North Derbyshire taxi driver looks forward to Disney theme park rides with grandchildren after shedding an amazing 15st

Two men will be riding high at theme parks after shedding more than 25st between them.

By Gay Bolton
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 8:50 pm
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:32 am
John Holden has lost 10st 4lbs since joining Slimming World three yeas ago.
John Holden has lost 10st 4lbs since joining Slimming World three yeas ago.

Taxi driver Stephen Bradshaw, of New Tupton, who has shed 15st 8lbs from his 31st 10lbs bulk, is looking forward to fun-filled attractions in America’s Disney World with his grandchildren this year.

He said: “I can’t wait to go back to Florida to go on rides I dare not go on before in case I didn’t fit the seat.”

John Holden, of Langwith, has shed 10st 4lbs during a three-year journey which began when he weighed in at 26st 1lb.

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Taxi driver Stephen Bradshaw has lost 15st 8lbs since joining Slimming World just over two years ago.

Both men are members of the Langwith groups of Slimming World. Their incredible weight loss achievements have put them among the top five percent of 400,000 entries in the organisation’s nationwide Greatest Loser competition.

Stephen, 48, who lives at Queen Victoria Road, said that he had always been big but a skin condition forced him into making changes to his life. He said: “Psoriasis was putting my mental health in danger. I’m a happy chap but my skin was putting me in a dark place. My skin was in a really bad state before I started Slimming World.

"My hospital consultant said me eating healthy and losing weight was a big factor in my skin being back to normal.

"While we were in May 2020 mid-lockdown, my Mum passed away. And that actually made me more determined as she wanted me to keep going and be healthier. I used to phone her every week after I’d been to the Slimming World group to tell her how much I’d lost. And she always replied ‘Good, keep it up.’

Since shedding the pounds, Stephen has enjoyed walks with his wife, Kay, daughters Kyra and Roxy and grandchildren Shaye, Bradley and Ellis. He said: “Last February I walked 178 miles; before I started this journey I wouldn’t have done that in two years."

John Holden, 53, of New Scott Street, said: “I’ve struggled with my weight since the age of 19 after the sudden death of my father. I started comfort eating and drinking too much alcohol which led to me putting on loads of weight in a short space of time.

"Being overweight affected my life drastically. Because of my weight I was diagnosed with angina, high blood pressure, asthma and type 2 diabetes.” Ill-health meant that John was unable to continue working as a heating engineer.

He said: "The final straw came when I was 50 years old and I realised that I was at the age my father died of a major heart attack due to being really overweight.”

Since joining Slimming World, John’s health has improved dramatically and all his medication has been reduced. He said: “I’m more confident about myself and more outgoing. I’m able to take long walks with my partner and our dog.

"My main ambition is to eventually get back to work, which is now possible after losing the weight, and to keep the weight off.”

Both Stephen and John say one of the bonuses of their amazing weight loss is being able to walk into a shop and buy new clothes off the peg instead of having to order them online.

Vicky Morley, who runs the Langwith groups, said: “To be part of anyone's Slimming Journey is an absolute honour, both these members have embraced everything we offer and achieved amazing results - to see week by week both of them become happier and more confident versions of themselves has been an absolute privilege.”

Members of Slimming World groups are given techniques to empower and enable them to make their own behaviour changes through a variety of methods, including setting goals, making new decisions and developing skills to overcome barriers.

Stephen and John have shared their experiences to highlight new research examining the relationship between weight loss and mental toughness.

The study by the University of Lincoln revealed that members of Slimming World groups lost weight more successfully than a comparison group (who were aiming to lose weight without the support of a group). During the six months of the study, on average Slimming World members lost 2st 5lb more than those in the comparison group.

Their measures of mental toughness on average rose 10%, from a low to an average score in Slimming World group members, whereas the comparison group had no statistically significant change to their mental toughness.

The findings of the study, which was led by Dr Elizabeth Stamp, a lecturer at Loughborough University, come at a time when the UK population faces a spiralling obesity crisis and increased mental health challenges.

Government figures suggest more than 40% of adults in England gained weight during the pandemic with the average gain being half a stone (just over 4.1kg), while more than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during lockdown.

Dr Stamp said: “Mental toughness is about how someone copes with the challenges and stressors they face. More than that though, it is about seeking out and taking on new challenges. People who have a high mental toughness have skills like being able to break bigger goals into smaller achievable goals, being in control of their life and the decisions that they make and having the confidence to seek help when needed. These are abilities that people who have a lower mental toughness can develop, and mental toughness has been reported to benefit individuals in other aspects of their life, such as achieving social and educational goals.”