Having been bullied his ‘whole life’ over his weight which had a detrimental impact on his confidence, Daniel Ferens decided something had to change.
The 34-year-old who lives in Fermanagh decided to embark on a fitness routine and hoped that previous failed attempts would spur him on this time.
Determined to make a change in his life, Daniel started exercising at a local gym and with the help of a local personal training duo who coached him, he shed 7.5 stone in year and a half.
He told Belfast Live: “All my life I’ve been overweight, since I was born, and when you’re young you don’t see it as much of a problem, but as you get older it affects you. All my life I was bullied over my weight and it grounds your confidence to zero and that’s how I felt my whole life.
“I tried doing exercise without adjusting my diet and that didn’t work because as I know now, that will never work. There was just one day when I just decided I wanted to completely get myself together and be determined to lose the weight.
“I tried loads of times before and failed, but when I started a local gym I started to think about changing my diet, and at first I was just focused on building some muscle, and the couple who run the gym, I started following their diet plans and did some personal training sessions and that’s how it started.
“I was also on a keto diet as well, which is a full fat diet where your body is taking energy from the fats rather than the carbohydrates. I was just determined to do it, to keep going and I did.”
Working full-time as a chef at the time, temptation was everywhere for Daniel, but the more he started to get into a routine at the gym, the more he realised fitness could be a new career path for him.
“I started doing one PT a week and I ended up doing four PT sessions a week. It wasn’t about going very hard on yourself, it’s more about the routine. I previously worked as a chef, I found it very hard to lose the weight at that stage as I was surrounded by food and desserts all day so I did my level two and three personal training and now am working with my own clients.
“I work in Smart Gym in Lisnaskea, and the couple who trained me to lose the weight, I’m now working for them in their gym which they opened about a year and a half ago. I dropped my work as a chef because I got so busy with my clients in the gym I couldn’t physically do two jobs. My work as a personal trainer is to help people and give them the motivation to reach their fitness goals.”
Daniel went from weighing more than 19 stone to 11.8 stone and he noticed huge health benefits too, but he insists his new way of living doesn’t mean he can’t have the food he enjoys.
“I also had very high blood pressure before I lost the weight and now that’s gone. Loads of people make the mistake of use diets to break their normal eating habits, but for me diet has to become your lifestyle, you can still have your treats, I love pizza and I still have that once a week but it’s all about balance, you have to treat the bad foods as a break in your lifestyle.
“I’m very happy now, it’s a completely different life for me,” he added
Offering advice to anyone who is thinking of embarking on their own fitness or weight loss journey, Daniel said: “The first thing you have to do is ensure you’re committed in your head, ditch the excuses like you don’t have time.
“You have to make the decision yourself and don’t do too hard on yourself, just take it nice and easy and don’t expect results overnight. Don’t change everything at once, don’t do the full diet, quit alcohol, quit smoking, start the gym all at once, take it step by step.
“And lastly, take progress photos, it’s so important from the beginning, as they are going to be your additional motivation throughout it all.”
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