Justin Willoughby, a man who lost 600 pounds through diet and exercise and currently perhaps the most famous former fat man in the world, featured me as a Transformation Tuesday post on his website:

Losing weight WITH THE OUTDOORS! Meet Neil Brennen. #TransformationTuesday

Justin mentions that we met. And we’ve met more than once; I attended worship services at Open Arms Community Church in Bradford, where Justin is a youth pastor, and he introduced me before I made my public speaking debut at the launch of this website. If you’ve read the Huffington Post article or seen the Today interview you might be wondering, “that’s the face he shows the media. What is he REALLY like?”

Well, I hate to disappoint the cynical, but Justin is the same man in person that he was on Today. He’s both transparent about his weight loss and fascinated with other people’s weight loss journey. I admit I was surprised that a man who lost four times the number of pounds I did wanted to know about me. I shouldn’t have been. Going through the hell of super obesity makes you want to see other people escape too. It motivates me, and it motivates Justin. My hell wasn’t his hell, and I’m glad of it, but still, we were both there.

As for celebrity, he takes that lightly. And he doesn’t claim to be perfect, which is refreshing in the world of weight loss. For instance, he wrote on his Facebook wall that he ate badly while in New York for the Today taping, but was getting back on the routine once he was home in Bradford. As I wrote, that’s Justin’s transparency in action. When was the last time a personal trainer admitted to such a thing?

Anyway I’m pleased to have become friends with Justin, and I’m flattered he finds my weight loss story impressive. Please visit the link above and read it.