If at first you don’t succeed: Amazing Loser Wes Downes
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’, and sometimes weight loss comes down to exactly that. Losing weight is tough, and it’s easy to think you’ve failed if you slip up when the truth is that you only fail when you give up trying.
This week’s Amazing Loser had tried to lose weight before, but could never stick to it for more than a few weeks. Read on to find out how he’s managed to consistently lose weight…
Name: Wes Downes
Occupation: Policy Manager
Highest weight: 106.5kg (16st 10.8lbs, 234lbs)
Current weight: 95.5kg
(15st 0.5lbs, 210.5lbs)
Weight lost: 11kg (1st 10.3lbs, 24.3lbs)
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
The weight just crept on bit by bit. Didn’t think I ate a lot (lol), didn’t really drink and I had stopped moving much. Before I knew it I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life!
My clothes looked awful on me, everything just seemed hard work and I struggled to motivate myself to do much of anything some days. My mental health was definitely worse as a result.
What made you decide to change?
I wondered where it might end up if I didn’t do something about my weight. My joints were aching and I knew my health could be badly affected if I didn’t stop the weight gain. Plus I couldn’t zip my favourite jacket up.
What did you do to lose weight?
I decided to walk every day…that lasted less than a week! But I started to feel a bit better mentally. I then joined the gym and lost a few pounds.
Another lockdown in December, Christmas came and the weight went back on. I made a new year’s resolution to lose weight, but I struggled to do it consistently. I always started well but couldn’t maintain more than a couple of weeks. I’d tried to lose weight numerous times before.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Porridge and toast for breakfast. Crisps for mid-morning. A sandwich and more crisps for lunch. A few takeaways a week for dinner. Chocolate for dessert.
What do you eat now?
A smaller portion of porridge with raspberries for breakfast. A smaller lunch: beans on toast, poached eggs on toast or my new favourite chilli and tomato jumbo prawns.
Dinner is homemade curries, shakshuka, stir-fries. Low-fat yoghurt and berries for dessert. Everything is in smaller portions than I was eating previously.
Why did you join MAN v FAT Football, and how did it help your weight loss?
I used to love playing football…20 + years ago. I thought joining MVFF might get me moving at least once a week. I’m quite competitive and like the concept of the weight loss counting towards the final league position.
I wanted to be top scorer for weight loss in my league, and that drove me on as I was hovering in the top four (I finished second) plus my team were aceing the weight loss league and I didn’t want to let them down. Also sharing our tips and ideas was a great help.
MAN v FAT Football works because it’s the best of both worlds – football and blokey weight loss. Plus the atmosphere is brilliant, everyone is very supportive of each other.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
Do it! The hardest part is turning up the first time, then you’ll be glad you did.
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
Learning to cook and buying “proper” ingredients and reducing my portions. I was eating huge portions before, without realising.
How have you overcome these difficulties?
I’ve embraced the challenge and learnt a new recipe each week. Logging food on MyFitnessPal has been an eye-opener!
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
My mental health has improved, as has my concentration. I have more energy which makes burning those calories easier. Plus I can keep up with the kids!
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you on your weight loss journey?
All the lads at the Mansfield MAN v FAT Football club, especially my Inter Menandos teammates.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
Stop making excuses and do something about it.
What are your next steps now that you’ve lost weight?
I still want to lose more and keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t have an end weight in mind but if I get my BMI to 25 I’ll be happy and another 20kg lighter than I am now!
Longer-term I’d like to get even more active and set some sporting goals to motivate me.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the obesity crisis?
Introduce clearer food labelling to help people understand their calorie intake.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
1. You’re not alone.
2. It takes time…be realistic.
3. Your body changes really quickly for the better.