He would hide behind jokes about his size and, despite attempting to slim down in the past, it wasn’t until his 30th birthday that he decided to make a serious change.
He says: ‘I turned 30 at the beginning of 2013. You get to that age and I suppose you start to grow up a bit. I’d been lucky and didn’t have any health problems, but I began to wonder how long I could continue with the lifestyle I was leading and remain reasonably healthy.
‘We organised a number of birthday celebrations throughout the year and looking back I realise my weight impacted on a lot of them. A holiday to Spain last summer was almost ruined because I spent the whole time feeling too hot to enjoy myself, and on the plane home I only just managed to fasten the seatbelt. It dug into me for the whole flight and I decided enough was enough.
Back home Brendan and his wife Sarah, who live in Fridaythorpe in East Yorkshire, joined a nearby Slimming World group in Driffield in August 2013. Brendan says: ‘Anyone who says they weren’t nervous when they first joined Slimming World, especially a bloke, probably isn’t telling the truth.
‘I was terrified because I thought everyone was going to turn and look at me, but I needn’t have worried as everyone was so friendly and welcoming – and there was even another man there which pleased me no end! I quickly realised I’d come to the right place and I’ve made so many friends there now, it’s like having your own cheerleading squad every week.’
Brendan's incredible achievement has resulted in him being crowned Slimming World's Man of the Year
Brendan and Sarah swapped their diet of ready meals, convenience foods and weekly takeaways for cooking meals from scratch including their favourite dish of barbecue pulled pork. He says: ‘I’ve followed meal replacement diets before and lost several stone but they taught me nothing about changing the way I eat and my relationship with food, so when I stopped, the weight went back on as quickly as I’d lost it.
‘I love that I can fill my plate and feel satisfied – the only problem now is that Sarah and I argue over who gets to do the cooking because we both enjoy it so much!’
As well as overhauling his eating habits, Brendan’s discovered a love of running. He says: ‘I’ve never been sporty and at school I’d do anything I could to avoid PE. But after I’d lost a bit of weight I decided I wanted to increase my activity levels and my consultant, Shirley, told me about the couch to 5km challenge, which promised to get you running for 30 minutes within weeks.
‘I decided to give it a try and within eight weeks I ran 30 minutes without stopping – in fact, I was so pleased I ended up running for 45 minutes because I didn’t want to stop! Since then I’ve taken part in 10k races and I’d like to attempt further in the future.
Brendan's diet before
Breakfast: Croissants, large latte