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Chocolate factory worker who’d eat four McDonald’s a day loses 11 stone and gets new shoulder

John Peate’s weight masked the pain caused by a motorcycle accident – but now transformed his life and body.

BODY

A 25-stone chocolate factory worker who admits to gorging on four McDonald’s meals at a time has told how he lost 11 stone and gained a new shoulder.

Left in agony after a motorcycle accident in 2006, John Peate, 33, needed morphine to control the pain in his right shoulder, and assumed his hefty bulk had aggravated the problem.

But when the 6ft 3in man mountain from Brill, near Thame in Buckinghamshire, was still in agony after shedding eight stone in eight months, he sought help and discovered it was because of his crash 12 years earlier.

 
 

Now a trim 14st 7lb, John – whose wife Lou Peate, 35, manages a mental health charity – is pain free, after having “bionic shoulder” surgery, and says: “I’m able to sleep through the night and I don’t have that chronic pain. I’m on zero painkillers. It’s incredible.”

John, who at his heaviest had a 58in waist, a  62in chest and a body mass index (BMI), used to gauge a healthy weight,  of 44.1 –  far higher than the 24.9 considered healthy by the NHS – said his turning point came when his granddad suffered a stroke on his 30th birthday and died two weeks later, aged 84, in November 2016.

He said: “It was at the wake, when I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoelaces.”

John before (PA Real Life Collect)

He said: “I’d always wanted to make my granddad, who was also called John, proud and I wanted to make my wife Lou, proud, too, so I knew it was time to do something about my weight.”

Following six months of yo-yo dieting, John realised he needed support and, in July 2017, turned to family friend, Lisa Jones, who was a consultant with the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan – a personalised weight loss plan which starts with meal replacements – for guidance.

He continued: “I’d known Lisa for years. She lost half her body weight 15 years ago and managed to keep it off.”

John and Lou (PA Real Life Collect)

John continued: “As a big teenager I often felt invisible, but she would always make the effort to speak to me, so I told her about the four McDonald’s breakfasts and the kebabs I ate and she didn’t judge me.”

Always overweight, John admits he usually hovered at around 22st, but ballooned to 25.5st at the end of 2016, when he was comfort eating, as he was upset by his grandma Peggy’s declining health.

But he had been wrongly attributing the growing pain in his right shoulder to his weight, saying: “When I came off my motorbike in 2006, after losing my balance, I was left with pain, particularly in my shoulder. But, because I had pain around my other joints, my knees and ankles, I put it down to the weight.

John after (PA Real Life Collect)

“The weight masked the pain in my shoulder, which was like a burning or stabbing pain, which I later found out was due to the accident.

“I’d been reliant on morphine to manage it, but it left me zonked and unable to sleep for more than two hours at a time.”

And, as Peggy, who died in March 2018 of dementia, showed signs of confusion, as she aged, John’s over-eating spiralled out of control.

John before (PA Real Life Collect)

He said: “We were very close and, I was extremely worried, so I took to comfort eating.

“I would work the night shift at the chocolate factory, then stop off at McDonald’s on the way home, eat four breakfast meals in secret in the car, then go home and have a bacon sandwich with Lou.

“I was suffering from a lot of anxiety and depression, and the medication I was taking for nerve pain made me even hungrier.”

John and Lou (PA Real Life Collect)

John said: “At the weekend I could easily put away 6,000 to 7,000 calories a day.

“I would look forward to the end of a bad day by thinking about what treat I could eat afterwards.

“But, when I got home from work, I would sit in the car for 15 minutes because of the pain I was in – in my ankles, knees, my shoulder. I would have to build up to walking to the house.”

John after (PA Real Life Collect)

Luckily, all that changed when he began the Cambridge Weight Loss plan  – having meal replacements for the first month, which meant ditching the fast food in favour of shakes and healthier meals.

And, within seven or eight months, John had shed an incredible eight stone – bringing his BMI down to below 29.

He said: “The first few weeks were not easy but once I got through that and was seeing the results and feeling better it was fine.”

“Once I started feeling healthier, I knew I’d get the same comfort feeling from walking up a hill as I would have had from eating a McDonald’s breakfast,” John explained.

John’s one surprise was that the pain in his right shoulder did not disappear as the weight fell away.

He recalled: “I had dislocated my shoulder during my accident and ruptured my tendon.  I had surgery a couple of years later, in 2008, and they put a pin in it because it was unstable.”

John during his weight loss (PA Real Life Collect)

John recalled: “But the bigger I got, the more pain there was, so I assumed my weight had made it worse.

“When I lost eight stone and was still in agony, I went to see a doctor and found out the pin had been spinning around and the cartilage had also been rubbing away.

“After I lost the weight I was able to see a private surgeon – I wanted it solved quickly, even though my weight loss made me eligible for NHS surgery – and had an operation, where they washed the joint and shaved my collarbone.”

John before with Lou (PA Real Life Collect)

Surgeons also discovered there was no cartilage in John’s shoulder, which helps prevent bones rubbing together – meaning the ball and socket joint at the top of his arm, which they found had also developed arthritis, was painful.

Going under the knife in July 2018 he had three procedures at the BMI Chiltern Hospital in Great Missenden, which included being fitted with a brand new metal shoulder.

Now, a year and a half later, he has built up the strength in his arm, which was weakened as part of his bicep was removed, and is pain free and able to use the limb normally again.

John after (PA Real Life Collect)

Happily married for 10 years, John, who has not ridden a motorbike since his accident, has lost a further three stone since his operation and is now a super-fit 14st 7lb.

He said: “It saved my life getting that weight off – I’ve lost nearly 11st.

“I eat a lot of meat and vegetables and control my carbs and don’t have fizzy drinks at all.  I stick to around 2,300 calories a day and I’m not going to waste those on drink.”

 

He explained: “Obviously, working where I do, I get a lot of free chocolate, but I know now that if I overeat it will make me feel unhappy, so I don’t do it. I’ve had really supportive colleagues who have helped me along the way.

“I still enjoy the things I used to enjoy, but I only have them as a treat.

“I also use walking to manage my fitness and walk around 30 miles a week.”

John after (PA Real Life Collect)

John added: “Rather than take comfort in a pizza, I’ll take comfort in a walk. It’s really helped with my anxiety and mental health, too.”

Praising his wife, John says he could never have achieved such drastic weight loss without her support.

He said: “She has been amazing.”

John after (PA Real Life Collect)

He concluded: “My wife has known me as a bigger man and it’s nice to provide her with a bit of arm candy now!”

Lisa Jones, of Cambridge Weight Loss, said she was proud to watch John’s personality and confidence grow as he lost weight.

She said: “John’s journey had added complications due to his surgeries. From the onset of each operation we had to side step his diet plan and just practice maintaining his present weight, until his body had made a full recovery.”

John and Lou (PA Real Life Collect)

Lisa explained: “This is a point where a lot of people would sit in front of the TV and eat the wrong food, but not John, he put into practice everything he had learned by following the steps in the 1:1 diet step book.

“I’m immensely proud of what he’s achieved under his circumstances. John is proof that if you understand what foods to eat, in the right portion, that weight loss and maintenance can change your life.

“There are five different steps to the 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight Plan, using a mix of conventional foods and meal packs for nutrition to keep your calorie intake down.”

John before and after (PA Real Life Collect)

She added: “And with the help of a personal diet consultant,  you get  one to one attention, and support, this makes such a difference to being able to reach your weight loss goals.”

To follow John’s journey visit www.facebook.com/121johnp/