A BUSINESSMAN has lost almost a THIRD of his body weight — after ditching crisps, pies and fry-ups.

Marco Alessi ballooned up to 21 stones last Christmas after routinely guzzling down pasties, pizzas, chocolate and takeaways.

The 49-year-old, who works in Helmshore, admitted: "Food was everything to me."

But he now says he has become an 'obsessive health freak', eating grilled chicken, salad, vegetables and fruit and running 24 miles every week.

He now weighs 15 stones and is hoping to lose another two-and-a-half stones.

He used to have a 46-inch waist but is now a 36 — while his shirt size has dropped from XXXXL to large.

Mr Alessi, who has worked as a business support officer in Helmshore for 26 years, added: "I wasn't very well at Christmas. I'd had Type 2 diabetes for a few years and I'd been burying my head in the sand.

"I couldn't walk properly, I was always out of breath and I was overeating all the wrong things."

The dad-of-two has now committed to doing the Great North Run in Newcastle in September and has already completed three 10km races in preparation.

He added: "I thought I'd try to get fit and start running and it has gradually got better.

"I have been strong mentally and have done it through willpower more than anything. I have been strict with myself."

Mr Alessi has lost so much weight that people even ask him if he is ill.

He added: "I have changed completely. People are shocked when they see me for the first time in a while.

"I have had to give all my clothes away apart from my shoes and buy a new wardrobe."

He paid tribute to his wife, family and friends, who provide encouragement.

His ultimate target, although he will continue running afterwards, is to complete the Manchester marathon in April.

He said: "I'm a health freak now — and quite obsessive."

Mr Alessi is doing the Great North Run in aid of Rossendale Hospice and has already raised £1,300.

A spokesman for Rossendale Hospice said: "Charity challenges can help you achieve your goals. Marco Alessi is an inspiration."


Cooked breakfast, two bags of crisps mid-morning, pie, sandwich and another bag of crisps for lunch, chocolate and two cans of Diet Coke in the afternoon, a pasty on the way home, tea and then toast for supper.


Banana for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and grilled chicken and roasted veg for tea, with fruit and veg as snacks.