PINCHBECK minister the Rev Tony Kinnersley is virtually half the man he was after losing a staggering 11 stones in 11 months.
Mr Kinnersley (47) has shunned all regular meals since February last year after going on the Lighter Life 500 calorie a day diet and eating nothing but nutrient-rich ‘food packs’.
Birthdays, holidays, weddings and even Christmas came and went without him touching a morsel.
His 23st 2lbs frame has shrunk to 12st 2lbs and he intends to lose another stone before starting a gradual return to normal food.
Mr Kinnersley’s diet was prompted by a back problem which can’t be helped by doctors until he hits his normal BMI (body mass index) of 25, which he is on target to do any time now.
Previously his BMI was 52, a figure considered ‘morbidly obese’.
His rapid weight loss has been done under the guidance of his GP and the Lighter Life programme – which costs £70 a week – includes counselling.
Mr Kinnersley said: “I have to be monitored by the doctor and she’s absolutely delighted.”
One drawback of changing shape so quickly is a constant need for new clothes.
Mr Kinnersley said: “When you are in transition you end up buying a pair of trousers that fit you for about three to four weeks.”
He’s lost a mighty 20 inches from his former 48-inch waist but he’s finding it difficult to catch up in his own mind with his rapidly dwindling figure.
In August he and wife Nancy flew to Italy to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary – and the flight was a first.
Mr Kinnersley said: “I have always had to ask for a seat belt extension which, although the cabin crew are always nice about it, is quite humiliating. This time I didn’t need one.
“I feel much more confident, I think, but I am still getting used to seeing myself like this.
“I just walk down the hall sometimes and catch a glimpse in the mirror and I suddenly remember I have lost weight – or I go into a cafe and I will squeeze into a small corner rather than having to move things out of the way so I can sit down.”
More than a year on Lighter Life costs more than £3,500 but Mr Kinnersley felt it was a safer and healthier alternative to a gastric band.
He started to become overweight during an illness some 20 years ago and says the medication he took then helped pile on the pounds.
Mr Kinnersley said: “I didn’t eat big meals. I used to snack constantly, that was my downfall.”
The self-confessed ‘cheese-aholic’ has his diet food packs at regular meal times – things like chilli or shepherds’s pie that you add water to – and will stick to the routine of eating only at meal times when he returns to conventional food.
He has tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World many times but fell off the wagon.
Mr Kinnersley said: “This Lighter Life doesn’t suit everybody because you are totally locked into it. With Weight Watchers and Slimming World you can have a day off – you can’t have a day off with this, for one thing you would become unwell because you have got out of the habit of eating conventional food.”
His children Josh (23) and Sarah (20) have demanded step-by-step accounts on his progress and he texts them weekly stats on weight loss.
Wife Nancy said: “I think it’s fantastic. I just can’t imagine how he’s done it.
“He has been very focused. He’s kept to it absolutely and we have had some big events, birthdays, weddings and holidays.”