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Losing Weight: Six Months to Save a Life

Steve, Gemma and Richard attempt to lose weight and save their lives in six months. Photo: ITV / Tonight

Two in three adults are overweight or obese, and obesity is now the second largest cause of cancer in the UK.

Over the course of six months, Tonight has followed three people who are severely obese and documented their successes and failures as they try to lose weight and in turn get themselves out of the health danger zone.

Monitored by a specialist team based from Leeds Beckett University - Carol, a dietician, James, a psychologist and Paul, who is a professor of exercise - will their expert guidance and sheer hard work and determination from our trio see them able to save their lives?

Fundamentally, obesity kills if it's not addressed.

– Professor Paul Gately
Credit: ITV / Tonight

Steve, 61
Starting weight: 20 stone 10 pounds

Steve lives at home in Chester-le-Street with his wife, Stella and son, Harry. Steve’s health came to crisis point just a few months ago when he suffered a huge stroke.

That was as close as they've seen me to not coming back home. And I felt that, and I felt it massively.

– Steve

Steve, who has type 2 diabetes, admits that he has ignored doctors warnings about the condition of his health for 20 years.

With a love of kebabs - eating around 2-3 calorie packed takeaways with his family a week - Steve overall, has a poor diet and a lifetime of bad habits. Will he able to take on the challenge, change his health and ultimately save his life?

Credit: ITV / Tonight

Gemma, 30
Starting weight: 22 stone

Taxi driver, Gemma lives in Warrington with her husband, Mike. Her job often means she’s eating at odd times and she can find herself pulling up to a drive-through.

Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago, she takes metformin which helps to lower blood sugar levels and also helps with fertility - as Gemma and Mike are desperate to become parents.

Gemma has been told to lose weight in order to qualify for fertility treatment.

It's just a horrible, horrible feeling. To know that you're the reason that you can’t make your husband a dad.

– Gemma

With Gemma having strong motivation for wanting to lose weight and improve her health, will her journey be plain sailing or will she hit bumps in the road?

Credit: ITV / Tonight

Richard, 29
Starting weight: 18 stone, 11 pounds

Call centre worker and self confessed ‘weekend offender’ is Richard, who lives at home with his step-dad and mum, Kath.

Richard, like many across the UK, is a typical yo-yo dieter with nights out drinking not helping with his weight loss. But that’s not the only reason for Richard’s current weight.

I am such a secret eater, I’ll go down to the cupboard to get something to eat like a packet of crisps, I’ll have some biscuits with it. Oh there's some fizzy pop, and I wouldn't ever behave like that in front of other people so it is a secret eat.

– Richard

Can Richard tone down his love of partying and booze for a healthier, more sustainable way of life whilst still being a social butterfly?

All three have their own reasons for wanting to lose weight. But having goals isn’t always the best answer to sustainable weight loss...

Dr James Roast shows that losing weight is as much a mental obstacle as a physical one. Credit: ITV / Tonight

When they’re looking to lose their weight, there needs to be more of a understanding the purpose of why not just a goal orientated approach, they’re losing weight because they want to wear a new dress or buy a new suit for a wedding.

It very much is about seeing past that process as well and that prevents that yo-yoing you know so someone sees that actually they’re losing weight because it improves their life in in a number of ways, so they feel fitter and healthier and happier.

– Dr James Roast, psychologist

To find out how much weight Steve, Gemma and Richard manage to lose over the course of six months, watch the first of two episodes of Losing Weight: Six Months to Save a Life on Thursday 3rd January on ITV at 7:30pm.

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