Updated: Apr 24
Damien Martin still remembers what a struggle it was to lose more than 100kg. The 35-year-old manager from Manurewa almost halved his weight from 215kg to 113kg, losing an astonishing 102kg - a shade more than the weight of All Black Richard Kahui.
Mr Martin's mother Jean died in 2001 aged 48 from obesity-related illnesses but for several years his own efforts to lose weight were futile. Four years ago, he decided "enough was enough".
Mr Martin said at his peak weight he gave no thought to what he was eating, and he had since realised about 75 per cent of losing weight is down to diet. "Definitely the more you know about what you are eating, the better off you are.
David Hill, a nutritionist that runs the weight-loss program Mr Martin took up, also backed the need for education, such as a list of foods to avoid. "There's lots and lots of people out there who have very limited information about what is a healthy diet, or else it's just not registering with them. "Food trumps exercise ... If [people who start an exercise programme] haven't corrected their diet the weight loss benefits of the exercise can get easily cancelled out," Mr Hill said.
Before and after shot of Damien Martin who lost over 100kg of weight. Photo / Supplied/Brett Phibbs