HE used to be a gym phobe now he’s a fitness fanatic!

For Charlie Bosch has lost nearly eight stone in the space of 45 weeks.

At his heaviest the 45-year-old shift worker from Bearwood, close to the Poole and Bournemouth border, tipped the scales at just over 26 stone.

“I have always been a big guy – I’m 6ft 2ins tall – and I started putting the weight on when I was 16. I just loved food – particularly chocolate – and takeaways.

“I always used to make a joke about my size before anyone else could. But although I tried to laugh about it, inside it hurt.”

Eventually Charlie had enough of people’s comments and decided to take action.

“The final straw was when I went to the canteen at work and when I sat down I realised my stomach was on the table!

“I also needed to buy some new jeans – but the nearest place where I could buy a pair was near London and they cost £100.”

Charlie’s wife was attending a Slimming World group in Kinson run by local consultant Hilla Green so he decided to join her.

“I almost didn’t get out of the car that first time because I felt embarrassed not just for myself, but for my wife too,” he explains.

But despite being the only man in the group Charlie started to enjoy it.

“The support from everyone is great! Being able to share with people who understand what you are going through – physically and emotionally – is a big help.”

Charlie adds: “The only hobby I had before was watching TV as I never felt confident enough to go out and do things. I became more and more withdrawn and I hated myself.

“Since losing the weight I love going out and exercising. I go to the gym at least five times a week – sometimes twice a day. I just wish I’d started this ages ago!”

l Hilla Green runs two Slimming World classes at 7pm on Monday night at Kinson Primary Schoool and also Thursday at 5.30pm, and 7.30pm in Bearwood Community Centre.