Man loses almost half his body weight after being too big to go on nearly every ride at a theme park

·5-min read
Martin Hannis lost nearly half his body weight after he was too big to ride nearly every rollercoaster in a theme park. (SWNS)
Martin Hannis lost nearly half his body weight after he was too big to ride nearly every rollercoaster in a theme park. (SWNS)

A man lost nearly half his body weight after discovering he was too big to ride almost every rollercoaster in a theme park.

Martin Hannis, 38, from Gloucester, weighed 23st and could barely squeeze into size XXXXXL clothes, which he attributes to a diet of pizza, kebabs and a bottle of red wine a night.

But he was forced to confront his size after he took his niece Lola Thomas, then six years old, to a theme park and found he was too heavy to go on all but two of the attractions.

While staff told him that he was too big to ride some of the attractions, on others he struggled to get into the seats or pull the safety harness over his tummy.

Watch: Cardio and upper body workout

Determined to overhaul his lifestyle, Hannis ditched booze and took up running, losing a staggering 12st in just a year.

Now weighing 11st 9lbs and wearing a size S-M, this summer he took his niece back to Brean Leisure Park in Somerset and the pair rode every single rollercoaster together.

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Martin Hannis before his weight loss. (SWNS)
Martin Hannis before his weight loss. (SWNS)

“I’d noticed my weight creeping up over the years but it wasn’t until the theme park trip last year that I felt really motivated to do something about it,” the stock and bond manager explains.

“Losing the weight was incredibly difficult and it took a lot of commitment, but now I’m a lot healthier and it’s become a way of life for me.

“It [losing weight] completely changed my life, and I’ll never let myself get that big again.

“Not only am I now so much healthier, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Hannis says his weight gradually crept up over ten years, as he used food and alcohol as a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety.

On an average evening, Hannis says he would get through a bottle of red wine, followed by unhealthy snacks such as pizza, chocolate and kebabs, consuming around 5,000 calories a day.

“I knew my health was getting worse, but when you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s easier to just brush it off and pretend it isn’t happening,” he explains.

“I used to come home from work in the evening and eat a whole packet of biscuits without a moment’s thought.”

Read more: Woman who kicked her McDonald's habit during lockdown loses 5.5 stone

Martin Hannis lost around half his body weight. (SWNS)
Martin Hannis lost around half his body weight. (SWNS)

But being unable to enjoy the rides at the theme park forced him to take action.

“As I became more aware of my body and what it needed, I realised how little attention I’d been paying before,” he explains.

He committed to a strict weight-loss regime in July 2019, initially limiting himself to just 1,000 calories a day, ditching booze, going for regular runs and hitting the gym.

Watch: James Corden on losing weight to be ‘better’ for his family.

Though Hannis says his first run “nearly killed him” and he struggled to manage even 60 seconds without stopping, he can now run up to 22km at a time.

He has also halved the amount of calories he ate 18 months ago, now consuming around 2,500 calories a day.

Hannis’ hard work paid off when he was able to return to the same theme park in August this year to enjoy all the rides he was unable to go on previously.

“I fit in every seat on every ride, which was so satisfying after I had to watch my niece ride alone the year before.

“I think I enjoyed it more than her this year!”

Martin Hannis with his niece at Disneyland in 2017. (SWNS)
Martin Hannis with his niece at Disneyland in 2017. (SWNS)

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As well as his physical health, the impressive change has had an impact on Hannis’ mental health too and having battled anxiety and depression before his weight loss he says he’s in a much better place mentally.

“It was definitely a mental challenge as well as a physical one, but I’m so much happier now, and I’m full of energy.

“Looking back, I realise I never really got enjoyment out of anything I did before, but now I do.

“I feel like a completely different person.”

Martin Hannis after his weight loss. (SWNS)
Martin Hannis after his weight loss. (SWNS)

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Martin Hannis’ typical daily diet

BEFORE

BREAKFAST - A large bowl of Coco Pops or Frosties with extra sugar added on top.

LUNCH - Cheese sandwiches with four pieces of bread, two packs of crisps and chocolate bars, or a fast food takeaway such as McDonalds or KFC.

DINNER - Half the week takeaways, half the week huge portions of home-cooked food, such as a whole box of fish fingers paired with mountains of mashed potato.

SNACKS - Biscuits, chocolate bars, cakes, microwave hamburgers.

NOW

BREAKFAST - Goes for a run instead of having breakfast.

LUNCH - Porridge.

DINNER - Chicken or turkey, potatoes and veg.

SNACKS - Crumpets, bagels, avocado, fruit, protein bars.

Additional reporting SWNS.

Watch: Simple steps to a healthier life

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