Darren Passmore couldn’t be more delighted to be a big loser.
The proud dad has been named Carleton’s Slimming World Greatest Loser 2014 after shedding a whopping 5st.
The super slimmer bagged the prize – awarded to the member of the Thursday evening Slimming World group who has lost the most weight – and says his weight loss has changed his life.
Darren, who lives in Carleton, said: “I feel like a new man since losing weight – in fact, I look so different, people who I haven’t seen for a while often can’t believe I’m the same person. But for me it’s the change on the inside that’s been the biggest – I’m happier, healthier and lots more confident now.”
Darren weighed 20 stone when he joined the weekly group at St Martin and St Hilda’s Church Hall, run by Nikki Bennett about a year ago and has since dropped to 15st.
He decided to sign up, with his daughter Emma, after finding his weight was placing a big strain on his health.
With family history of heart disease, the single dad felt it was a ticking timebomb and he needed to take action.
He said: “Before I lost the weight I’d pretend it didn’t bother me I was bigger than most other people, but that was far from the truth.
“I hated shopping for clothes and found just climbing upstairs and doing normal every-day tasks would leave me tired and out of breath. My shoes even had Velcro fastenings, as I couldn’t bend down properly to tie laces.
“I was suffering increasing joint pain. My family were starting to voice their concerns too.”
Although it was a tough decision to make, Darren – who swapped his favourite take-aways for cooking healthy meals at home – said: “Walking through those doors was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I was embarrassed about my size and scared I might be the biggest person there.
“I needn’t have worried though, everyone was so friendly.
“I’ve made so many friends at the group and I don’t think I could have done it without their support. Members of the group helped with recipes and tips and if I was ever struggling they were always there to remind me why I’d wanted to lose weight in the first place and how far I’d come.
“People think slimming means going hungry, eating nothing but salad, obsessively counting calories and weighing everything on your plate, but it’s not like that at all at Slimming World. I love food and it’s never once felt like I was on ‘a diet’.
“It fits in well with the rest of my family as well – we can all enjoy the same meals and my daughter has lost 1st 7lb too.
“I’d still like to lose a few more stone and I know I can. I wanted to feel healthier and better about myself and I’ve definitely done that.
“I feel great and that’s priceless.”
The Carleton group meets Thursdays at 5.30pm and 7.30pm, at St Martin and St Hildas Church Hall, Fleetwood Road, Carleton. Call Nikki on 07909 222098.