WHEN Joe Glancy's close friend passed away in his mid-thirties he wanted to lose weight to avoid something similar happening to him.

The Port dad changed his life after shedding an amazing five stones and is the new poster boy for Slimming World in Inverclyde.

Joe Glancy, 45, is the first male consultant for the group and he hopes his story will inspire other men to follow his lead.

The turning point for the EE worker was the sudden death of a close pal at the age of only 36.

He said: "I knew I was too heavy but then there was this bereavement.

"I think it was the shock of it all. I went to his funeral and he had a one-year-old daughter.

"It made me re-evaluate life. I've got two kids of my own and I want to be there for them."

Joe, of West Woodside Avenue, joined a class at Boglestone Community Centre, weighing in at 17 stones 10 lbs.

Within 11 months, he shed five stones.

Joe said: "It sounds strange, I wasn't eating a lot but all the wrong things at the wrong time.

"I used to skip breakfast, and eat gravy and chips at lunchtime and grab a pizza or a kebab on the way home at 7pm."

Now if he wants to have a curry or spaghetti bolognese, he makes it himself. He also eats more vegetables and fruit.

Joe is married to Elaine and they have a son Kenneth and daughter Emily, both 15.

He said: "I feel so much younger and fitter. As soon as my eyes open in the morning, I'm ready for the day."

He also no longer needs medication for high blood pressure and anxiety.

Joe also had gout in his knees, that has also vanished thanks to his weightloss. As well as diet, he now plays football and walks to maintain his trim physique.

Joe said: "I didn't exercise before because I was too embarrassed."

His once 44-inch waist has shrunk by a foot and his XXL tops have been replaced by ones of a medium size. He decided to become a Slimming World leader as everyone kept asking him how he lost the weight.

Joe said: "I thought I may as well go out and help other people. We currently support around 300 members between us locally and they have lost approximately 100 stone between them in January.

"We realise as members first and foremost, how it feels to be unhappy, how it can affect our mental health, relationships and people’s health in general. You don't need to diet to lose weight, there really is no need to feel hungry. Our plan is safe for everyone to do, whether male, female, diabetic, pregnant, gluten free, vegan or dairy intolerant.

"We are so excited to celebrate our #freefoodfestival in groups through February and look forward to welcoming even more new/returning members to our groups across Inverclyde to begin their journey to a healthier, happier future."