Dagenham man loses third of bodyweight during lockdown
- Credit: Slimming World
A Dagenham man has lost a third of his bodyweight in a year, and has been able to take up skydiving again.
At his heaviest, Dennis McTaggert weighed 19 stone 10 lbs, was borderline-diabetic and had "terrible pain" in his knees.
The 61-year-old decided to join an online Slimming World group in January last year and has since lost 6 stone 3 lbs.
Dennis said: “I was in a lot of pain at the time and my mobility wasn’t good, I was struggling to breathe and couldn’t walk any distance as I had so much joint pain."
The London Underground worker struggled to go up and down stairs, essential for his job as a escalator engineer.
"My knees were playing up something chronic, it was getting worse and worse. Now they're totally fine," he said.
"When doctors used to tell me to lose weight, for years I thought they were just being a killjoy.
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"It's only now that I've done it, I've realised they were right."
The group helped Dennis to change his lifestyle, by learning how to eat healthily and swapping high calorific foods for nutritious alternatives.
“I was always a heavy drinker, but I've now swapped out most drinks to alcohol-free beers," he explained.
"My wife is over the moon. I very rarely drink now."
When the weight-loss group opened its doors again last summer, Dennis went along to the real-life meetings in St Martin's Church on Goresbrook Road every Tuesday night.
The weight loss allowed the qualified skydiver to get back into the sport again, which he had struggled to do at his heaviest.
Dennis found he was one of the only men in the group, and thinks this is part of a wider issue.
He said: "Many blokes didn't end up coming back, and I think it's the same thing as men not wanting to go to the doctor or speak about problems.
"I think sometimes they're in denial."
Slimming World figures show just eight per cent of members are men, although this rises to 15.5pc of members who join the group on referral.
The brand's 2016 Machobesity report found that men who are overweight "may see it as masculine to make unhealthy lifestyle choices such as eating big portions of high calorie and processed foods and drinking alcohol to excess."
Meanwhile, they may also "avoid seeking support to help them manage their weight".