A MAN who ‘turned his life around’ after losing weight is urging others to do the same by joining slimming classes.

Kevin Butler, 57, said since losing six stone he no longer has to take drugs to manage his diabetes.

He is backing new NHS guidelines to ‘lose a little and keep it off’ for life.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) wants overweight people sent to slimming classes with the aim of a three per cent weight loss.

Mr Butler, of Morcombelake, said slimming classes were ‘crucial’ in helping him lose weight.

He said: “I went to my doctor and was given one free session, but when I appealed I was given more.

“It makes sense because it’s actually cheaper to send someone to slimming classes than provide them with drugs such as insulin for diabetes.”

Mr Butler was recently awarded the Slimming World Man of the Year in Lyme Regis.

He added: “When I first started to lose weight I was given a gym membership, but I was too overweight to exercise.

“I honestly thought my life was over but now I have a completely new lease of life.”

At 22 stone, Mr Butler said his ‘lightbulb moment’ came when he collapsed and ended up in hospital 15 months ago.

He said: “I was in the waiting room of the diabetic clinic at Dorchester and there were all these people with complications associated with the disease, for example having to have their foot amputated.

“I realised I had to do something.”

With the support of his partner and new friends at slimming classes, he began to eat healthier meals.

Now weighing under 16 stone, his health problems have improved.

He is also a keen horse rider, after not having ridden for 30 years.

Mr Butler said: “It can be quite daunting when you’re a big bloke and you walk into a room full of women.

“But everyone was so welcoming. The following week I went along and they welcomed me like a long-lost friend.”

He added: “When you get a bit older you might think that it’s too late if you’ve let yourself go. But if I can do it, anyone can.

“It’s never too late to turn your life around.”