A couple whose shared love of takeaways and fast food left them weighing 19 stones lost 14 stones between themselves after discovering their engagement rings no longer fit.
Dan and Ryan Hathaway of Bury St. Edmunds put on weight after a vacation of their lives was cut short due to a family bereavement – until shock at their size eventually led them to change their lifestyle and lose weight.
33-year-old real estate agent Dan and 25-year-old Ryan, a hairdresser and college tutor, turned to comfort food.
However, after realizing their weight had increased to 19 stones each, they were horrified and vowed to get back in shape – and use each other as motivation to stay on track.
Dan said, “If we were alone it would have been really difficult, but we were there for each other.
“We could ricochet off each other. If either of us were low, we could joke about it – it was so important to support each other in this. “
On his heaviest, six-foot-tall dan, he weighed exactly 19 stones and gave him a BMI, or body mass index, which was used to measure a healthy weight of 36, which made him obese.
While his partner Ryan, 5ft 11 “, weighed a total of 19st 4lbs, he made his BMI 37.8, which is also classified as obese.
The couple, who met online in September 2014, signed up just two years later and swapped engagement rings in June 2016.
The two were busy, often working long hours, eating out and socializing with friends.
“We ate terribly,” said Ryan. “Instead of cooking, we’ve gotten into the habit of buying take-away at the end of the day.
“And because we’re both sociable, we often have friends – so that meant leftovers.”
To celebrate Dan’s 30th birthday in February 2018, the two planned a trip to the United States – and they were determined to lose weight for the most important milestone.
They planned to spend five nights in Las Vegas, followed by five days in New York City, places they had always dreamed of visiting together.
The pair lost two stones each – but it wasn’t sustainable.
Ryan added, “We were on a crash diet and we went down to 16 stones each – but when we got home it all went out the window.”
Unfortunately, after just a few nights in the US gambling capital enjoying casinos, nightclubs and restaurants, their vacation was interrupted by a family tragedy.
While relaxing on their trip, the couple received shocking news that Ryan’s younger sister, whom he prefers not to name, had died of complications due to her asthma.
Dan said, “She was only 13 years old. Losing siblings is terrible, but she was really special to us.
“Of course we broke off our vacation and returned home straight away.”
And in the weeks and months that followed, the couple turned to takeaways and fast food for convenience.
Soon they both piled on the pounds but were so busy with work and family life that they didn’t notice.
Ryan said, “We buried each other at work after my sister died.
“But we had neglected our health and gained a lot of weight. We didn’t know how much because we didn’t have a scale.”
And Dan added, “Because we’re both tall – we never saw it fully. We didn’t know how tall we’d got because friends told us we wore it well.
“But by November 2018, our engagement rings were back in the box because they were too tight to wear every day.”
Lockdown only added to their weight problems as Dan was absent from his job as a real estate agent during the first national lockdown in 2020.
He said, “Vacation, only being able to shop once a week, takeaway food, and the heat wave all gave us excuses to comfort ourselves with food.
“You know you’ve stepped into the serious overeating area when you spend £ 46 for two on McDonald’s drive-through – and then add a ‘car snack’ to eat on the way home.”
Reality hit in late June 2020 when a close friend of both men, Hannah, 30, walked in.
She brought a scale on Sunday, June 28, and was determined to get the couple to face their unhealthy habits.
Dan said, “She was clearly concerned about our weight gain and was bringing her old scales around.
“Libra said we were both 18 stone and that was a big shock.”
Ryan added, “It was then that we decided to do something about it.”
Annoyed by the news, they immediately began considering a diet plan, and thanks to a recommendation from a colleague of Ryan’s who opted for the Cambridge Weight Plan 1: 1 diet.
Dan and Ryan wasted no time and signed up first Monday morning, determined to get their food under control.
Dan said, “We knew that if we had thought about it, we wouldn’t have.”
And at a second weigh-in, done by a nutritionist that afternoon, there was another shock – the medical scales showed they were even heavier than they’d thought.
Ryan said, “It turned out we were both 19 stone.”
He continued: “We were horrified. But it was exciting to get our diet going. “
The couple embarked on an ambitious calorie counting program with just 800 calories a day and opted for step 1b of the Cambridge Weight Plan.
The pre-made options consist of four pre-made products containing 200 calories per day and will suit their busy lifestyle.
“It ranged from porridge, shakes, smoothies and bars to their own hearty meals,” said Ryan.
“You don’t have to weigh anything as everything was done for you – we didn’t have to worry about anything and the variety was nice.”
“In July and August last year when the restrictions were eased, you could go to a family event or see friends and just pull out a bar.”
And as the months progressed, the couple began to drop in weight, having dropped to their target weights of 12.5 pounds for Dan and 12 for Ryan by November, with both hitting healthy BMIs of 23.4 and 23.5, respectively.
The two were enthusiastic about their new slim figures – and were even accredited as nutritionists in Cambridge.
Dan said, “It was expensive to change our closets, now we can fit Jack Wills and Hollister clothes!”
And Ryan added, “It was so nice to wear things that we could never have dated before.
“On the other hand, we’ve never been so cold in our lives – when we were bigger we never felt the cold. It costs a fortune in heating bills.”
The couple also discovered a newfound love for exercise, which they described as “brand new,” which completed the Couch to 5K challenge in the summer of 2020.
“I don’t think I ever did any sports in school,” laughed Ryan. “I always had bad feet or something – we both always had notes.
“We removed a few stones first, so we didn’t walk with our joints, which are carrying a lot of extra weight.
“We’ll continue walking as soon as it’s not dark outside in the evening.”
And to Ryan and Dan’s delight, two years after taking off in November 2020, they were even able to put their engagement ribbons back on their slimmed-down ring fingers.
“It was never why we did it,” explained Ryan. “We lost the weight in order to change our lifestyle and our eating habits.
“But getting the rings out was a nice bonus.”