A man who lost 20 stone in 12 months is enjoying a new lease of life, after getting an ‘amazing’ girlfriend.
Darren ‘Dibsy’ McClintock lost half of his entire body mass after embarking on a weight loss journey last year.
The 28-year-old’s no-nonsense personal trainer banned Dibsy from local takeaways, in a bid to turn his life around after doctors warned he was ‘eating himself to death’.
He has now revealed he’s in a relationship with a trainee nurse called Jade, 28, who got in touch with him after following his progress online.
The pair exchanged messages over Facebook before going on their first date, at a bowling alley, in August and becoming an ‘official’ couple a month later.
Dibsy said: ‘Jade is such an amazing girl. She’s so caring and is really supportive of my weight loss and what I’m doing.
‘The two of us just click and get on so well.
‘It’s great to have someone like that in my life – 18 months ago I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.’
He added: ‘I’m definitely punching above my weight.’
Dibsy said Jade, who’s also from Middlesbrough, first messaged him over Facebook last October, right at the start of his weight loss journey, to say good luck.
‘It was nice to get the message and I replied saying thank you but I didn’t think much else of it,’ he said.
Jade reached out for a second time in July, when Dibsy conquered Ben Nevis alongside personal trainer Mike Hind for charity.
He added: ‘After Jade messaged me again we started chatting properly and got on really well so exchanged numbers.’
Within a few days the pair arranged to meet face-to-face and they went for a walk at a nearby beauty spot, which coincidentally is where Dibsy spread his dad’s ashes.
‘When she said she wanted to go there I knew it was meant to be,’ he said.
Their first proper date was at a bowling alley in August and just over a month later the pair made their relationship ‘official’.
Dibsy said he was able to get on so well with Jade in the early stages because of a renewed self-confidence which has come about as a result of the weight loss.
‘My mindset now is completely different to how it was 18 months ago,’ he explained.
‘Before I wouldn’t have tried anything new because I was scared about what people would think of me.
‘But now I feel comfortable in my own skin and like I can just be myself, it’s an incredible turnaround.
‘I’m really happy now.’
Much of the Middlesborough man’s astounding success is down to personal trainer Mike Hind, who has been with Dibsy every step of the way.
He said: ‘When Dibsy and I first started working together I asked him what he wanted to achieve.
‘He told me he wanted to a girl to settle down with, just like all his friends have.
‘To see him achieve that now after putting so much work in is incredible, I’m so happy for him.
‘Dibsy and Jade make a great couple.
‘It just goes to show what eating well and keeping fit can do for you, it’s completely turned his life around.’
Dibsy suffered a setback last month when an irregular heartbeat, which he had dealt with previously, returned and sidelined him from the gym.
He underwent an operation to fix the problem last week and, miraculously, he is already back on the treadmill continuing his weight loss journey.
Dibsy now has his sights set on the new year, when he plans to have three surgeries to remove excess skin which has been left as a result of the weight loss.
Dibsy added: ‘It’s onward and upward from here.’
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