At 16 Jon Harman was beginning a downward spiral of drink, drugs and comfort eating and his weight just ballooned over the years.
Now the Bury St Edmunds salesman has lost five stone in six months and has a new career and future ahead of him.
In January Jon decided to put his past behind him and get his life back on track.
He turned to drink, drugs and food aged 16 as he struggled to cope with the death of his grandmother.
And while away at university at 22, his supportive grandfather died, pushing him further towards ‘a life of excess’.
“I was already taking anything and everything but when he went, because I was so many hundreds of miles away from home, it magnified,” he said. “I drank lots, I ate lots and I took lots of drugs.”
Jon finally turned his back on drink and drugs, after almost losing his job and a noticeable decline in his mental health after being diagnosed withanxiety and depression, But he compensated for it by ‘comfort’ eating.
“Once I’d quit all those addictions, I had to replace them with another one, so I just ate more,” he said.
In January, encouraged by the successful weight loss of colleagues, Jon joined Slimming World at Bury’s Westbury Social Club.
Now more than five stone lighter, this year will see him realise his ambition of teaching abroad.
He said: “People who haven’t seen me for a while do a double take. It has completely surprised people just how much I have turned my life around. Before I was happy being anonymous, now I have to prove it’s still me.”
He added: “Slimming World has helped me find myself after being lost for many years. I am proud of my achievements. Being offered a place on a teaching course in Thailand is a complete game changer for me. I couldn’t have done it without the new found positivity Slimming World helped me find.”
Alex Ridsdale, Jon’s Slimming World consultant, said: “Jon is amazing. It hasn’t always been easy for him but he has proved that you can turn your life around from the darkest place.”
Alex starts Thursday groups on Moreton Hall today. Call 07703 773136