'Losing 7.5 stone has made me a new man' - Councillor from Fulwood tells of a pivotal year shedding weight

For many this time of year remains a catalyst for life-changing decisions. As part of a week-long series, we speak to Lancashire folk who have undergone life-changing transformations. MEGAN TITLEY speaks to Preston’s newest city councillor about his decision to lose a staggering seven stone.

By Megan Titley
Monday, 3rd February 2020, 6:00 am

“I don’t feel useless anymore. I’ve got a purpose in life.”

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This time last year Daniel’s scales were telling him his weight stood at 24 stone.

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Daniel with an old pair of trousers. He used to weigh 24 stone

Now, seven and a half stone lighter, the 27-year-old has seen his diabetes go into remission, he is cured from a sleeping disorder and his overall mental health has improved dramatically.

Looking back on what has been a pivotal year in his life, Daniel said: “I feel losing weight has made me a better person. I’ve learnt I can push myself more.

“With the support I’ve got, I feel that I can do anything. Previously I’ve not felt that.

“It’s given me a massive confidence boost.

Conservative coun Daniel Duckworth (centre) out on the campaign trail with fellow councillors ahead of the local elections in May 2019

“The simple thing of being able to go into a shop and buy jeans without going online and being able to wear a PNE shirt because I can fit into it now is amazing.”

Daniel, who also has autism, had tried to lose weight a number of times before he finally struck gold and got his weight down to 16 and a half stone.

“I knew I needed to change because I’ve got a lot of health problems,” he said. “I’m diabetic.

“I struggle with a lot of pain in my hips, that’s why I walk with a crutch.

Just before Christmas, Daniel in the pool during one of his aqua aerobics sessions

“I’ve been told I have high cholesterol.

“I had joined Slimming World a few times but I just put the weight back on. This time last year it was Christmas and I knew I needed to get going again.

“I was trying to put it off until my birthday on January 18 but I had that many people say I needed to go (to Slimming World) I decided to bite the bullet and I went back on January 9.”

This time Daniel decided he had to be really strict with himself over his diet and exercise regime so he followed the Slimming World plan to the letter.

Daniel before he lost weight

Slowly Daniel built up his trips to the pool for his aqua aerobics sessions and in a massive boost to his confidence, he was also selected to stand as a Conservative councillor. He was successfully voted onto Preston City Council to represent Sharoe Green in May.

Daniel said: “I was doing a lot of campaigning in May, getting out and about. I was also doing aqua aerobics once a week, slowly climbing to three or four times a week. I love the personal trainers, they are absolutely amazing.

“Having the confidence to stand as local councillor and being selected as well has driven me.

“My family has been amazing. I can’t thank my mum Dawn and dad David enough. I have had a lot of support this year.

“I have cured my sleep apnea by bringing my weight down. I used to have to wear a machine at night which looked like an oxygen mask. I was in that for quite a number of years. I don’t need that machine anymore.

“I always struggled sleeping and I couldn’t just doze off like that. I was really low in energy and very fatigued so I was put on the machine to help me.

After Daniel successfully shed seven and a half stone

“Now my energy levels are better because I’ve lost the weight and I’ve also managed to put my diabetes in remission.

“Just by losing the weight I have managed to improve a lot of the conditions that I’ve got.

“I didn’t expect it because I’ve done Slimming World before and I always lost three or four stone then fell off the bandwagon again.

“Even my mental health improved.

“I still struggle with depression but my mental health has improved overall. I feel I have more to live for.

“I don’t feel useless anymore. I’ve got a purpose in life.”

Over the last year there have been a lot of highlights for Daniel but it’s not all been plain sailing either.

Daniel has a ‘slipped upper femoral epiphysis’ which means he suffers quite a bit of pain in his hips and has to walk with a crutch.

He said: “Although I lost all this weight I’m still in a bit of pain. I’m on a lot of medication to help the pain.

“With my hips the swimming isn’t a problem because it doesn’t put any pressure on them.

“I want to lose more weight in 2020. I am now 16 and a half stone. I started at 24 stone. I’m aiming for 14 stone.

“If I don’t see things happening I get really downhearted. I like to lose weight the next day but that’s not going to happen.

“I’ve been told I look younger, it’s been great.

“People have been following my progress on Facebook. The amount of comments I’ve got saying Dan you look so well.

“I even did a charity sleep out even though I’m disabled. It was my idea to do it as a Conservative group.

“I think I was holding myself back by not losing weight. Last year was the first time I went abroad on my own as well. I went to Benidorm and rented a scooter, it was amazing.

“This year I just want to build on what I did last year, level out and maintain what I’m happy with.

“I just want to make my mum and dad proud.”

Super slimmer Daniel Duckworth has lost 7.5 stone in a year with the help of his mentor Sue