Peterborough dad talks about challenge of losing more than than four stone during Covid crisis

A weight loss of four-and-a-half stone has meant more than just a physical transformation for Peterborough dad-of-two Daniel Whitfield-Gray, it has transformed his marriage and family life too.

Sunday, 28th February 2021, 10:06 am
Daniel pictured with his family before and after his weight loss. First picture courtesy Dan Waters Photography.

A year ago, 29-year-old Daniel, of Orton Longueville, Peterborough, weighed just a few pounds short of 19 stone.

He struggled to play with his children Sophie, now aged 12 and two-year-old Oliver, because he would get breathless and his joints and back hurt so much because of the weight he was carrying on his 6ft frame.

And it affected his relationship too because the weight caused him to snore so much, he couldn’t sleep in the same bedroom as his wife Holly, 31, as the noise would keep her awake.

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On top of that he feared that he was not being the father he wanted to be.

He said: “I worried that my children wouldn’t have any memories of playing with Dad.”

So, at the start of 2020 he made a big decision and committed to losing the extra weight to try and change the way his life was heading.

“I knew at this point the only person who could change the future I could see was me,” he said.

He joined his local Slimming World group, and one year on he is 4st 9lbs lighter and feeling fantastic.

And even better, the snoring has eased considerably – enough anyway to be able to sleep in the same room as Holly. His joy at what this means to him is clear and he summed it up in one word… “yippee!”

“The snoring has almost completely stopped so I am allowed back into the same room as my wife,” he said.

And as for playing with the kids.

“We can run around the garden and go for nice long family walks without me complaining about my knees and my back,” he said.

The benefits haven’t stopped there though.

Not only is Daniel’s breathing, and knee and back pain improved, he says his mental health is much better too.

It wasn’t plain sailing though.

Losing that amount of weight with all the pressures of the pandemic as well had its challenges.

One of the hardest aspects of achieving the weight loss was doing it all in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, and handling all the extra stresses that brought.

“The biggest challenge was dealing with anxiety at this time and not comfort eating to find a way out,” he said.

But with a support network from Slimming World he was able to resist the lure of comfort eating.

“They gave me that boost of community with online support and actually taught me to use other coping mechanisms, not eating.”

He would certainly urge anyone in the same position he was in a year ago to try Slimming World and said men in particular might worry that a group like that is not for them, but nothing could be further from the truth.

“There was a huge variety of people at our class and everyone has the same goal – to improve themselves – either for weight loss, a healthier lifestyle or learning to make better choices for them and their families.

“You are not judged for being there. I was nervous to join and attend but I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Daniel followed the Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan which encourages people to eat plenty of “low energy dense and highly satiating foods” to keep them fuller for longer, such as poultry, fish, lean meat, pasta, grains, vegetables and fruit.

Members are encouraged to use these foods to satisfy their appetite while reducing overall energy intake. Doing it this way meant Daniel didn’t have to monitor every single mouthful.

“Following Slimming World has been so easy for me and my family,” said Daniel. “We often all have the same meals as the plan fits in brilliantly with our home life, no extra measuring each portion and ingredient, most importantly not lots of separate meals.

“My favourite meal is a nice spaghetti bolognese, the whole family can eat it and we even get some extra hidden veggies that the kids wouldn’t normally eat.”