I used to weigh 20 stone, was unhealthy and unfit, and smoked 40 roll-ups a day. Since giving up smoking I’ve lost over 5 and a half stone, take part in triathlon events, and have much more time for the family. I represented Great Britain in my age group at the European Long Distance Triathlon Champs in Holland in 2014.
Why I decided to stop smoking
In 2006 my doctor said my cholesterol was really high and I either had to lose weight, give up smoking, or both. From my Army days as a Physical Training Instructor I knew it would be hard to go back to the gym, so I decided to give up smoking instead.
How I quit
I joined a Quit4Life group at Andover Hospital and found the support of the group invaluable. People were from all walks of life. We became friends and all had different stories to tell. We were all going through the same thing and it was a really good group so there was a social aspect to the meetings; we became quite close.
Although I found it hard to begin with I was determined to succeed. I felt stubborn and it became a personal fight. My kids were brilliant - they made a monthly tick chart and at the end of each day they put great big ticks on it and told me how well I had done. They also added up how many roll ups I had done without each day. By the end of the month it was in the thousands.
The benefits since quitting
As I started to feel healthier I began to enjoy exercising again and as my fitness improved at the gym I have progressed from short distance running to major triathlon events.
Since giving up smoking my cholesterol level has reduced from a dangerously high 7.2 to 2.6, well under the government's recommendation.
My wife Hilary has now taken up exercise after stopping smoking because of me. She has lost 18lbs and does work outs every day and runs 5k on a Saturday. My daughter, who smoked for a year at the age of 18, then followed. Although she put on some weight she stayed smoke free and has lost 3 stone of it in just 6 months.
Stopping smoking has changed all our lives entirely for the better, thanks to Quit4Life.