A chocoholic who ballooned to 26 stone (364 pounds) gorging on 35 Double Deckers a week has shed more than half his bodyweight in just a year to become a professional boxer.
Tobie Vermeire, 31, managed to lose 12 stone (168 pounds) in 12 months after taking up the sport in a bid to battle a food addiction which was causing him to “eat himself to death.”
The insurance broker had tipped the scales at 26 stone after years of an unhealthy diet which saw him consuming a whopping 10,000 calories a day.
Tobie would scoff down two or three pizzas, a full English breakfast and Chinese takeout every day with multiple chocolate bars as a snack in between.
At his heaviest, he struggled to put on his own socks or walk up a flight of stairs and squeezed into XXXL clothes with a 46-inch waist.
Tobie, of Bromyard, Herefordshire, England, first decided to turn his life around in 2020 after fearing he could be heading for an early grave.
Having always dreamed of being a boxer, he ditched his ‘horrendous’ diet and focused on losing weight naturally by stepping into the gym and boxing ring.
He now weighs 14-and-a-half stone (203 pounds) and has just been granted his pro boxing license following three years of hard work and dedication.
Tobie is now looking to secure his maiden professional bout later this year, eying up a potential Midlands and national title at cruiserweight level.
“The reason I lost all this weight is that I was scared of dying. I had to come to terms with the fact I had an addiction to food,” said Tobie about his weight loss.
“I’ve always loved boxing. When I was overweight I’d be sat there eating my Ben and Jerry’s ice cream watching the boxing. These guys were my heroes.
“But my heroes are now on the same level as me, I’m one of them.
“I also used to watch boxing with my dad who died when I was 15. It was a way for us to bond, and he always said I would have been heavyweight champion of the world.
“Well now I want to do that and make him proud.”
Tobie was always an active sportsman growing up, playing football, rugby and cricket but piled on the pounds after leaving school at 16.
He said he knew he had to do something about his lifestyle after realizing he had an addiction to food, which involved washing meals down with Pringles, ice-cream and chocolate.
He added: “I played rugby at a good level when I was younger.I was still playing rugby when I was big. But I really needed that big kick in the backside.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t pull my socks up or walk up a flight of stairs.
“For breakfast I’d have a big breakfast baguette, a full English in a baguette. At 11 A.M. I’d have a four pack of chocolate bars or a doughnut for a snack.
“At lunch I’d have two Dominos pizzas and snacks from the shops which would be sweets or Pringles.
“Then I’d come home and have a Chinese or a pizza. I’d eat a lot of takeaways then a tub of Ben and Jerry’s every evening and a chocolate bar.
“It was the standard really. To me, it was the norm.
“I had to treat it like a drug addition. I had to retrain my mind.
“I’m an insurance broker by trade, so the fitness plan was like my job. I did it in a way I could understand and which made it possible to achieve.
“Little steps had to be taken to achieve a greater goal.”
Tobie’s love of boxing was his main motivator for his weight loss, wanting to get in shape so that he could fight alongside athletes he admired.
He now trains three times a day, six days a week and currently has ten amateur bouts under his belt.
He’s already managed to chalk up several victories but is now ready to challenge at a higher level following his dramatic weight loss.
Tobie added: “That’s what kept me driven every day, dreaming of stepping into the ring.
“I started out in the amateurs, fighting in UK tournaments, as well as in Sweden. My aim, when I was 26 stone, was to become a pro boxer within three years.
“That was the catalyst and what helped me commit to it. I had to lose all the weight, while also learning one of the toughest sports in the world. I had to learn how to box.
“The levels in amateur boxing are huge. I was boxing GB prospects after just a few fights.
“I was fighting guys who had been doing it for years, with 50 bouts under their belts.
“You’ve got to be accountable in boxing for your training and if you don’t work hard you’ll get hurt because the weight I fight at they’re big strong men.
“I’m blessed, I’ve got long arms. I can jab with the big lads. I’m orthodox, a pressure fighter. I’ve got an excellent engine on me.
“But if I lose on a Saturday, I’m back in the gym on Monday.
“I want to enjoy my journey but also get something to put on my mantelpiece.
“I just want to do well and climb as far as I can. I’m quite late to the game, so I’m not expecting miracles.
“I’m not going to become the best boxer in the world, but I want to go as far as my talent will take me.
“It would be rude not to give it my best shot after the weight loss.”
Tobie’s prior diet consisted of high carbs that included bread and dairy. Today, his diet consists small snack portions, vegetables, and protein.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker