A lorry driver who was once so overweight that he had to be lifted into the back of his lorries by a forklift truck has shed more than half his bodyweight to be named Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2020.
Jason Dury, 47, from Risca, Wales, suffered from agonising migraines, high blood pressure and joint pain when he was at his heaviest – which prompted doctors to warn him that he was at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Jason, who has slimmed from 24st 11½lbs to 12st 4lbs in just 22 months, says: “I started to gain weight in my thirties. It was just a few stone here and there so I always thought I could lose it. I never did though, and then when my father died suddenly, I turned to food for comfort and just became bigger and bigger.
“Living your life at that kind of size can be quite lonely because everything feels like a struggle. Even everyday tasks really take it out of you and you just don’t have the energy for much else.”
Jason’s job as a lorry driver became more and more difficult the bigger he became, too. He says: “Although a lot of my job revolved around driving and being sedentary, I did have to be there for loading and unloading too. I wasn’t very agile, so often someone with a forklift would help me up to the back of the trailers because I couldn’t get up there myself. It was really embarrassing and once that happened I just wanted the day to be over.”
I researched everything from surgery to diet pills but something about Slimming World really appealed.
A couple of key moments really prompted Jason to tackle his weight problem. He says: “I’d been suffering from terrible migraines – so I went to visit my doctor. He suggested that they were being caused by my dangerously high blood pressure and that my weight was likely a factor – which really worried me.
“Around that time I also travelled abroad. I was randomly stopped at customs which meant I ended up being one of the last to board the plane. My seat was right at the front and when I sat down I realised I couldn’t fasten the seatbelt. The flight attendant loudly announced that she would get me an extender, and then I had to stand up in front of the whole plane while it was fitted. I vowed to myself that I would do something about my weight as soon as I returned home. Enough was enough.”
Jason was encouraged to join Slimming World after researching various weight-loss plans and realising that Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan meant that slimmers could lose weight while still enjoying wholesome, everyday foods. He says: “I researched everything from surgery to diet pills but something about Slimming World really appealed. I was nervous about attending that first session – although it seems strange to say that now because it’s such a big part of my life. I was greeted by my Consultant, Clare, who is the biggest bundle of fun you could ever hope to meet, and I knew from that moment I had made the right decision.”
Jason soon got to grips with the plan and found he could still enjoy meals like chicken curry, steak and chips and bacon rolls while still losing weight. “As a lorry driver I’m on the road a lot,” says Jason. “Eating out has never been a problem though, I learned all about the best choices to make and soon had the confidence to ask for things to be cooked in a certain way – like grilling meats without oil. It must have worked because the results soon spoke for themselves!”
As well as the eating plan, the knowledge and support from Jason’s Consultant and fellow group members really spurred him on to reach his goals. He says: “The group environment really helped me because for the first time I was surrounded by people who knew how it felt to struggle with their weight. Checking in with everyone each week has been invaluable and I have learned so much from everyone. I attended the group virtually during lockdown, which helped keep me on track, but there’s nothing like being together with my group.”
Since halving his bodyweight, Jason has become much more active – and has set himself some impressive challenges. He says: “I used to love the outdoors. As I gained more and more weight though, it felt like the world became smaller and smaller. Losing weight and learning about Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme really encouraged me to get out there again.
“I started off walking small distances, gradually working up to the point where I’d think nothing of spending the day walking around the Brecon Beacons, and I’m even hoping to take part in a 12-day trek through the Himalayas to visit Everest Base Camp. It’s amazing to think that the world is a big place again now, full of opportunities.”
Jason also went on a trip to Italy this summer and had no problem fastening his seatbelt on the plane! And, of course, Jason’s employer is also reaping the benefits of its new slimline employee. He says: “I’m much more comfortable at work now and can often be found hopping from trailer to trailer without the need for assistance! A lot of people have said I’m more approachable now too, which I think is down to my new outlook. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Slimming World has completely changed my life – it’s certainly one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Name: Jason Dury
Starting weight: 24st 11½lbs/347½lbs/157½kg
Current weight: 12st 4lbs/172lbs/78kg
Weight loss: 12st 7½lbs/175½lbs/79½kg
Waist measurement before: 54”/137cm
Waist measurement now: 34”/86cm
Shirt size before: XXXXL
Shirt size now: Large
Date joined Slimming World: September 2017
Date reached target weight: July 2019
Group: Jason attends the Cwmbran Slimming World group which is run by Consultant Clare Lewis.
Breakfast: Coffee and biscuits, followed by chocolate and crisps throughout the morning
Lunch: Two pasties and two sausage rolls, followed by more crisps
Dinner: A microwave meal or something deep fried from the fish and chip shop
Evening: Crisps, chocolate, biscuits
Breakfast: A grilled bacon roll with all fat removed, or a bowl of cereal
Lunch: A ham salad sandwich with more fruit
Dinner: A baked potato with chicken and vegetables or a homemade chicken tikka masala with rice and green beans
Evening: Chocolate bar.
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