The loss of family members is a cruel and extremely difficult thing to overcome and you’d be forgiven for spiralling out of control. After a tough couple of years, this week’s Amazing Loser Craig vowed to get healthier for the sake of his kids. 

Name: Craig Davis
Age: 36
Height: 6ft
Location: Nottingham
Occupation: Taxi driver
Highest weight: 266lbs (19st 0.8lbs / 121kg)
Lowest weight: 202lbs (14st 6.8lbs / 92kg)
Weight lost: 64lbs

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

I went through a very rough couple of years where I lost numerous family members, including my dad, in such a short space of time and it hit me hard. My way of mourning was to eat anything and everything in sight and I ballooned in weight very quickly as a result. My job as a taxi driver doesn’t help either, and I was using that as an excuse to use drive-through takeaways every day. 

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

I was getting out of breath so easily, even just walking up the stairs. Clothes I’d not long bought didn’t fit, and I felt very uncomfortable in everything I bought as I went from a medium/large to an XXL. I also started suffering from gout [a type of arthritis where crystals form inside and around joints] which was horrendous.

What made you decide to change?

My kids – I took them on holiday and felt so uncomfortable around the pool with my gut out, I was so embarrassed.

How did you lose weight?

I started to diet properly. My Mrs was on Slimming World so she cooked me the right foods the right way with the right amounts. I cut takeaways and beer out, not completely but I went from having them every day to once every couple of weeks. Then I heard about MAN v FAT Football so I signed up for exercise purposes. Once I got a bit fitter I bought a bike and took up bike riding too.

Had you tried to lose weight before?

Yes, I was always trying different diets. I’d done Slimfast, the Kellogg’s diet, Slimming World etc. in the past and all would last just a few weeks before I fell off the wagon pretty easily. This time I wasn’t doing it for myself – I couldn’t give 2 hoots about myself but I was doing it for my kids and wife.

What did you eat before you lost weight? 

Gosh, everything and lots of it! Daily takeaways, sometimes twice a day, beer every day, not a lot of sweet stuff or chocolate but just loads of food. 

 

What do you eat now?

I still wouldn’t say my diet is the best compared to what some of my teammates eat. I can’t stand veg! But I now take a pack up to work consisting of different fruits and low fat yogurts, sometimes a sandwich or leftovers from the night before – curry or spag bol to mix things up. I stopped drinking energy drinks and replaced them with fruity water.

In the evenings I eat a lot of curries, spag bol, jacket spuds, steak and potatoes. We still have cheat days with a takeaway once a week and I still drink alcohol every now and then, just not every day, maybe a couple of times a month instead.

You’re a MAN v FAT Football player – how has it helped you lose weight?

I’ve not been on my own. I’ve had teammates to kick me up the backside when I’ve been wanting to give in, especially in the early days when my fitness was at an all-time low. The knowledgeable and helpful coaches were a great help and having them there to chat to privately was a big help. 

It works because it’s still a competitive competition that people want to win, but knowing that weight loss is bigger than the pitch score gives you that bit of extra motivation to want to lose weight to help the team out. The scale score can turn around games.

If you’re thinking about joining a league, don’t think about it just do it! There’s so much help there from your teammates and coaches and you will soon grasp the concept. Set yourself a goal and go for it.

What was the most difficult thing about losing weight?

Losing the weight wasn’t that difficult because I had so much to lose it came off pretty easily. The hardest thing though is keeping it off. I’m down to a weight I can manage now, and not much more is going to be coming off, but trying to stay where I am is quite difficult. 

I suppose it’s all in the mind now. I know I can do it, I’ve just got to not give in to temptation. The biggest battle is against yourself, mentally, if you can overcome that anything is possible.

How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?

Well I can run again, I can get on a bike without the tyres looking flat all the time! I’m buying clothes in a medium size, I’m fitter, I’ve got a lot more stamina. I even look at what ingredients and fats and sugars are in things, what’s that all about?!

Who supported you the most on your journey and how did they help?

I would have to say the wife. She cooked my foods whether I liked it or not, she pushed me to eat the right stuff which I eventually came to like. I tend to eat with my eyes and if I didn’t like the look of something I wouldn’t eat it, but not any more. She picked me up when I was down or if I put weight on one week she would reassure me. Her support was closely followed by my MAN v FAT Football teammates and coaches.

If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?

Get a grip boy! You have kids who look up to you. Give them a dad to be proud of, someone they can copy and become themselves – not a slob. 

Now that you’ve lost weight, how are you planning on maintaining your weight loss?

Well, I’ve found a new hobby in bike riding. One of my goals I set myself was to compete in an 80-mile charity bike ride. I had not been on a bike since I was a kid, was nearly 19 stone, couldn’t walk up stairs without getting out of breath but I gave myself 6 months to get into some sort of shape and fitness to complete this 80-mile bike ride and raise a bit of money for charity.

I did complete it and raised £620 for the British Heart Foundation. I was pretty proud of myself once I crossed that finish line, so along with keeping up my healthier eating habits, I will be keeping my bike riding going too.

You’re Prime Minister for the day – what law would you bring in to help combat the obesity problem?

I would make it mandatory that kids have to join some kind of sports/fitness club and attend at least 3 times a week. If you start with the young’uns then hopefully, it will catch on to the parents.

What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

  • Help is out there 
  • Keep an eye on what ingredients are in the food and drink you’re consuming.

  • It can actually be easy if you really want it.

Many thanks to Craig for sharing his story. If you’ve got a weight loss story of your own that you’d like to share, don’t forget that we’re always looking for weight loss stories to feature, so get in touch if that’s you!