A clinically obese man has become a bodybuilder after undergoing some major lifestyle changes and losing 48kg of fat.
When Richard Smith, 38, was in his late 20s, he struggled to walk up the stairs without taking a break.
Richard, from Neath in Wales, was labelled as “clinically obese” and suffered from daily debilitating headaches and chronic fatigue, Wales Online reports.
He had also been diagnosed with diabetes as a result of his unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise.
Working full-time in a bland office job Richard was desperate to try something different and desperate to lose his excess weight.
So, he tried a diet and then another and another, but unfortunately none worked for him.
He actually found that the harder he tried the more difficult it was to stay on plan and the more difficult it was to lose weight.
And as he battled to lose weight Richard struggled to manage his anxiety and depression too, often struggling with low self-esteem and not feeling worthy.
He said: "In my mid to late 20s I was clinically obese. I had diabetes, debilitating migraines, anxiety, and depression.
"I put a lot of it down to my genetics and getting older. I thought [putting on weight] was just part of life but I couldn't have been further from the truth.
"Apart from work I just wouldn't leave the house. I struggled with not being worthy. I didn't know what to do about it."
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Richard kept trying different diets and, eventually, something clicked.
He heard about the "keto diet" – a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet so it saw Richard completely cut out bread.
This was the magic trick that worked for Richard and he began to notice he was losing weight.
Within a month of changing his diet he had lost two stone and when a friend barely recognised him he felt motivated to take his health seriously and keep working hard to lose further weight.
He explained: "Food I thought was healthy, like granola and fruit, I found out that it wasn't.
"Following keto reversed my diabetes and I no longer had the migraines. I learnt about how to have a healthy lifestyle and I learnt about the food I was eating. In 12 months, I lost 107lb (48kg) in fat."
Feeling healthier physically and mentally Richard left his job and decided to retrain as a nutritionist, aiming to help other people lose weight if they wanted to.
Interested in bodybuilding, he also signed up to a local competition in 2019 and told all his friends about it, so he wouldn't be tempted to back down.
He stuck to his keto regime and spent hours in his local gym and subsequently placed second, which spurred him on to get even fitter and he soon qualified for British championships of men's physique bodybuilding.
He kept training and monitoring his diet and was crowned champion in his category in the 2019 championship.
"It was a staggering transformation," he said.
Since the pandemic Richard hasn't competed in competitions but plans to return to them in the near future.
But for the moment he's focused on helping other people look after their bodies and mind through an active lifestyle.
He said: "I do presentations, sharing about nutrition and general health and wellbeing and I work to re-educate people in basic nutrition – understanding what food is doing to your body and why you should think twice about the food you're having."
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