Cathal’s half the man he used to be after laying waste to 20 stone

CATHAL O’SHEA lost more than half his original body weight in the past year – a massive 20 stone.

The father of three, who once weighed 35 stone, was reduced to washing himself on a beach because the shower cubicle in his hotel room was not big enough.

Mr O’Shea, 36, an auctioneer from Belgooly, Co Cork, has now reached his target weight of 14.5 stone through hard work, the support of his wife, Cara, family and close friends.

“I still get a fright when I see what I once looked like,” said Mr O’Shea, who attended the Motivation Weight Management Clinic in Carrigaline, Co Cork.

Quite active when he was younger, he let himself go when his father died suddenly from a massive heart attack at 45 years of age.

“I used to be into sports but took a back track and just lost interest. My father was fit and healthy and I just could not see the point of a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Mr O’Shea, a well-known community activist, let his hectic unhealthy lifestyle take over.

He took on the roles of chairman of the Kinsale Vintage Car Club, chairman of Belgooly GAA club, chairman of Belgooly Community Hall committee and he was also heavily involved in the Tidy Villages competition.

He did not suffer from high cholesterol or blood pressure but was finding it difficult to sleep and was becoming depressed.

“I was just eating too much and, when I did go out for a drink I could easily sink 12 pints and then would come home and eat again,” said Mr O’Shea.

In September 2008 he decided he needed help and called the Motivation Weight Management Clinic. A commercial scales was needed to weigh him.

He lost 10 stone after completing the first 20-week programme and signed up for two more.

Mr O’Shea is not allowed to drink alcohol and has to stick to a strict diet. He now happily spends a night in the pub sipping sparkling water or black tea.

He said being grossly overweight was like having a disability because he had to think ahead all the time.

There were restaurants and pubs he knew he could not go into and he had to be extra careful about parking his car so he had enough space to get in and out of the vehicle.

A real low point was when he and his wife stayed in a hotel in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry, and he found he was not able to fit into the shower cubicle. “I had to wash myself on the beach every morning,” he recalled.

The weight seemed to creep up on him. “I did lose five stone three years ago for charity but it just piled on again,” he said.

Asked how he turned his life around, Mr O’Shea said he just changed his lifestyle and eating habits. “While I am back to playing sports again, I am not out running 10 miles every day at 6am because you could not keep that up for the rest of your life,” he said.

He now wanted to help other people in the same situation as him. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a way out.”

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