A man who once weighed 38 stone has more than half his body weight after taking up Zumba.
56-year-old Tony Orrell made the decision to change his life and lose the weight. He and his wife, Debbie, went on this journey together after she tipped the scales at 18 stone.
Tony had to buy his clothes from special online retailers and was wearing size XXXXXXXXL.
He began struggling with his weight at a young age. “I was the fat kid at school, I was always chubby. I’ve got a sweet tooth and my mum worked at a biscuit factory, so she was always bringing packets home. I spent all my pocket money on pick and mix.”
Years later, his love of sweets and his craving for Indian takeaways caused his weight to gradually creep up. He also had a full-time job at a bank and because he worked lots of hours, he never had much time for cooking.
“I’d order an onion bhaji to start, tikka masala and a rice to myself, a large naan and poppadoms and polish the lot off.”
By 2003, his size made it too difficult to work. The couple planned a nice holiday to Florida in 2006 for their 25th wedding anniversary but his weight problems made it impossible for them to travel. He developed cellulitis and leg ulcers and it was so painful that he had to be hospitalised.
When they did manage to go on holiday, Tony’s weight became a problem once again.
“Even when we did fly over the years, Tony wouldn’t get out of his seat,” Debbie said. “He was so scared he might not fit back in. He couldn’t go to the toilet because the loo cubicle is so small on a plane.”
They tried many times to shed the weight but whenever they made a little progress, they would reward themselves with sweets and eventually fall off the waggon. When it came to a point that Tony was really unhappy and unable to enjoy social situations, the couple knew something had to be done.
He was not the only one having weight issues. Debbie also began piling up the pounds and her desk job did not help matters.
Tony and his wife signed up with Slimming World diet in April 2012 and he also took Zumba which he fell in love with. Three years later, he lost 21 stone.
Debbie said her husband became a changed man. “I’ve got the man I married back, he’s so confident,” she said. “He’s a completely different person than I’ve known over the last ten years. And he loves being around the ladies at Zumba, he’s a bit of a charmer. It doesn’t phase him being the only bloke there.”
Tony admitted that his love for Zumba had kept him from slipping back to his old ways. “Doing Zumba helps to keep the weight off and I can’t believe how light on my feet I am now.”