Gedling grandfather cheated death after heart attack - and loses eight stone in weight
GRANDFATHER Charles Rouse will be playing Father Christmas today at a local primary school.
Previously he had been too fat to play the jolly old chap.
"I couldn't get into the costume before – but now I can," said Mr Rouse.
Being able to fit into the big Santa suit to delight pupils at his grandchildren's school, Stanhope Primary in Gedling, marks a significant milestone.
Book a table at Tonights STEAK NIGHT and get a FREE DRINK*View details
Come and join us tonight for Steak night and get a free pint or glass of house wine
*selected drinks ONLY
Redeem voucher for free drink or quote thisisnottingham when ordering
Contact: 0115 896 2165
Valid until: Tuesday, May 21 2013
Less than 18 months ago, Mr Rouse cheated death after a cardiac arrest.
Paramedics battled to save his life after the 64-year-old collapsed at his home in Gedling.
They were on the scene in just four minutes, taking over from Mr Rouse's son and daughter, who had been frantically trying to revive him, following instructions from a 999 operators.
Eight times the defibrillator failed to restart his heart – the ninth time it worked.
"They only do it ten times then stop. This has been a huge wake-up call," said Mr Rouse, a retired self-employed businessman.
For years his 25st frame had put a severe strain on his heart and being overweight triggered the cardiac arrest.
Since his brush with death, in June 2011, Mr Rouse has dramatically changed his lifestyle.
"I ate too much, drank too much, sat on my bum in the car too much and didn't exercise enough," he said.
"I was a devil for going into garages and buying crisps and two Mars Bars – because no one saw me doing it I didn't think the calories would count."
In the evenings he and his wife Pat would tuck into takeaways, processed food and big bars of chocolate.
"I was doing every wrong," he admitted.
After leaving hospital with a pacemaker, Mr Rouse suffered another two arrests in September and October.
Five months into his recovery, he vowed to change his life and decided to join a diet class.
"It was my idea to go. I said to my wife I was going and she said she'd come with me," said Mr Rouse.
He was one of only two men at Carla Brown's Slimming World class in Carlton but he didn't care being surrounded by women.
"We're all in the same boat and we're there to improve ourselves. There is a bond between us because of that fact," he said.
Over the last year, he has shed 8st and now weights 17st. He has lost ten inches from his 54in waist.
But he's not stopping there. His target is to lose another 2st by next March.
After selling his business, he now spends up to an hour each day meditating.
"I had some very bad habits such as eating when I wasn't hungry and eating for the sake of it. Through self hypnosis and meditating I taught myself not to do this," he said.
He spends 90 minutes each day working out at the gym and at weekends walks three miles on a paper round.
He has swapped his unhealthy takeaway habit for nutritious home-cooked dinners made from Sliming World recipes.
"I've just got Slimming World's One Pot Wonders cookery book. I've cooked spiced beef and red pepper stew and beef and bean hotpot bake.
"We eat fish twice a week. My favourite is smoked haddock risotto with a poached egg on top."
Fruit and vegetables rarely figured in his diet before. Now four shelves of his 6ft fridge are stacked with fresh greens, fruit and fat-free yoghurts.
"I have changed so much that I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I don't feel as though I'm on a diet," said Mr Rouse.
A former rugby player and referee, he had to give up the sport when he could no longer run but since he's slimmed down he hopes to referee once again.
Mr Rouse, of County Road, said: "I am a very lucky man. I do feel I have been given a second chance.
"I'm so grateful to all the paramedics, doctors and nurses. They have been fantastic.
"Every time I see my three children and seven grandchildren I feel happy that I am still here to enjoy being with them."
As well as playing Santa, Mr Rouse celebrated another achievement this month when he received a health award from Gedling Borough Council in the Changing Lifestyles category.
Have you got an amazing weight loss story? Call our newsdesk on 0115 9482000 or e-mail email@example.com