Conor Loughlin made a dramatic lifestyle change after being rushed to hospital in November 2020 when he contracted coronavirus and was left gasping for breath.
Weighing 25st, he spent several days at hospital while medics fought to keep his oxygen levels up.
Conor, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, managed to recover from the infection but was told by a doctor that he “didn’t know how he managed to survive” because he was morbidly obese.
After getting home the 25-year-old decided there and then to change his eating habits for a healthier lifestyle.
Conor, who is also a youth worker, swapped eating between 3500-4000 calories of junk food and bread each day to 2,000 calories of high protein meals.
He also joined a gym and started walking at least 10,000 – 20,000 steps each day.
The drastic changes have now resulted in Conor losing 10st and currently weighing in at 15st.
Speaking today, Conor said: “Once I got on my feet I promised myself, my family, and my friends that I wouldn’t put them through that again.
“I promised them I would change my lifestyle and start improving my health, as I knew that I was very lucky to be alive and it made me understand the damage I was doing to myself.
“The changes I made were so minimal, I started to exercise more and walking was my starting point.
“At the start it was difficult.
“I had to overcome back problems and my joints not being able to carry my body weight.
“I started to build up my steps 5,000 a day for a few weeks and then 10,000 and 20,000.
“Once my fitness got better I added new activities like running, swimming and attending gym classes.”
Conor continued: “The most difficult part for me was sacrificing all the nights I didn’t go out drinking and didn’t eat the takeaways.
“You do have to give up the stuff you absolutely love, but for me I hated them for what they did to me.
“Being around people who eat these foods made it very difficult for me.
“There were also a few months where I wasn’t losing much weight and it really put a lot of pressure on me.
“People need to understand to listen to their body’s and not overdo it, the process is long but it is very achievable.”
Conor spoke about how the dramatic change has improved his life, saying: “It’s improved my life so much, I feel that I can do most activities, whereas before I felt because of my weight it restricted what I could do.
“Now I feel I could take off my t-shirt swimming, it’s given me so much more confidence in myself.
“It’s made me mentally happier, I don’t feel as negative and feel that now I have learned to love myself a bit more.
“My goals are to keep going, to stay consistent and continue to participate in new activities and challenges.
“I really want to get more educated and hopefully go on to do my fitness qualifications so that I can train people who specifically have issues with their weight.
“I feel that being there and doing it people would really listen to me and want me to help them.”
Conor now aims to reach just under 13st and maintain that weight in the future.
The National Institute for Health Research published findings that carrying excess weight directly increases the risk of becoming seriously unwell with Covid-19.
The main group that were most affected by excess weight than others were under 40s.
They claim that people with a BMI of 23 had the lowest risk of admission to hospital, intensive care or death and as BMI increased, so did the risk of poorer Covid-19 outcomes.