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A man has fulfilled his friend’s dying wish after shedding more than 10 stone.
Mark Smithers, 30, used to tip the scales at a hefty 24st and was so fat that he had food thrown at him while waiting at a bus stop.
He is now a shadow of his former self after swapping sweets for salad and reaching his target weight of 13st in just 13 months.
His dramatic weight loss stemmed from the death of lifelong family friend Maggie Johnson.
On her deathbed, Mark promised the cancer sufferer that he would do his best to lose weight because she was worried about him.
Shop assistant Mark said ‘She was like an auntie to me. I made a promise, and I stick to my promises. I’d tried to lose weight before, but I’d always been a big lad and I just struggled with food.’
‘I’d hate to see food go to waste, so I’d empty the fridge instead of letting stuff go off.’
‘I’d spend all my time playing fantasy computer games and refusing to go outside. The local kids would torture me.’
At the peak of his weight, Mark would devour more than 4,000 calories every day, the majority of which came from fizzy drinks and the loaf and a half of bread he would consume daily.
His quest to shed the pounds began last August and after using the ‘Slim and Save’ diet, Mark reached his target weight loss last month.
‘Now that I’ve lost the weight, it’s completely transformed my life and I feel like I can finally start living.’
He continued: ‘Since losing the weight, people hardly recognise me. A customer came into work and asked me if the fat lad still worked there. Her face went beetroot red when I told her the fat lad was me.’
Mark lives in Orpington, Kent, with his mum Lesley and older brother Wesley, who are equally proud of his achievements.
Lesley said ‘He’s made us all proud. It’s like I’ve got a completely new son. He would hide himself away in his room for days because his confidence was shattered. Now he’s a new man, much more outgoing and happy.’
‘His happiness is infectious, and it’s had such a positive effect on his life that it’s driven me to lose some weight too.’