By Becca Husselbee
A wrestler who weighed a huge 30 stone turned his life around after a friend told him he didn’t want to have to carry his coffin.
Tom Fraser, 27, binged on takeaways as a way of coping with his mum’s terminal cancer diagnosis but has kicked the habit and lost an impressive 16 stone.
The student, from Gloucester, who previously wore a 54-inch waist in trousers, is now hoping his new and improved look will help kick-start his career as an up and coming wrestler.
Tom said: “When I was younger I was always bigger than people my age, at 17 I weighed about 19 stone.
“I was never happy with my weight but I would binge eat and it was just a vicious circle.
“If I went away I would panic that I might split my trousers because I was so big that I could never get the size I needed in a high street shop.
“I would sit and eat two large pizzas as well as ice cream and when I would go to McDonalds I would order two-quarter pounders, four double cheeseburgers, two milkshakes, two McFlurries and an apple pie and eat it in one sitting.
“I was constantly eating takeaways out of laziness.
“I also felt that being a bigger wrestler gave me more appeal because no one else was like me.”
Tom has been a wrestling fan from a young age but was inspired to give it a try when he saw a poster in a fish and chip shop in 2007, inviting people to train.
He became known as the Richter, and performed all over the county to crowds over 2,000 people but turned his life around when he was told by a concerned friend that he was dangerously overweight.
Tom said: “One of my best friends said to me ‘I’m a strong guy but I don’t want to have to carry your coffin’.
“It completely shocked me. I didn’t want to die early.”
Tom started his weight loss in 2013 and had managed to shed six stone before his mum, Ally, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and died passed away in January 2015.
He said: “Initially the shock of losing my mum caused me to start binge eating again and I started making excuses to not go to the gym.
“I gave up wrestling to help look after my mum and but I knew I need to make a change.
“She was so proud of what I had achieved and always came to watch me wrestle.
“She raised me and my brother alone and she was my best friend. I tried not to let it impact me as much as I could but it was horrible seeing her deteriorate.”
Tom was determined to lose the weight which could kill him and with diet and exercise and the help of a gastric sleeve, is now a healthy 14 stone.
He is now back wrestling and trains at least three times a week as well as playing football and has even become a vegetarian to help keep in shape.
He said: “What I eat has completely changed.
“I learned a lot more about nutrition and have cut out a lot of carbs and meat.
“Keeping fit has become my outlet.
“One thing I always wanted to do was to wear a suit because I was so big I could never go into a shop and buy one but as soon as I lost all the weight it was the first thing I bought.”
Tom used his inheritance to study Radiotherapy and Oncology at Birmingham City University after he was inspired by what his Mum had been through.
He said: “My mum was also a nurse and she saw radiographers every day when she was ill and I wanted to do that too.
“Though I’m pursuing this dream of being a wrestler, I also want to help those living with cancer, whether that’s through charity work or a full time radiography job.”