January resolution sees electrician gets his spark back after losing 5st and becoming a marathon man!
Electrician Dann Sullivan has lost more than 5st in a year after a nurse told him he was ‘obese’ – this January he’s in ‘sleek’ shape and training for a marathon.
The father-of-two, who started slimming exactly a year ago this week, says at his heaviest he struggled with his physical job and had to start playing in goal for his football team as he wasn’t fit enough to keep up with others on the pitch.
Now 30-year-old Dann feels like a new man after dropping 5st 2lbs and being named Slimming World’s Mr Sleek 2018. He’s also training for his first marathon and hopes his story will inspire other men to slim down too.
He says: “I’ve been an electrician for 13 years. Working in a male-dominated environment and being bigger you have to put up with a lot of banter about your size. I took it on the chin and laughed it off but on the inside I was really unhappy. Walking into Slimming World wasn’t easy; it was the best decision I’ve ever made though, and I’d encourage other men who want to lose weight not to dismiss slimming clubs as just for women.”
Dann, from Solihull, had been overweight from a young age and says he always felt like the ‘fat brother’ compared to his naturally slim sibling Matt. While Dann was always active, he says it was his unhealthy relationship with food that saw his weight yo-yo over the years: “I definitely took comfort in food and was never really happy with my weight. A soul-destroying moment for me came when I realised I wasn’t fit enough to run around on the football pitch and had to start playing in goal instead.
“At my heaviest I felt that I wasn’t as competent as I should be at work either, I couldn’t do jobs as quickly or as efficiently as my peers and I often felt nervous about fitting through hatches or into tight spaces. Every night I’d come home exhausted and in pain, especially my back.”
Dann, who lives with his wife and two daughters Emma, four, and one-year-old April, was given the motivation to make a change after a routine health check. Dann was told by a nurse that he was medically ‘obese’ and his size was putting his health at risk. The nurse offered him 12 weeks’ worth of Slimming World membership on the NHS via the Solihull Lighten Up referral scheme run by Gateway Family Services. The scheme sees people who live in Solihull offered, among other services, 12 weeks’ free access to a choice of weight-loss organisations.*
I’m proof that it is possible for a decision you make in January to change your life – mine did!
While Dann was initially reluctant to join a slimming club, his wife Rachel, 30, who was also offered the membership, immediately signed up to Slimming World. And a week later – after seven days of eating the same meals as Rachel – Dann discovered he’d lost 10lbs and was convinced enough to join a group himself.
He says: “Walking into that room was so daunting. I’ve never felt so embarrassed, nervous and ashamed. I was instantly put at ease though and I’ll never forget how warmly my Consultant Gemma smiled at me and how well she looked after me on that first morning. It sounds clichéd but my group are like a family to me now and I rarely miss a weekly session.”
Dann followed the Food Optimising eating plan and couldn’t believe that he could lose weight while eating meals like burgers and chips. He says: “Over many years I’d tried every diet under the sun, but for me that always meant not eating or eating less. It was so restrictive that after a few months I’d lose interest and end up back at square one.”
In fact, Dann was so used to failing in his weight-loss attempts that when he joined Slimming World he didn’t tell any of his colleagues. He says: “I’d yo-yo dieted for so long and every January it seemed like I started something new, so I feared that this might be short-lived too. I was so wrong though. Within six weeks I was telling everyone I’d joined Slimming World and my colleagues were all asking how the weight was falling off me. They couldn’t believe I was eating as much as I was and losing weight. While everyone else tucked into fry-ups I’d have a lean bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread and feel just as satisfied. I discovered a love for cooking and even cooked our Christmas dinner this year.”
Dann was so motivated by his weight loss that he upped his activity levels too. He and Rachel started doing HIIT sessions after putting their children to bed. Dann has also won his place back on the football team and he discovered a passion for running, so much so that he’s now training for the Manchester Marathon in April 2018. However, he says the best thing about being more active is how it’s changed his relationship with his family: “Just watching my girls running around used to tire me out. Hearing the nurse say I was obese was a real eye opener, the thought that I was damaging my health and risking not being there for my daughters was devastating. Now I feel like a new man. I have so much more energy to play with them and we love going on long family walks with our dog Maggie. I’m much fitter at work too – the only time I ache now is after a long run!”
He’s now lost 5st 2lbs, going from 16st 12lbs to 11st 10lbs, and lost 8 inches from his waist: “I’m in the best physical health I’ve ever been in and, more importantly, the best mental health too. I no longer take comfort in food and have found I can channel my emotions into activity, I feel confident and in control, and I believe in myself. This time last year I thought I was starting out on another failed New Year’s resolution, but this year I’m proof that it is possible for a decision you make in January to change your life – mine did!”
Name: Dann Sullivan
Starting weight: 16st 12lbs/236lbs/107kg
Current weight: 11st 10lbs/164lbs/74kg
Weight loss: 5st 2lbs/72lbs/33kg
Starting waist measurement: 40in
Current waist measurement: 32in
Date joined Slimming World: 21st January 2017
Group: Dann attends the Solihull Slimming World group run by Gemma Mullis.
Lunch: Breakfast baguette
Dinner: Frozen southern fried chicken pieces and oven chips or kebab meat and chips from the chip shop
Snacks: Cakes and biscuits
Breakfast: Cereal topped with blueberries and strawberries
Mid-morning: Protein quark or a fat-free yogurt
Lunch: A pasta salad or homemade soup
Mid-afternoon: An apple or a pear
Dinner: Chilli con carne with Slimming World-style chips (baked in the oven with low calorie cooking spray), steak with butternut squash chips or homemade crispy chilli beef with egg-fried rice
Snacks: Fruit, fat-free yogurts, homemade banana and chocolate cake, high-fibre cereal bars
- Weight worries are often associated more with women than men, but latest data shows that around one in four men have a BMI that puts them in the ‘obese’ category
- On average, men struggle with their weight for 6.2 years before taking action
- Slimming World currently has 60,000 men attending its groups throughout the UK and Ireland
- When men do join slimming clubs they are very successful, and typically lose more weight than women. On average, men attending Slimming World lose more than 5% of their body weight in 12 weeks
- Research of Slimming World members found that while the majority of men had sex once-a-month or more before losing weight, they now have it at least once-a-week!
- While men make up only one in 10 patients attending commercial weight-management programmes like Slimming World through referral by the NHS, when health professionals verbally offer referral to men and women equally, the proportion of referrals who are make jumps to nearly four in 10%.
Findings from various Slimming World studies published in 2016 and 2017. Details available on request.– ends –
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.
Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.
For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.
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