Having kids is usually a massive wake up call for overweight men. Aside from the responsibility and fun of changing nappies and making sure your child doesn’t stick its fingers in sockets, it’s a weird feeling to know that this wriggly little thing looks up to you and will depend on you for years and years to come. Naturally, you want to make sure you’re the best dad you can be and you want to stick around for as long as you can. For Amazing Loser Dan, this meant joining MAN v FAT football and finally losing the weight that held him back from playing with his kids…

  • Name: Dan Cooper (ask him anything on Talk)
  • Location: Stoke on Trent
  • Height: 5’9″ (175cm)
  • Age: 31
  • Highest weight: 253lbs (115kg)
  • Lowest weight:  174lbs (79kg)
  • Plan: Calorie counting and limiting carbs

How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight? 

I used to weigh about 100kg (220lbs) and lost about 15kg (33lbs) for my wedding, I was happy at that weight but after having my first child I stopped going to the gym and started eating unhealthily again, over the course of 4 years my weight went up to 115kg. 

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
 
Feeling lethargic, not being able to find clothes I liked that fitted well and worst of all not being able to be the best dad I could be due to not being able to move and play like I should. 
 

This is the picture which made me realise how big I’d become

 
What made you decide to change?
 
I was sat on my daughter’s bedroom floor reading her a story and when we finished I struggled to get up. I realised at that point just how overweight and unfit I was. 

What made it different from the times before?

I really wanted to do it this time because I didn’t want to become a 40 odd year old overweight man having a heart attack and leaving my kids without a dad. 

How did you do it?
 
I re-joined the gym and do 3 sessions a week (to start with I was doing about 70/30 cardio/weights, that’s now flipped the other way).
 
I worked out my BMR (basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body needs) every month or so (you can figure out your BMR on the MAN v FAT health checker) and stuck to about 500 calories per day lower than that with my food intake. I have also drunk 2 litres of water a day religiously throughout and I really feel the benefit of being properly hydrated.
 
I also joined the MAN v FAT football league in Stoke as an extra form of exercise and accountability.
 

My first night of MAN v FAT football

 

 
How has MAN v FAT football helped you?
 
 
The main thing here for me is accountability. As players in the MAN v FAT football leagues can score bonus goals by losing weight I wanted to make sure I did all I could to get the goals on the scales. I didn’t want to let my team down.
 
I’ve played 2 seasons and hit my 10% goal both times, and the support from the lads has been fantastic throughout. The Stoke lads are a really good bunch and we also set up extra activities to encourage each other to get moving and we try to have a laugh while we do it.  
 

…and on the last night of Season 2

 
What did you eat before you lost weight?
 
Usually a full English breakfast, sandwiches and crisps for dinner and something with chips for tea always followed by cake. I’d usually drink an energy drink during the day and snack on chocolate. In the evening I would usually have a can or 2 of lager and more chocolate. 
 
What do you eat now?
 
Wholegrain cereal for breakfast, lean protein shakes for snacks, chicken breast with hot sauce for dinner and tea will be something like steak and mash or pasta bolognese. I drink only water during the day and if I’m having a lager in the evening it will be a light variety but that’s usually only once or twice week now. I have a cheat meal once a week, i’d go mad if I didn’t. 
 
How was the journey? Was it straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?
 
I found it quite easy until I got to about 85kg (187lbs) and it’s been tough going since then. But I have just stuck to my calorie and exercise goals and I’m now in the 70s for the first time in my adult life. 
 
How has life changed now you’ve lost weight?
 
People react more positively to me, strangers and people I’ve known for years. I can buy clothes that look good and feel confident wearing them. I’m so much more active and have more energy and that allows to me a better dad, which was my main goal at the start. 
 
“I can buy clothes that look good and feel confident wearing them”
 
 
Who helped you the most and who got in the way?
 
My wife has been the biggest help. She’s incredibly supportive, helping me find time for the gym and helping with food preparation. I wouldn’t say anybody has got in the way, a few people were poking fun about MAN v FAT when I started it but I’ve proved them wrong. 
 
I’d like to thank all the lads from the Stoke league, especially my team Real Fatrid and coach Dan Millward and of course my incredible wife Yvonne, I couldn’t have done it without them 
 
 
What surprised you about losing weight?
 
Realising how overweight I actually was, it’s not until I look at my before pictures I realise how big I was. 
 
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?
 
What are you doing to yourself?!  Just eat a bit better and move a little more and maybe you wouldn’t be so overweight. 
 
 
You’re Prime Minister for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?
 
Ban sugary drinks, we don’t need them and if you want a fizzy drink the zero sugar alternatives are far healthier. 
 
“It’s not until I look at my before pictures that I realise how big I was”
 
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
 
1. It’s not as hard as you think it’s going to be, provided you stay positive. 
2. Get advice from a professional before you start to ensure you do everything the right way. Don’t put your health at risk. 
3. You’re not going on a diet because diets are temporary. You need to change your lifestyle!
 
 

Is there anything else we should know about your weight loss story?

I’ve applied for the new series of Ninja Warrior, I have no idea if I’ll get on the show or not yet but I applied to give me something to train for and to show what a difference can be made in 12 months as it’s being filmed 12 months from when I started my journey.  So I haven’t finished yet. My body fat is around 10% at the moment but I want to get a little leaner and build some more muscle. This is the best chance I’ll ever have of getting a real 6 pack so while I’m on a roll I’m not stopping. 

 

Our thanks to Dan and don’t forget – as with all our Amazing Losers and their weight loss before and after stories, you can find him on Talk and ask him anything you like! 

If you want to make a change to your life right now – then simply sign up for one of our free 30 day online weight programmes, the only thing you’ve got to lose is fat…