A Highland councillor is half the man he used to be – and he’s delighted about it.
Andrew Jarvie, member for Inverness South, has lost more than 10st this year, eight of which came off during lockdown.
Having lost more than 30 inches across his chest, waist and neck, he says he still has a bit more to go.
Mr Jarvie, 29, struggled with his weight since suffering pneumonia, kidney failure and sepsis in 2012.
An undiagnosed severely bulging disc had caused him to lose the feeling in his left leg, and Andrew now has only one working leg and has to use a wheelchair most of the time.
Steroid treatment for his illness caused his weight to balloon, but his problems with food began much earlier.
Andrew was born in Louisiana and lived there until he was around 7, when his parents returned to Inverness.
Never a fan of breakfast, he would often go all day without food when his teacher confiscated his lunch for bad behaviour at primary school.
A pattern developed where Andrew would skip breakfast and lunch, and then go overboard at around 4 or 5pm when he finally got round to eating.
By the time of his critical illness, Andrew weighed almost 19 stone, but at 6’4”, it didn’t really show.
As time went on, his weight ballooned to 26st, and Andrew says he fears it may have been as high as 27st at one point.
He took a gradual approach to tackling it after becoming a councillor in 2017, and this March, he weighed in at almost 24st.
Using lockdown to focus, he has now dropped a further eight stone.
So how did he do it?
Andrew turned to the app My Fitness Pal.
He figured out what his basal metabolic rate is – that’s how many calories he should eat a day to maintain his current weight- then slashed the calories right back to 1,400 a day.
Not just any old calories, Andrew worked out meals with the ratio 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat.
He found out the nutrition value of everything before accepting it on his plate, initially weighing food to the gram.
“I’m super-competitive with myself, “ he said. “I didn’t follow any fad diets, and had at least four portions of fruit and veg a day.
“I made some big changes also which everyone can do.
“Instead of chugging back a litre and a half of milk in the morning, I replaced it with water.
“I also used to eat an industrial amount of bread, which I’ve replaced with the high-fibre, high protein type.
“I found out that biscuits really mount up the calories. No-one ever stops at one.
“I found out that gin and tonic has far less calories than vodka and coke.
“I can absorb quite a lot of alcohol, and that could include two litres of coke with vodka on a night out- a shocking 2,000 calories.”
It goes without saying the Andrew spurns confectionery and added sugar, but he says he still enjoys nice things.
“I’m not into kale smoothies. I’ll maybe enjoy a small takeaway occasionally, and a small glass of wine.
“Overall anyone can make these changes.”
He recommends logging your food intake for a week and seeing where you can make changes.
Andrew also drinks up to 10 pints of water a day, something he thinks has warded off slack skin as his weight dropped.
Although he’s now within the healthy weight range, Andrew still wants to get his weight down to the lower end of that range, at around 11.5 stone, after which he will go on maintenance calories.
He looks at his old favourite purple shirt, twice his width now, and says he can hardly believe he was that size.
“I think I look OK now, and confidence is the biggest thing about this as I’ve been annoyed at being fat for years.
“Now I have a nice problem- wardrobe shopping.
“But I’m having issues finding clothes small enough now, after being a 4 or 5XL.”