A FATHER-of-two from Cwmbran has shed more than eight stone in weight in two years after he noticed he only just fit in an aeroplane seat.

Chris O’Brien, who was 22 stone 4lbs at his heaviest and had a body mass index of 41 (a healthy BMI is between 20 and 25), can now run a half-marathon in one hour 40 minutes, which is exactly what he did at Newport’s Half Marathon on the weekend.

The 6ft 2ins Llanwern Steelworks process specialist, who now weighs 13 stone 9lbs, realised it was time to make a change to his diet and lifestyle when the family boarded a plane for a family holiday in Tenerife at Easter 2012.

“Me and the seat were becoming too much at one,” laughed Mr O’Brien, 40, who despite his weight, did not feel unhealthy at the time because his job required him to run around the steelworks.

“It was a little trigger in my mind. I hadn’t run for years but I joined a gym and found that running was the quickest way of burning calories.

“Then I realised I was paying £30 a month to run, so started running on the roads.”

By cutting his daily calories from 3,000 to around 1,200, ditching the weekly office curry lunch and alcohol, as well as plotting a three-mile walking route around Fairwater, Mr O’Brien lost seven stone in seven-and-a-half months, and soon extended his route to a five-and-a-half mile run, five times a week.

“We eat really well at home, I can’t sit here and say I used to have four burgers for lunch and two pizzas for tea,” said Mr O’Brien, who lives with wife Vicky and their daughters Beth, 12, and Sophie, 10.

“But if we had spaghetti it would be a big bowl full, with a couple of glasses of wine and garlic bread, and at work I couldn’t say no to a chocolate digestive.

“We got smaller plates and cut every meal in half. I haven’t had alcohol in 12 months after I realised that 300 calories was hard work for me to burn. Another tip is not finishing the kids’ meals.”

A weight loss challenge with co-worker Mark Elliott started Mr O’Brien on his slimming journey and as a result his waist size has dropped from 46ins to 34ins, meaning five bin bags full of clothes which no longer fit going to the charity shop.

“I will never need those XXXL T-shirts again,” he said. “It wasn’t until I lost the weight that I realised how unfit I was. I used to think ‘this is the way I am’. But I’m not going back there, it’s new Chris.”


Breakfast - A big bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (70-80g) with milk

Lunch - Cheese sandwiches with crisps and a chocolate bar

Dinner - Large helping of spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread; a few glasses of wine; cake for pudding

Snacks - Chocolate digestives at work


Breakfast - Porridge and a banana

Lunch - Salad

Dinner - Similar to before but a portion half the size; water or tea; fruit and yoghurt for pudding

Snacks - Fresh fruit