At 5-foot-9 1/2, Thomas McIntyre weighed more than 434 pounds and his waist measured 74 inches. He was used to making jokes about his size.
McIntyre, a soccer fan, went to watch a game one day and he got stuck while trying to go through a turnstile into the stadium. Dozens of spectators looked on and laughed, and so did he, but he was worried.
"I was the typical jolly, fat bloke, always making fun of myself before anyone else had the chance to do it," said McIntyre, of Larne, Northern Ireland. "Deep down though, I'd reached the point where I thought about my mortality all the time and, the more I worried, the more I ate, to comfort myself, I suppose. It was a vicious cycle."
At the urging of a friend, McIntyre joined Slimming World, a U.K.-based weight-loss organization that now operates in the United States.
In February 2012, McIntyre began following the group's meal plan and started planning healthy, home-cooked meals while getting tips and recipes at group meetings. After the first week, he lost 10 ½ pounds and never looked back.
McIntyre lost a total of 246 pounds. Today, he weighs 188 pounds and things couldn't be better for the 43-year-old, married fresh food manager at Dunnes Stores, a retail chain.