Ipswich truck driver Paul Nugent used to scoff down burgers, fries, pizza, kebabs and soft drink for morning tea. And lunch. And dinner. With plenty of beer.

At aged 51, he weighed in at 168kg. He was a heart attack waiting to happen.

That was then. A year later, Paul is about to catch his first flight out of Australia, heading to the United Kingdom as a finalist in the International Slimmer of the Year competition in November.

Paul has lost an amazing 72kg in 12 months.

“I’m 95 kilos ringing wet now,” he said.

There was no Biggest Loser, no marathon running, no drastic surgery required. The secret to his success was shakes – and no, not the 500 calorie, 100 grams of sugar variety.

Paul adopted the Cambridge Weight Plan and its controlled diet for the past year. He cut out all the fast-food and alcohol and started eating healthy.

The father of four boys said it was as much a mental battle as a physical one.

“You definitely have to be in the right head space,” he said.

Paul said he had to give up truck driving and so many aspects of his life because of his size and poor health.

“I became scared about missing out on seeing my boys grow up and have children of their own.

“Socially, I was always the clown at the party but I hid my true emotions behind this façade, full of self-loathing.”

But once the kilos starting falling off, his confidence levels and his health improved dramatically.

While he separated during the process, love was just around the corner again. Love for himself … and a new woman in his life.

Paul recently won Slimmer of the Year, earning himself a trip to the UK, Italy and France in November for the worldwide competition.

“I was up at Colleges Crossing by myself one day, having a coffee. I went to visit the area as I used to ride motorbikes there as a kid.

“A little dog came running up to me and I starting patting it. I started speaking to the owner, this nice woman, and asked her to join me for a coffee. We are still having coffees today.”

Paul now has a new partner, been engaged for a month and looking forward to a different chapter.

“She is a very private person and that suits me.

“She has only seen me at my current weight. When I told her my story and showed her the pictures, she was astounded. She could not believe my transformation.”

Paul said he rarely drank alcohol these days, enjoying two beers only at a recent social event. He is off the tablets, insulin and has stopped snoring.

Instead of sleeping 14 hours a day, he needs just seven and feels fantastic for it.

He is back truck driving and avoiding the fast-food pit stops.

“I visited my doctor recently and where he once said I would be lucky to reach 50, he is now saying I will outlive him.

“I will be 53 in February but I honestly feel like I am 21.”

Paul said he wants to set up a Cambridge Weight Plan clinic in Ipswich and become a consultant. He said he had already referred 20 or more family and friends to the diet program.

“You take a walk through Riverlink and you can see a lot of the old me there. A lot of people need help in Ipswich and I want to help them.”

The International Slimmer of the Year will be announced in Telford, UK between November 18-20. He’ll need some votes which you can send his way via this link: http://awards.cambridgeweightplan.com/australia. Please note, despite Paul’s remarkable achievement, this is not an endorsement of any particular weight loss plan. If you are planning to lose weight, you are advised to first see your doctor.

Paul Nugent before his weight loss campaign.

What Paul ate … before and after:

BEFORE THE DIET

Deep fried chicken, burgers, pies, pizza, kebabs, chips.

On weekends, Paul would start the day with a bacon and egg cook up, have a nap, wake up with some beers and chips, another nap, then some rum.

Dinner was often pasta or meals heavy with carbs. He was also consuming about 3 litres of Coke per day, plus iced coffees. He was also eating a lot of sweet stuff – cakes, donuts and lollies.

Thousands and thousands of calories per day.

DURING THE DIET, AND NOW

When he started the plan he began on 1500kcal/day, conscious to eat foods which would be okay with his diabetes.

He worked his way down to 800kcal/day in two-week increments and stayed at this level as he lost weight.

It involved consuming a minimum of 2.25 litres of water per day and a 200kcal protein/vege meal.

Then he went through the stabilisation process, which involved weaning himself off the products and increasing traditional food intake.

Now Paul is doing maintenance which involves eating low GI, whole foods and clean eating as much as possible.

He has replaced greasy takeaways with salad wraps; replaced coke with water; and dinner includes a lot of vegetables and protein with healthy carbohydrates (multigrains, brown rice/pasta, new or sweet potatoes).

Paul initially supplemented his diet with Cambridge products, but has since stopped using them. He says he often checks in with his consultant to keep himself accountable.

The reality of what I was doing to myself was starting to sink in. Friends and family had voiced concerns over my weight and the medical problems associated with it, but I would just laugh them off thinking I was invincible.

When it became difficult to even walk to the letterbox without becoming out of breath, I knew I had a problem and had to do something about it. As a truck driver I spent many hours sitting around and eating takeaway.

Comfort eating was also a huge part of my life as I was going through a separation at the time.  And then there were the beers at night that I felt I needed to wind down from a busy day at work.  My own father had suffered a stroke in his early 60s and I’d nursed him for three years before he passed away.  I knew I had to change or I would go down the same road as him.

I started noticing this other driver who I would see about once a week as he was literally shrinking before my eyes.  I actually thought he must be terminally ill as I had never known anyone to drop weight like he was. Eventually I got up the courage to ask him if he was okay as I couldn’t work out why he looked so healthy and full of energy.  He told me he had never felt better.  He had managed to lose over 60kg and it was then that I thought maybe there was a chance for me too.

The secret to my weight loss was Cambridge Weight Plan and consultant Tamara Lynam.  That afternoon I gave her a call and booked in for my first appointment.

At the time I weighed 165.6kg, was an insulin dependent type 2 diabetic, I had sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and cholesterol and painful knee joints.  I spent over an hour with Tamara discussing the best way for me to start on the plan as they had pretty strict protocols when it came to their diabetic clients.

Before I could begin she had to contact her doctor for advice and then my own doctor had to sign their medical forms confirming that I was able to do the plan. However she also gave me a few strategies to put in place and prepare me to start the diet.  In those five days I managed to lose a massive 3.8kg. I had found my answer – I knew I had to do this, not just for myself, but also for my four boys. 

In under a year I have managed to lose 72kg and completely changed my life. But not only that, I have also been taken off my insulin injections, I do not suffer with sleep apnoea anymore, and I no longer require blood pressure or osteoarthritis tables as all my levels are now normal.

I haven’t felt this good in 30 years – since I was in my 20s. When I look at my consultant, I realise how much I have actually lost as funnily enough that is exactly what she weighs.  I am really not sure how I used to carry that extra weight around with me every single day.

Tying my shoelaces is now a breeze and forget being out of breath going to the letter box, I am now regularly walking 8-15km around our local lake and I love being able to get out and play footy with my two younger boys.

The next step for me is to join our local gym as I am never going back to the person I was a year ago.  When I think back to that, I can plainly see that I was a heart attack waiting to happen.  My friends, family and my GP can’t believe my transformation and are so relieved to see me looking so healthy.

Paul Nugent

Weight loss success story

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