A SUPER slimmer is celebrating after losing a life-changing 6st 2.5lbs and reaching the finals of a national competition.

Josh Bailey, 27, won a place in the final of Slimming World’s 2022 Man of the Year after members from his Ross-on-Wye group voted for him to reach the next stage of the contest held at Slimming World’s Head Office in Derbyshire.

Josh, who slimmed from 20st 13lbs to 14st 10.5lbs, said: “Deep down I’d been unhappy with my weight for some time, but it took me a while to face up to it.

“And then when I did admit to myself that I wanted to lose weight I still didn’t want to ask for help.

“I thought weight-loss groups like Slimming World were for women and expected them to be a bit judgemental, but I couldn’t have been more wrong and now I recommend it to all my friends who want to lose weight.

“At the start of my journey if you told me I would be representing my group at the finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year competition, I would have laughed – I still can’t believe it!”

Josh added: “It was nerve-wracking walking through those doors for the first time but I wasn’t the only man there and everyone was warm and welcoming, because we’re all at the group for the same reason – to lose weight.

“Now I’m fitter, I have more energy and I’ve improved my health.

“I thought losing weight would be very controlling and restrictive, so it’s been a brilliant surprise that all the way through my weight-loss journey, I’ve been able to still enjoy my favourite meals like spaghetti Bolognese and steak and chips.

“The freedom of the plan means I never have to miss out and nothing is off limits.

“I love that I don’t have to worry about weighing and measuring everything I eat or counting calories either.

‘‘Before I started, I worried eating healthily might limit me, but I try more new recipes now than I ever did before.”

Josh has also discovered a passion for exercise, saying: “As the weight came off I started to feel more energetic and decided to try something new. I was inspired by Slimming World’s physical activity programme and I’ve since taken up walking and may attend my local Parkrun.’’

Debra Maloney, who runs the Ross-on-Wye Slimming World group, said: “His determination and motivation has never faded – he’s a real inspiration to everyone. I hope he inspires other people in Ross-On-Wye to join our group and take the first step towards losing weight for good.

“Men often think Slimming World isn’t a man’s world but actually research shows that men lose more weight than women when they join.”

Simming World meets at the Larruperz Centre in Grammar School Close, Ross-on-Wye, every Monday at 9.30am, 3.30pm and 5.30pm and Tuesdays at 7.30am and 9am.Call 07895 257037 for information.