Slimming down from 20 stone has been life changing

Mark Terris and Alice Leadbetter

Mark Terris and Alice Leadbetter

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Just over a year ago, Mark Terris weighed 20 stone and did not feel good at all about himself. Today, he’s a svelte 13 and a half stone, he goes to the gym several times a day, exercises and eats healthily and is training to run the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May.

This transformation has come about because he saw an unflattering photograph of himself taken at Christmas 2012. ‘I thought I do not like the look of myself and should do something about it,’ said the 25-year-old.

He was into sport anyway, he said, and he signed up to do a series of physical challenges such as Tough Mann and Nine Lakes hike and the End to End. He also began visiting the gym at Friends Provident International in Castletown, where he works.

There, he began talking to fellow employee Alice Leadbeater, 22 and she is now his girlfriend and is also doing the marathon with him.

They support each other in their fitness quest, he said. ‘I wake up 6.30am, I’m in the gym at 7.30am, it gets me up in the morning. Plus it helps that Alice is into it. She is sporty. When she was at Newcastle University [where she studied pharmacology] she was in the first football team.’

They decided to do the marathon in Edinburgh for several reasons. ‘I wanted to do some sort of running event. I was from Edinburgh, it is where I was born, and we decided it was best to go for that and it is the flattest marathon, if I’m doing an immense physical challenge it might as well be there. Because it is the flattest, it is also the fastest. We are going to have to watch the pace we are running at, we have to be careful not get carried away.

‘We would like to run it in under 3.5 hours. I ran a half marathon in one hour 45 minutes; if we can keep that pace, we will manage it.’

Following a healthy diet has been key to his success, he said. ‘Diet is the biggest part, it is 70 per cent of it, I allow myself one cheap meal – like a Chinese takeaway – once a week. I eat protein more than carbs. Also, chicken or turkey, and a lot of fruit and veg.’

They will raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, because both have personal experience of what happens when the heart fails.

‘Alice’s dad died of a heart attack in 2008 ... My dad Graeme had a triple bypass and my uncle died of a heart attack. The British Heart Foundation does fantastic work.’

Staff at FPI have been hugely supportive – morally and financially – and they recently held a dress down day and a series of physical challenges in the gym (it was Alice versus Mark’s team, Mark’s team won the trophy) raising £228 that goes in their marathon kitty. In 14 months he’s lost a third of his body weight, become fit, gained a girlfriend and has even been promoted at work, his story is driven by sheer determination and it is inspiring.

He said: ‘I could have just got fed up and thought there’s no way of turning this round.

‘It has helped my work, my life, my concentration levels are better and I work harder. The way I think about it is as soon as I think about not bothering it will spiral into I cannot be bothered.

‘Some mornings I get up and I think about where I was, that motivates me enough. Life’s completely turned around for me. I’ve even been promoted since.’

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