A BRADFORD man who once weighed in at more than 20 stone has spoken of his incredible weight loss journey - and his mission to help others.

Now a svelte 12 stone, Mohammed Suleman's lifestyle is a far cry from what it once was, when he tipped the scales at 22 stone.

Takeaways, biscuits, crisps, chips, chocolate had all taken their toll since childhood and Mohammed, 35, from Lidget Green, knew he needed to make a change.

The turning point came back in 2010, when Mohammed went to buy an outfit for a family wedding.

Having to resort to a specialist store, he was shocked to find he had a 52-inch waist - he'd been squeezing himself into 44-46-inch clothes - and was further pushed to make a change when he saw himself "walking like a duck" on the wedding video.

"I thought 'this can't be happening'," he said.

He also suffered an embarrassing situation where he'd gone on a trip to a theme park, only to find the barrier wouldn't click in because of his size and he had to get off.

Mohammed, who is now married and has a two-year-old daughter, began a new healthy eating and gym regime, managing to lose the pounds he had piled on over the years.

He said: "At first, it was hard, it was a struggle. Then when I lost the first stone, that motivated me. I looked forward to going to the gym - you feel better about yourself."

Mohammed, who is now a 'Living Well' champion and works at the Shipley-based Health Action Local Engagement (HALE) charity, which promotes healthy living across a range of different areas, believes more needs to be done around education and the number of takeaways.

"People just don't know about what they are eating - people don't cook at home anymore,"said Mohammed, who wants to empower people through his work.

A recent report revealed obesity rates for Bradford's adults and children is on the rise. The Living Well programme has been developed to make it easier for people to live a healthy lifestyle, particularly through businesses, schools and food retailers.

Speaking about the issue in Bradford, Mohammed said: "There doesn’t seem to be any platform where people like myself can use their lived experience to influence change and bridge the gap between what communities are saying and what commissioners are hearing.

"I want to utilise my experience to influence not only individuals but also service providers and decision makers. In the current climate obesity rates within Bradford will continue to grow especially within BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) communities whose voices are seldom heard.

"We all know the barriers to why people won’t engage. I think it’s time we asked people 'what would motivate you to change?' This is the approach I use when engaging with service users in order to empower them to make changes to promote health and wellbeing."

Through his work as a community connector with HALE, Mohammed says he has had both individuals request advice on how to cook healthy food, but also from community hubs like mosques. And his advice? If you set your mind to it, anything is possible and those little changes can go a long way.