‘Collecting takeaway was my only exercise’: Morbidly obese man drops 10 stone in one year… and becomes PE teacher
Ryan Buckman always dreamed of being a PE teacher.
But, weighing 22 stone, the classroom assistant at Chase High School in Westcliff-on-Sea was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
And, being too fat to run, the only exercise the Essex boy ever did was walking to his local takeaway shop to collect food.
Now 24, Ryan has spent the last year sticking to a regimental diet and exercise plan that he formulated himself.
And in just 12 months he has shifted an enormous 10 stone, winning his dream job as a sports teacher. And a girlfriend.
He said: ‘It’s what I have always wanted to do, but I never had the confidence because I was too fat.
‘How could I seriously apply to be a PE teacher when I couldn’t even run without getting out of breath?
‘The kids would have laughed at me. It was hardly setting the right example.
‘The only real exercise I did was walking to my local takeaway.’
Ryan’s former diet consisted of a constant supply of hot buttered toast, crisps and cakes until a big school lunch. He then continuously ate crisps and biscuits until picking up a takeaway after school and then having a late evening meal.
He finally decided to do something about his weight when he realised he couldn’t find any trendy clothes in his XXXL giant size.
He says: ‘I had to dress like an old man while my mates wore fashionable stuff because nothing in TopMan fitted me. I needed a 44 inch waist. They don’t make skinny jeans that big.’
Ryan downloaded a calorie counter on his iPhone, restricted himself to 1,500 calories a day and stuck to a healthy diet of cereal for breakfast, salad for lunch and grilled meat and vegetables for dinner.
He said: ‘At first I found the feeling of hunger odd. I had never experienced it before because I was always eating.
He also ditched alcohol when the calorie counter revealed how many calories he consumed through drinking and how if he stopped buying beer he’d be able to eat more.
Ryan lost a stone in the first fortnight and started running to speed up the weight loss.
‘At first I could only do a few minutes before getting out of breath but the more weight I lost the easier it was and I really started enjoying it.’
Soon he was losing a stone a month. ‘The kids at school started noticing and knowing I was inspiring them kept me going.
‘I was desperate to became a PE teacher but didn’t want to do anything about it until I reached my goal weight.’In May last year Ryan reached 12 stone and ran his first half marathon. A few months later he spoke to his head teacher and was promoted to PE teaching assistant.
‘I was ecstatic. It made all the hard work worth it. When I helped take a lesson for the first time it was an amazing moment.
Ryan is now about to start his formal PE teaching qualification and has since found love with fellow teacher Kimberly Law.
‘I practice what I preach to the pupils and they know that. I hope they are as proud of me as I am of them.
‘I’m really proud of what I have achieved and feel privileged to be able to help students achieve the same.
‘Because I worked at the same school as a classroom assistant when I was fat all the kids have known me big and now.
‘I love it when they tell me “well done, Sir,” and ask me how I did it.
‘They can see for themselves the huge difference healthy eating and exercise has made to my life and I tell them it can do the same for them too.’