“I lost 170lbs to be an active dad”*
Father’s Day is fast approaching, and we’re getting into the mood with this inspiring weight loss story. Find out how Slimming World helped put Damian Murray’s family life back in balance—and how he’s enjoying every moment with his wife and son.
“A couple of years ago, I weighed around 400lbs and was the least fit I’ve ever been in my life. My energy and self-esteem were both at rock bottom, and I dreaded going on any kind of day out with my wife, Jo, and six-year-old son, Mylo. Instead, I preferred to stay at home and switch on the games console, cuddling up to Mylo on the sofa and feeling guilty that I wasn’t taking him out into the fresh air. I knew it wasn’t how I wanted things to be.
Jo was deep in training for a marathon, and thinking that exercise was the answer, I told her I was going to take up running, too. But she had another idea: ‘Why don’t you join Slimming World and lose some weight first?’ she said. I knew it would be easier to run if I was carrying less weight, but I really wasn’t sure that a weight loss program was for me. Then again, I didn’t want things to stay the way they were either: I got breathless just from walking short distances, let alone going for a run, and I’d started getting water retention in my legs, so my skin often broke into weeping sores. What if my health got worse? Was there a chance I wouldn’t live to see Mylo grow up? I decided to give Slimming World a try.
The Food Optimizing plan turned out to be easier than I expected, and Jo and I threw ourselves into a new way of eating. I’d been having four rounds of buttered toast for breakfast, then snacking on bags of chips until lunch—which was a sandwich with more chips, followed by whatever cookies or candy were around in the office where I worked. In the evening, I’d have something like fajitas with cheese and sour cream, then snack on cereal, toast and more cheese before bed. Now, Jo and I were trying out all sorts of lightened-up recipes together for dinner. One of them, a Cajun chicken dish, was so tasty it became part of our weekly menu. Each morning, I had a filling breakfast of oats layered with plain fat-free Greek yogurt and lots of chopped fruit or berries. Then I took an egg, tuna and roasted butternut squash salad to work, and would pass on the cookies, choosing a bag of popcorn or rice cakes instead.
Six weeks after joining Slimming World, I’d shed 10 percent of my body weight—more than 40lbs—and finally felt ready to go out for a run. The park at the end of our block was my milestone. I jogged out of the house, all the way through the park and back again. When I got back home I was sweating and wheezing, but I didn’t mind. Once I’d got my breath back, I felt invigorated and so proud of myself for getting started. Not long afterwards, Mylo and I had a father-son day out—an active one, just the two of us—and it dawned on me how much more confident and energetic I’d become and how it was actually benefiting Mylo, too. I wanted to be a great role model for my son—eating healthily and having fun being active—and that motivated me to keep Food Optimizing and getting out of the house more.
Today, I’ve lost a total of 170lbs and I’ve never been happier. Jo and I are closer than ever, sharing delicious, filling Slimming World meals, such as home-made chilli and rice, and running together wherever we can. It’s become a key part of our vacation time—we’ve been running in New York, Sicily and Spain! And if Jo’s not running beside me, she’s there to support me. Last year I completed California’s Santa Monica Summer Sizzle half-marathon, with Jo and Mylo waiting to greet me at the end. It’s wonderful to share the active lifestyle Jo has always loved, and I feel like she’s got back the man she married. I owe her so much for encouraging me to join Slimming World—it made me realize I could become the man and dad I always dreamt of being!”
If you’re planning to start a new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider first—especially if you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.
*Your weight loss will vary according to your individual circumstances and the amount you have to lose.