Meet the Somerset man who has shed 16 stone and completed a marathon

IN just 15 months, this 31.5 stone (441lbs) Somerset man who “couldn’t fit in a cinema seat” lost 16.2 stone (228lbs) and completed a full marathon.

Rob Sparkes, 31, says that he was motivated to change his body when he realized he didn’t have the energy to play with his children.

Since that realization in late 2019 Sparks has shed over 200 pounds, runs a half marathon nearly every weekend, and weighs just 216 pounds.

“Before, I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath,” said Sparkes, a salesman from Weston-super-Mare.

“I couldn’t fit in a cinema seat.

“I couldn’t go on rides at the play park with my daughter.”

Prior to his weight loss, Sparkes was eating a whopping 6,000 calories a day and led a completely sedentary lifestyle.

“The furthest I’d walk is from work down to the shop to get food.

“On a typical day, I’d have four pieces of toast before work.

“Around ten, I’d end up getting a bacon roll, a Coke, and some chips.

“At lunch I’d have a half-pound burger and fries.

“If I didn’t have that I’d eat a massive sandwich and a family-sized bag of potato chips.

“In the afternoon, I’d be getting chips and chocolate from the vending machine.

“I would snack the second I got home from work.

“The first thing I’d do is go into the cupboard and eat more chips.

“Then for dinner, I’d order takeaway, typically a massive pizza.

“Later on I’d watch television and eat popcorn.

“I’d also drink about two liters of Coke every day.

“I just couldn’t stop.

“I just got in a really bad rut.”

He first became concerned about his weight when he went to his doctor’s office for a routine checkup.

His physician was shocked that he didn’t have any underlying health issues, but warned him that it was only a matter of time until he would develop diabetes and joint problems.

“I’d only just had my second child and I was worried I wouldn’t be around for my children.

“So in September of 2019, I started trying to lose weight.

“I don’t really snack at all anymore. I eat a lot of chicken and veggies.

“For breakfast, I usually eat porridge or sometimes granola.

“I’ve also been eating a lot of meals from a healthy meal plan called Gold Star Nutrition for lunch.”

After losing some weight, Sparkes turned his attention to his physical fitness.

“In March of 2020, I started running using the couch to 5k app and started going to the gym.

“I joined a running club and on December 20 I ran my first marathon.

“It was meant to be an official one, but they all got postponed due to Covid, so my running club did an unofficial one.

“I had my wife and kids there waiting for me at the end, and it felt amazing.

“I ran it in five hours and 24 minutes, but I ran the whole thing.

“Now that I’ve done one, I don’t want to lose it, so I have four more marathons booked for 2021.

“Nowadays, I run a half marathon on most weekends to stay in shape.

“I also did the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, a 25-mile hike up the 3 highest peaks in Yorkshire.

“I did it in nine hours and 30 minutes, and raised 1,280  for the Alzheimer Society.”

Sparkes says that throughout the past year and a half, his wife has played a big role in his success.

“There was no stress or strain with the marriage, but my wife absolutely loves the weight loss.

“She’s been so supportive.

“She was worried when she saw me gaining weight, but there was no stress.”

Now that he’s achieved his fitness goals and lost the weight, Sparkes is looking into reconstructive surgery to remove his excess skin.

After 2021 he also plans to begin training for his first ultramarathon, a 50-mile race that only the most hardcore runners ever attempt.

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