Wimborne bricklayer Ryan has built a new future for himself after losing over 15st in 16 months
In September 2019, weighing over 34st, Ryan Money, 34, walked through the doors of his local Slimming World group, not realising the impact it would have on the rest of his life.
“Although I was never really ill and could count on one hand the number of times I’d been to a doctor, I always had terrible indigestion and my legs had started retaining water and swelling. I was never able to sleep for more than an hour at a time as I needed to get up to go to the toilet. I’d often stop breathing through the night too which was pretty scary.
“I was tired of not getting a good night’s sleep because of my weight. I didn’t know how to cook, so I snacked on crisps and sweets throughout the day and relied on takeaways for my lunch and dinner. Over the years, I’d been steadily getting bigger and bigger. It had been five years since I’d had a good night’s sleep and it affected my job as a bricklayer as I had no energy and would fall asleep at lunch time and on the lift home from work. When I did manage to sleep, I would snore loudly and keep everyone else awake! Some nights I’d wake up gasping for air because I’d stopped breathing in my sleep. A couple of weeks before joining Slimming World, I went on a camping trip with friends and found it very awkward as I kept the whole camp awake with my snoring. I know the other campers weren’t happy about this and I’m sure they knew it was me.
“I knew deep down something had to change and I’m so glad I decided to join Slimming World. A few family members had said how great it was and I knew I needed the support each week and that I’d have given up if I’d tried to lose weight alone at home. Going into the group I was nervous but as soon as I got inside, it was fine. I heard everyone talk and realised everyone there was in the same boat.
“At the first weigh-in, when I saw 34st on the scales I couldn’t believe it. I knew I’d got into a bad way, but I had no idea I was that heavy. I would have guessed I weighed 24st, around 10st lighter, if someone had asked me.
“I lost 16.5lbs the first week and that put a big smile on my face. I felt the changes almost immediately that first week as I was sleeping much better and had no indigestion. When I think about my diet before I joined Slimming World, I can’t believe it. I’d often binge on chocolate, crisps and sweets for a much-needed energy boost and, too tired to cook, I relied on takeaways! I’d have them once or twice a day. On one occasion, my girlfriend Steph and I drove to KFC but there was a big queue, so we drove to McDonald’s on the same retail park to get some burgers to eat while we waited!
“Now I’m eating constantly but this time it’s fresh fruit and veg and lean meat. I’m not much of a chef and you don’t have to be – cooking chicken and vegetables and a healthy breakfast tray bake is my favourite. I love tomatoes too and raw veg. I honestly never thought I’d be one to share recipes but at the group we love swopping ideas! During lockdown it was fantastic to keep in touch via the virtual classes which we set up, but I can’t wait until we can all see each other in person again.
“I work as a builder with my dad, we’re a father and son team and the clients we meet can’t believe it when they see me. They often ask, “Where’s the rest of you?” or ask me how I’ve done it. One guy joined Slimming World too after seeing my results and he’s now seen the benefit too which I find really heart-warming as it’s so lovely to think I’ve inspired someone.
“Losing weight has changed every part of my life, even things you don’t think about. I’ve always been a big sports fan, especially Rugby Union and boxing but I’ve never been able to just go and watch any match in case I wouldn’t fit into the seats. I support Bath and went to see them once but I was so nervous the whole match in case someone sat next to me as I was covering two seats.
“I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved. I’ve gone down from a 4XL to an XL and a 58-inch to a 42-inch waist. Before I lost weight, I found it incredibly hard to find clothes to fit me and when my legs started to retain water, I had to buy stretchy jeans. Now I absolutely love buying clothes – even though my choice is limited at present to Asda and Tesco due to the lockdown. I don’t know who I’ve turned into!
“I realise now it was a vicious cycle – my weight left me so tired that it affected my choices around food and I didn’t have the energy to do any activity, which all meant I gained more weight and my sleep got worse. There is so much I can do now which I couldn’t before. After the pandemic I’d love to get into boxing – I’d never have had the confidence before or the fitness level. I’m so grateful to Tracey who runs my group and all the members. I’ve never met anyone there who wasn’t warm and welcoming. I joined Slimming World to lose weight, what I didn’t expect was to be part of such a great community.”
For more information, visit slimmingworld.co.uk to find your nearest group.
Starting weight: 34st 3lbs
Current weight: 18st 10lbs