I'm the dad I always wanted to be!

I'm the dad I always wanted to be!

In just nine months Neil Richardson from Barnsley, South Yorkshire has lost a jaw-dropping 12st 10lb to reach his target and transform his life forever. Read his touching story here…

“At school I was bigger than my schoolmates and I had a large appetite. My weight gain wasn’t triggered by a specific event – I just had really bad eating habits. From fried breakfasts to late night takeaways, pastries and sausage rolls to creamy curries – I never stopped eating and rarely exercised. 

“I’ve always been known as ‘Fat Neil’ – it wasn’t an insult, it was just who I was. I wasn’t really unhappy about my weight, in fact it was probably down to enjoying myself a little too much on nights out with the lads, which usually involved plenty of beer and a kebab or burger on the way home.”

“Although I didn’t suffer with any serious health problems, I struggled to keep up with my children. The final straw came on a family holiday to Wales when a little boy refused to play with my daughter because he didn’t want to sit with ‘a big fat man’. Hearing that and seeing my little girl’s face as her eyes welled up with tears was like being hit by a train. I knew I had to lose weight, not only for me, but for my family too!

“Within 24 hours of arriving home, I’d gone online and found a Slimming World group just around the corner. I was so nervous on my first night, especially as I thought slimming clubs were for women. I sat in my car wondering whether to walk through the door or drive away, but I bit the bullet and the Consultant put me at ease instantly, chatting away like I’d known her all my life.

Food Optimising fits easily into family life and I can still enjoy all my favourite foods like curries and kebabs – I’ve simply changed the way I cook them, using less oil and extra lean meat. For breakfast I enjoy chestnut mushrooms and a poached egg on marmite toast. Lunch is a usually a homemade soup – tomato, chilli and basil is my favourite. Best of all, I can still socialise and go out for a few beers with my mates.

“The group experience has been key to my weight loss and it’s great to know that I’m not in this alone. I honestly think being part of a group is the best support anyone can get. Everyone there wants to achieve the same goal and we share lots of recipe and meal ideas during Image Therapy. It’s friendly and supportive – and men are every bit as welcome as everyone else!

“The support from my friends and family has been brilliant – my wife’s lost over a stone and as a family we eat more healthily. Body Magic became a big part of my life and I started seeing great results straight away – I reached target in just nine months! I’ve bought a cross trainer, we go on long family walks and I’ve taken up running. Keeping up with the kids isn’t a problem anymore and I recently won the dad’s egg and spoon race at my daughter’s sports day – my little girl was so proud!

“I still bump into people in the street who I haven’t seen for a while. Most don’t recognise me and can’t believe my transformation. Recently, I went to a fancy dress party but I wasn’t wearing a costume. One of my mates spotted me and shouted ‘Look! It’s Fat Neil and he’s come dressed as a thinner bloke!’ The great thing is that this isn’t a costume, it’s really me and I am that thinner bloke!”

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