Amazing Loser Lee Squelch
This week’s Amazing Loser has a busy job that involves a lot of driving, meaning that his diet wasn’t the greatest and he relied on quick fixes that he could grab on the go. But with the help of his MAN v FAT Football teammates, he’s made small changes that have all added up to make big changes…
Name: Lee Squelch
Height: 6′ 0″ / 184cm
Occupation: Sales manager
Highest weight: 127kg / 19st 4 / 280lbs
Current weight: 93kg / 14st 9 / 205lbs
Weight lost: 34kg / 5st 5 / 75lbs
What led to you becoming overweight?
Over the last 10 years, I hadn’t really stuck at any form of regular exercise although I had tried a few times. My job involves a lot of driving and being away from home and this had led me to a very poor convenience-based diet of ready meals, service station lunches and just a generally poor diet all round.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
I would get out of breath with the simplest of tasks, even putting my shoes on. I was starting to have problems sleeping and joint pains. I could only buy nice clothes online as very few places stock XXL in store.
Why did you decide to change?
My main motivation to lose weight was my son. I want to make sure I’m fit and healthy, so I can be around for as long as possible. I also wanted to set a good example to him and make it the norm that Dad eats well and exercises often.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
In a typical day: breakfast, if I had it, would be toast or sugary cereal, lunch would be whatever happened to be near when I was hungry – a ham and cheese baguette with a slice of pizza from Greggs was a favourite, or two prepacked supermarket sandwiches. I’d regularly drink full-fat lattes across the day. Tea would then be made up of a ready meal, a mountain of sandwiches or a takeaway.
What method did you use to lose weight?
Tracking my food using MyFitnessPal has been a godsend, I can factor in a family meal out with what I eat during the day to stay within my goal and I can also use the weekly calorie counter if I do go over one day to level the week off.
I was amazed at how many “healthy” well-marketed foods were awful for me and that some things I wouldn’t have thought ok, were not that bad.
You’re a MAN v FAT Football player at our Cardiff league, what’s been the best thing about joining MVFF?
It’s hard to simply pick one thing! The camaraderie and wealth of knowledge and ideas is huge and helped me so much. The simple act of swapping a full-fat latte for an Americano was suggested by one of my teammates, and it meant I could still pop into the coffee shops I love and catch up on some work when I needed to without the excess calories.
If you are thinking about joining the biggest thing to get across is that you don’t need to be any good or have any experience of playing football! In all the matches I have played I have never heard a single player criticized for their on-field performance.
If anything, I found being terrible at football was a massive help, it gave me the motivation to make sure I tracked my food and lost weight so my efforts on the pitch didn’t matter.
How has your MAN v FAT Football league helped you to lose weight?
It has made losing weight fun. The competitive element of my personality meant I wanted to do all I could to help my team. The amount of time I have opened the fridge to snack and closed the door empty-handed because the weekly weigh-in sprung to mind was enormous.
What role have your MAN v FAT Football teammates played in your weight loss?
The WhatsApp groups full of guys in the same boat or who have successfully lost weight is a godsend for little tips and just someone to have a moan to. We have swapped recipes and ideas such as the coffee swap I mentioned earlier which has been so helpful.
What do you eat now?
Breakfast will be a thin cinnamon bagel with a coffee with skimmed milk. For lunch, cooked chicken breasts are a favourite and if I haven’t had time to prepare lunch that morning, it can easily be picked up in any supermarket (M&S have a pack of skinless chicken breasts for fewer than 350 calories).
I do still stop for the odd coffee but it will be an Americano now. The evening will consist of a chicken-based meal – Thai green curry is a popular one at the moment.
What did you find difficult about losing weight?
Breaking old habits was the worst, the main one being using food as a reward. A bad meeting would be followed up with a coffee and a cheeseburger, or a chocolate brownie. I also had to get out of the habit of being too tired to make a decent evening meal and believing I deserved a takeaway.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
The biggest and least expected change was that I have become a huge fan of exercise! I am happier, sleep well and have so much more energy.
Being able to see a weekly overview of what I eat on the MyFitnessPal app means I still go for a beer when I want to and have the odd treat with the family.
What is your plan for maintaining your weight loss?
Although I’m still losing weight, maintenance isn’t very far away. Having an understanding of what I’m putting in my mouth thanks to tracking has changed my relationship with food.
My job, like many, can have stressful days and the old me would have coped with the stress by having a takeaway and bottle of wine that evening, but now after a stressful day I get the trainers on and get out for a run. Changes like this have made not putting on weight easy.
How was lockdown for you, and what impact did it have on your weight?
I found lockdown fantastic, it gave me the chance to fully focus on my weight and the opportunity to change old habits and remove all excuses. It had a huge impact on my weight loss as I had time to prepare and try out numerous healthy meals, so I now have “go to’s” that I can make quickly and easily if I’ve had a long day. It also gave me time to exercise and still have plenty of time with my family.
Lockdown was a huge positive for my weight loss. I was initially walking (which became running) six days a week and doing an hour’s weights workout six days a week as well. I got into a routine and both were done most days by 11am, leaving me plenty of time with my family. Now I am back at work I am still getting out running three times a week at least.
What do men need to know about weight loss?
1. Track everything you eat and drink, it will become second nature and really help you form better habits.
2. Make small changes with your diet and exercise, it will be less of a shock to the system and more likely that these habits become the norm, faddy diets don’t work long term.
3. Don’t beat yourself up when you have a bad day, you can reset tomorrow, and the odd treat day is good for you!
4. Find a good support network. All of the things that I have chatted about above would not have happened without my MAN v FAT Football teammates, they have been the glue that brought it all together, from a collection of good suggestions to a complete change in lifestyle over the last 10 months that I know I will now carry with me for the rest of my days.