A BURNLEY slimmer transformed his life by losing five stones after realising he couldn’t tie his shoes without getting out of breath.

Dave Alexander, 52, has battled with his weight all of his life but he started to balloon when he retired from the police force and stopped playing rugby almost four years ago.

The dad-of-two has now reached his target weight of 15 stone 4lbs. two years after joining Slimming World weighing 20st 4lbs.

His achievement has also been recognised in a national slimming competition.

Dave, who is now a Consultant Slimmer at his own Rosegrove branch of Slimming World was shortlisted from 3,000 to be one of 28 people to battle it out for the title of Consultant Slimmer of the Year 2011.

Dave said: "I was absolutely overwhelmed, and very proud. The event was fantastic and even though I didn't win, I still got a certificate and a very nice bottle of champagne.

"I knew that I needed to stop stuffing my face with chocolate and peanuts, but I still eat a lot with Slimming World, I just eat and cook things slightly differently "I have almost reached my ideal weight now but am still following the diet, I just have a few more naughty treats."

The former police officer said his new slimline figure has had a massive effect on his life.

He said: “You don't realise what you couldn't do until you can do it. I even played rugby recently and I haven't done that for years, and I really enjoy being able to run around with my grandchildren."

Since Dave took over Rosegrove Slimming World he has seen his membership figures triple.

Dave said: "Membership has increased from 17 to 57, but I still want others to come along, particularly men.

“I think it's more daunting for men to join something like this, but I think having a male leader makes it easier. I have even organised a 'men's week', where if somebody brings a man with them they get their week free.

"The club has some really friendly people and it has developed into a really chatty group. For some it has become a social event as well as somewhere where they go to help weight loss."

The Rosegrove Slimming World group is held every Thursday at 5.30pm at Rosegrove Unity Working Men’s club.