Saffron Walden man sheds nearly 7 and a half stone after plane embarrassment

Weight loser Josh Riccio

Weight loser Josh Riccio - Credit: Archant

A Saffron Walden man is now nearly 7 and a half stone lighter after an embarrasing incident on an aeroplane inspired him to lose weight.

Weight loser Josh Riccio

Weight loser Josh Riccio - Credit: Archant

Josh Riccio, 23, of Chaters Hill, joined the town’s Slimming World group in April, and within 32 weeks shed 7st 6lbs to take him from 25st 6lbs down to 18st.

Josh, whose dad owns Riccio Hair Design in Walden, said there were several reasons why he decided to slim down, although what happened on a EasyJet flight to Naples, Italy for his cousin’s wedding in September 2014 was the final straw.

He said: “A lot of my family were on the flight to attend the wedding. As soon as I sat down I realised the seat belt wasn’t big enough to go around me. I had to swap seats with my auntie, who had an extended seat belt.

“I felt ashamed, embarrased and humilated to have to do that in front of family members and other people on the plane. My mum was also very upset and only recently told me that it was because she saw the face of the man I was sitting next to. She said he looked on in disgust as I swapped seats.

Weight loser Josh Riccio

Weight loser Josh Riccio - Credit: Archant

“She didn’t tell me at the time, as she thought it might send me over the edge.”

Josh was also advised to lose weight by doctors after he was tested for diabetes when two insect bites swelled up on his leg.

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He said: “They told me I had to lose weight now otherwise I was putting myself at serious risk of developing diabetes. I had the tests and they came back negative but I thought ‘I’ve got to act now’. I was also experiencing name calling and that type of thing so I needed to do it.”

The 23-year-old has gone from a 50-54 inch waist size to a 36-38 as well as 4XL tops to an XL or L, and no longer needs to buy his clothes from specialist online retailers.

Josh said he achieved the weight loss through playing football, walking and sticking to the Slimming World diet.

He said: “I’ve had to get a whole new wardrobe as I achieved my weight target by December 23. I can’t thank my family and friends enough for all their suppport during the process, I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.

“I am now playing football for a team - Saffron Walden Crocus - and I’m about to get a gym membership to start toning up in the new year.”