A MINISTER who was nicknamed ‘runt of the family’ before ballooning to over 20st has been crowned Slimming World’s Man of the Year after shedding a staggering eight stone in eight months.

Danny Crosby, from Altrincham, was spurred into shifting the pounds after attending his nephew’s wedding last summer, where he felt self-conscious about his size and embarrassed at seeing family members for the first time in years.

A trip to Alton Towers also took its toll on Danny’s confidence, when he was forced to sit in a special seat reserved for larger ride users.

The wedding was the turning point for Danny, who ministers at Dunham Road Unitarian Chapel, Altrincham, and Queens Road Unitarian Free Church, Urmston.

Messenger Newspapers:

Danny when he weighed in at over 20st. Scroll down to see how he looks today

The 44-year-old said: “It was a very joyful occasion but in the midst of all the happiness I hit emotional rock bottom. I felt like everyone was commenting on my size and patting my stomach.

“I hated seeing the pictures and videos of myself and when I came home I was determined to do something about my weight. My sister was a Slimming World member and had spent the weekend of the wedding talking about the merits of it to me – she was very worried about my health – so I decided to give it a go.”

Danny hadn’t always been overweight and was even teased by his stepfather, who called him the ‘runt of the family’. That all changed as Danny reached his mid-20s.

“I was born with back problems and always felt self-conscious about the way I walked and ran so I feared I’d be ridiculed if I went to the gym and developed a bit of a phobia of exercise," he said. 

"In a way, because I felt small and weak becoming larger in weight gave me a sense of being bigger and stronger.”

Three days after the family wedding, in July 2015, 6ft Danny joined Altrincham Slimming World group at The Cresta Court Hotel, weighing in at 20st 4lbs.

By April 2016 – just eight months later – Danny had achieved his goal of losing eight stone, which has earned him the title of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2016.

Messenger Newspapers:

Danny before his dramatic weight loss (left) and (right) how the Slimming World Man of the Year looks today

He has also shed 12 inches from his chest and waist and overcome his phobia of exercise.

“Perhaps the greatest thing that’s happened as a result of my weight loss is the way it’s lifted my self-esteem and self-worth,” said Danny, who has maintained his target weight of 12st 4lbs.

“I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and my family are very proud too, especially my sister. I’m no longer ashamed of myself and my physical being and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.”

And Danny has heaped praise on his Altrincham class, which he still attends.

“The group was such a healthy, mutually supportive environment,” he said. “You definitely get out what you put into the group, I never miss a week and I’ve learned so much from the more experienced Slimming World members. I’m still surprised when people ask me for advice or describe me as an inspiration, but it’s a nice feeling to be able to help others now.”

What Danny ate before: 

Breakfast: Sugar puffs with semi-skimmed milk and toast with marmalade or marmite, with a glass of fruit juice

Lunch: Ham salad baguette, cheese and onion pasty, a packet of crisps and another glass of fruit juice

Dinner: Takeaway chicken and chips or a frozen microwave meal, with slices of bread, butter and cheese with a fizzy drink. Followed by cheese and crackers, chocolate and more fruit juice later in the evening

Snacks: Crisps, chocolate, biscuits, sweets, coffees from coffee shops with full-fat milk, bread, pasties and lots of fruit juice.

What Danny eats now:

Breakfast: Porridge made with skimmed milk and mixed berries, followed by red grapefruit, oranges and apples

Lunch: A homemade ham and mushroom omelette with salad

Dinner: Grilled lean steak with a baked potato and mixed vegetables

Snacks: Fat-free yogurts, lots of fresh fruit, fish sticks, a chocolate hob nob and some sherbet lemons.