Huw Marshall – Dad of the Month, October 2017

I’ve been on a diet since I was 8 years old and have always struggled with my weight, so I understand how difficult it is to diet. It’s usually Mums and girls who discuss this issue, so I was really pleased when I discovered a new blog called Llond Bol by Huw Marshall, a 48 year old Father of 2 from South Wales. In his blog, Huw shares his day to day journey as he tries to lose weight.

Huw’s honesty and his willingness to share his experience opens our eyes to the fact that it’s equally hard for men to lose weight. We are so impressed with Huw, that we’ve decided to award him our Mam Cymru‘s Dad y Mis – Father of the Month Award, for October 2017!

In an interview with Huw, we learn more about his tough journey and how his daughters have  inspired him to lose weight for life;

When did you start dieting?

1987!!!!

What inspired you to lose weight?

I’d always been a big boy and after leaving school I lost some weight, but over the years the weight piled on. Whilst I was playing the part of Tony Evans in the S4C series Tipyn o Stad, I’d reached 25 stone, after a day of filming I sat in the car, put on the seat belt, it only just closed, I had to do something. I decided to move more and eat less, lost nearly 10 stone and ran the New York marathon. But since then the weight has crept on, periods of stability interspersed with big gains, a stone or two, usually during summer holidays, Christmas etc. When I got back from France at the end of August this year, I stood on the scales and was shocked to see that I was 22 stone. I started researching a regime that would work for me.

What diets have you tried in the past?

I had my biggest success with the Cambridge Weight Plan, I’d highly recommend it, especially to those who want to lose weight without having to do much thinking. I’ve dabbled with Slimming World and Weight Watchers, but what works for me is eating healthier (and by doing so, consuming less calories) and moving more. The biggest change this time is that I’m preparing all my own meals, and have become far more aware of what I’m actually eating, especially carbs. I log everything via the MyFitnessPal App and use a Fitbit to monitor my movements.

When and why did you start blogging about your journey?

I started in the new year this year, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to succeed. After the holidays, I started again as I was keen to share the experience, sharing the journey is cathartic and doing anything publicly makes you think much more about what you’re actually doing.

Are you hoping to inspire others to lead a healthy lifestyle?

To start with THE BLOG was just as a way of recording my progress and the process on a personal level, but having seen the response, I’m hoping people are learning from it and getting some inspiration.

What response have you had since launching the blog?

It’s quite funny, I’m meeting people on the street who are reading it, but the majority of the responses come via Facebook and Twitter, every response means a lot to me.

More and more men are talking about weight loss and body image these days, why is this?

I think we live in a different era, where men are more independent, we’re cooking more and have more practical skills, compared to our parents’ generation. We live in a more open society, it feels more natural somehow…

How has the weight loss benefited you so far?

One of the best things that’s happened since starting on the healthy living plan this summer, is that the foods I’m eating make me happier and more confident. Healthy food causes an increase in the chemicals that occur in your brain, and it makes you happy. I’ve also got bags more energy.

How has your new healthy diet and lifestyle affected your family life?

My daughters, Megan who’s 8 and Betsi who’s 4, are the main reason I’m doing this, they are my inspiration. I want to be around to see them grow up, I was also aware that on our holidays I was the only obese dad, next summer I’ll be the hunk in the trunks! Bethan my wife is obviously delighted, my clothes fit better so I look more presentable in public.

What advice would you give to other parents who want to lose weight?

Don’t be afraid to seek advice and help and only start when you’re in the right frame of mind. Think about what you’re eating now and what changes can you make straight away to change things, eat fewer carbs? Drink plenty of water and move more. And make the most of the latest technology, the MyFitnessPal App is a godsend.

What else is Huw Marshall up to right now?

Since leaving my job as a the Digital Manager for S4C, I’ve been developing a digital consultancy business, helping businesses and institutions develop new digital projects and operating more efficiently. I’m also developing a new community platform www.pobbl.wales currently raising finance form investors, and of course developing Yr Awr Gymraeg, The Welsh Hour with Dewi Eurig.

Mam Cymru would like to thank Huw Marshall for sharing his story with us, and I’m sure all the Mums in Wales and beyond wish him the best of luck on his weight loss journey – and we’ll be looking out for his hunk in trunks selfies next summer!

By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.

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