all my clothes. Lorraine was caring for me 24/7. My life was so bad Lorraine was really doing everything for me, from cooking my meals to taking me to all my doctors and hospital appointments and getting all my medication. I really felt I was a burden to my family.
I wasn’t able to sleep in bed for over ten years; I was so much in pain with the Polymyalgia and arthritis I found it difficult to sleep. I couldn’t sleep in bed at all and had to sleep in the reclining chair you can see in the pictures for ten years. As my health was so bad I had told my wife what to do for my funeral as I did really believe my life was very near to an end.
Could you give us a typical example of what you ate over the course of an average day?
Before losing my weight I would have lived on ready-made meals like pizzas, deep-fat chips, Chinese food and chippy foods and sausages rolls. Over a typical day I would eat breakfast at 8.30am which would be a cup of coffee, four pieces of soda bread toasted with lots of butter, four fried sausages, cereal sugar puffs. At 10am I’d have a cup of coffee with five or six chocolate biscuits and two scones.
Lunch was at 1pm and I’d have six sandwiches of cheese and ham, three or four sausages rolls and four or five chocolate biscuits. I’d snack at 3pm with a coffee and two bars of chocolate and two packets of crisps. Tea at 6pm would be a cup of coffee, a plate of fried chips, pork chops fried, four slices of white bread, two cream buns and four or five biscuits. At 8pm I’d have another coffee and a large bar of chocolate and more biscuits.
Finally, I’d round it off at 10pm with more coffee, four cheese sandwiches and more chocolate biscuits. I never look at what I would have eaten over a day before I lost my weight and I am truly shocked.
Your story is incredible for a number of reasons – the scale of it, the sheer number of health issues you had – but I think it’s really encouraging to all our readers, that no matter how far you get, you can always decide to stop and come back. What changed you?
My daughter had been used to me at home as I would always be sitting in my reclining chair. Amy cried everyday when I was in hospital as she missed me not being at home, it was then I said to myself if I recover from these blood clots I was going to do what I could to try and lose my weight.
In hospital I weighed 27 stone 5 lbs. I was taking over 30 different drugs each day. I was taking approximately 46 tablets a day, about 20 of them were for pain. I was attending six clinics for my many health problems at the age of 45. After I got home from hospital I had to go to my health centre to see my nurse to get my blood tested as I’m taking Warfarin to thin my blood. My nurse asked would I be interested in joining Slimming World, I had never heard of Slimming World so I said to her I would look into it.
What was it like when you first walked through the doors to go to the group?
I have tried to lose weight so many times over my life and could never do it. I was so afraid to go to a slimming group as I really thought only women went to those things. My wife and I talked about joining Slimming World for a few weeks and then we decided to give it ago. I remember walking through them doors for the first time, I was nervous, shaking and really terrified! I really had no need to be as I was treated so well, everyone welcomed Lorraine and myself, all the members and our consultant were really very friendly. I got weighed and I weighed 25 stone 11 and a half pounds.
My first week I lost 9.5 lbs – I was so happy with that. Then over the next 12 months I lost exactly 12 stone, and up to now I have lost 14 stone 2 lbs. I only need to lose 3.5 lbs and that will be me at my target of 14 stone. I really loved slimming world and how it had changed my life.
What was it that changed when you did Slimming World?
Slimming World has really changed how we thought about food and taught us to prepare and cook our food in a way that’s really nice and so we are losing weight as well. Over these 12 months my health started to improve, my diabetes has completely gone and I now only attend one health clinic. I have stopped attending all the other health clinics as my health has improved so much. I don’t have the pains in my arms and legs, my walking has got a lot better, my life has completely changed.
Perhaps the biggest change is that I was never able to play with my daughter, or go to any of her school activities, but now we go walking, cycling and I have been to watch Amy in a play at her school.
Can you sum up what’s different now you’ve lost the weight?
My life has changed so much from losing my weight. My greatest surprise about losing weight is the way people treat me. Most people are so nice to me now that I’ve lost my weight, and before my weight loss some people were so cruel to me. Health wise, I’m still on a lot of tablets but hope over the next year my doctor will reduce them. All my blood tests are better than they ever have been. I can now get clothes that fit me! Before my weight loss it was very difficult to get clothes that would fit. People from my past don’t recognise me and nobody stares at me anymore. My family and I went on our first holiday in 15 years, we went to Portugal. I know I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t lost my weight, so this is the greatest thing for me to be around for my family.My family and I went on our first holiday in 15 years
What would you like our readers to know about weight loss?
I wish I had tried to get help years ago. If you’re overweight don’t be like me and wait until you damage your body. Ask for help and you will be surprised at the people that really do care. I hope my story will help you reach out for help. Being overweight I felt a burden to my family; I was a burden to myself also. If you’re like I was please reach out for help. There’s lots of help out there just ask. Some people really do care.