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Rayleigh man drops 11 stone by walking
6:30am Friday 6th December 2013 in Southend
A 24-STONE man walked off almost half his body weight in a battle to overcome his sweet tooth.
Mike Cope, 30, from Rayleigh, has seen his weight plummet to just under 13 stone since he started to walk regularly.
On average, Mr Cope will do more than 50 miles a week, including at least three 14-mile round trips to see his mum in Southend.
For every hour Mr Cope walks, he burns off around 350 calories, so his walks are determined by what treats he has eaten the previous day. A 700-calorie treat will be balanced out with at least a two-hour walk the following day.
Mr Cope blames his sweet treat weakness on an addictive personality he inherited from his dad, Mick, 55.
During his heaviest days, Mr Cope, who suffers from a mild learning disability and can often have trouble communicating with people verbally, says he could put on six pounds in a night after scoffing cakes, cookies and crisps.
His dad said: “If he hits his target weight one day, he’ll probably have a lie-in and not do a walk.
“The benefit of walking is that it’s measurable. When Mike was big we signed him up to the gym, but when he got on the treadmill he just stood on the side of the machine.
“He finds doing the walking is worth the luxury of having a treat – it’s his trade-off.”
Mr Cope works in Asda in Rayleigh, and said work can sometimes be a struggle when the smell of the bakery wafts around the store.
Mr Cope’s story has caught the imagination of residents after a picture was posted on the popular Rayleigh community Facebook page.
Within days, there had been more than 1,000 likes and nearly 200 messages of support.
His dad said: “The response made me cry – I just blubbed. It was lovely to see how people see Mike. It was a real pleasure.”
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