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LIFE WAS A BEACH .. & THEN I DIETED; 26-stone neil's seaside shame.

Byline: LUCY THORNTON

SUPER-SIZED dad Neil Richardson never minded being the size of a beached whale until a cruel taunt reduced his little daughter to tears.

The 26-stone dad-of-two was happy to be known as Fat Neil until an encounter on a beach in Wales during a holiday.

His two-year-old girl Josie was snubbed by a young boy she wanted to play with. He told her: "I don't want to sit with the big fat man," and ran away.

Seeing Josie crying spurred XXXL Neil, 30, into action. Since June last year he has lost 12st 10lb and is now Slimming World's Man of the Year 2011.

Support worker Neil said: "Hearing that and seeing my little girl's face as her eyes welled up was like being hit by a train. I realised my weight was affecting my family so I had to do something."

When Neil, who had been refused life insurance due to his weight, returned home to Barnsley, South Yorks, he joined his local Slimming World group.

He said: "I had always been known as Fat Neil - it was just who I was.

"I knew I needed to do something as I wanted to be around for my kids and to be the best dad I could."

Neil used to struggle to keep up with girls Josie, now three, and Charlie, aged one but has recently won the dads' egg-andspoon race at a sports day. He said: "It's hard to explain how much that meant. The year before I went in 50-inch waist jeans and hid at the back.

"This year, after I won, my little girl ran up to me and said 'I'm proud of you, Dad'. They were the best five words I've ever heard."

Neil lost the weight by swapping greasy doner kebabs and takeaway curries for healthy homemade versions and began exercising after buying a cross-trainer.

He still has a drink with mates but stressed: "It's a change for life. I'm not going back to being Fat Neil."

OLD MENU

Breakfast 3 rashers of fried bacon, 2 fried eggs, buttered bun, fried slice lunch Beans on 4 slices of buttered toast and finish kids' food dinner Spag bol, garlic bread, grated cheese, two glasses of wine nights out Few pints of beer, a bag of crisps or nuts, kebab, burger or curry snacks Pasties, sandwiches, scotch eggs.

NEW MENU

Breakfast Sauteed mushrooms and poached egg or two, 2 slices of wholemeal toast. Lunch Homemade tomato, basil and chilli soup, vegetables. Dinner Gobi saag curry, rice, poppadoms or homemade kebab and salad snacks Fruit, pickles including pickled onions treats Glass of red wine or bottle of beer.

CAPTION(S):

SLIM Fat Neil, is now down to 13st ENORMOUS Neil on holiday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2011
Words:457
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