‘I locked myself away from the world’ Former postman explains how he lost eight stone and reversed his diabetes

A retired postman whose doctor told him his 20st 11lb frame was putting his “life in danger” told how he lost more than eight stone.

James Irvine not only reversed his type two diabetes, but gained a new circle of friends in the process.

The 62-year-old was referred to his local WW slimming group in January by his GP after health checks revealed his blood sugar levels were “through the roof”.

At 5ft 8in and with a body mass index (BMI) used to gauge a healthy weight of 42.4, James, of Glasgow, was nearly twice the NHS recommended range of 18.5 to 24.9 – making him obese.

Now weighing a far healthier 12st 4lb, not only does he look and feel better, but he says his self-esteem has soared, adding: “Now I’ve lost weight I’ve found a self-confidence and self-belief that I never knew I had.



James used to weigh more than 20st
(Image: PA REAL LIFE)

“Not only have I reversed my type two diabetes, I’ve gained a whole network of friends through WW.”

Looking back, James, who is single and describes himself as a “bit of a loner,” realises he started having an unhealthy relationship with food in secondary school, when he was picked on by class bullies.

He said: “After being bullied at school, I turned to food for comfort.

“I was always bigger than the other kids, but I wasn’t what you would call a fat child.

“Then when I started secondary school I began to get a lot wider, while the other boys became lean.”

He continued: “By the time I was 14, I weighed 13st and kept getting bigger.

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“As a result, I was constantly being called ‘fatty,’ or something along those lines.

“I didn’t have any friends to look out for me and it really turned me into a recluse.”

He continued: “I stopped seeing anyone out of school. I’d hide away at home listening to music or reading a book.



James is a retired postman
(Image: PA REAL LIFE)

“This continued into adulthood, when I locked myself away from the world and was aimlessly eating.”

But in 1980, when James joined the Royal Mail, he found his “first true friend” and his confidence grew.

“Gerry really brought me out of my shell,” he said.

“We both liked the same music – country and rock.

“We would go to gigs together and that sort of thing.

“He was my one true friend, but he sadly passed away in a car accident in 2005.”

Mourning the loss of his pal, instead of finding other people to share his life with, James became more introverted and, increasingly turning to comfort eating, his weight kept rising.

Gorging on “anything fried” – from battered sausages to potato fritters – by December last year, he weighed 20st 11lb.

That was when a routine check-up gave him the wake up call he needed.

He said: “The doctor told me I had to lose weight or I was putting my life at risk.

“I had been diagnosed with type two diabetes five years before, but I hadn’t really taken it seriously. I had put it to the back of my mind.

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“Now the doctor was telling me my blood sugar levels were sky high, which could be really dangerous.”

Referred to WW through the NHS, James went to his first weigh in on January 4, 2020.



(Image: PA REAL LIFE)

“I wasn’t too nervous about that first group meeting,” he said. “I don’t really get nervous.

“But it felt great to be talking to people in similar situations to me.”

Losing an impressive 7lb in his first week, the flab continued to fly off, with James attending weekly weigh-ins every Saturday.

“I’ve completely cut chocolate and sweets out of my life, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do,” he said.

“I’ve gone 10 months without them and I don’t miss them. Although I still treat myself to a bag of crisps every day.”

Striking up a strong relationship with his fellow slimmers, what James lost in pounds he made up for in newfound friendships.



James signed up to WW in January 2020
(Image: PA REAL LIFE)

“I’ve made a real connection with my WW coach,” he continued. “We’ve really bonded.

“I consider everybody in the group to be my friend.”

He continued: “Talking to people from different walks of life who have the same experiences as me has been so rewarding.”

And James has refused to let lockdown measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic stop him from losing weight – or seeing his fellow slimmers.

“We have a Zoom meeting every week,” he explained. “We talk about any highs and lows of the week.”

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He continued: “Of course, it’s not the same as doing it face to face and a lot of people have struggled with the lack of human interaction.

“But I’m used to my own company, so it’s been fine.”

As well as overhauling his diet, James introduced a daily walk into his routine, and he now walks nine to 10 miles every day.

“I put on my walking shoes, stick in my earphones and get lost in myself,” he added.

Now weighing 12st 4lb, James has passed his target of 12st 7lb.



(Image: PA REAL LIFE)

He said: “Just six months after joining WW my doctor told me I had effectively reversed my diabetes – I couldn’t believe it.”

He concluded: “Although I’m not sure who was more impressed, me or the doctor!

“I can’t wait for things to return to normal now, once the coronavirus restrictions lift, so I can have a proper meal with my WW pals – although we will all be counting our points, of course.”