Challenge changed my life, says dad

Phil Bentham
Phil Bentham

A DEDICATED dad who has shed the pounds has transformed his lifestyle in seven weeks – all thanks to signing up to the Weigh Forward competition.

Before signing up to the weight-loss challenge, run by the Hartlepool Mail in partnership with Tavistock Leisure and personal trainer Steven Smith, Phil Bentham’s only way of keeping fit was karate sessions every week.

But now the 33-year-old is regularly out running – and that’s before the gruelling sessions he completes as part of the challenge.

The dad of Keaton, 11, and four-year-old JJ, weighed in at 16st 8lb when the challenge started but is expecting that to be significantly lower when he goes to be weighed tomorrow morning.

His waist size has already dropped from a size 38 to a 34.

Phil, who lives off Brierton Lane, also has the extra challenge of coping with Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel condition which can cause problems on a daily basis.

“I try not to let that impact on my life too much,” motivated Phil told the Mail.

“It’s something I have got and I have to live with it and move on every day, I don’t let it affect me too much.”

Phil doesn’t know how the condition will affect him on a day-to-day basis but he hasn’t let it bother him in the Weigh Forward challenge.

As well as completing sessions with personal trainer Steven and the 11 other participants, he has also been going out and training hard on his own and with fellow contestants.

“It’s been a real team effort and we are all close now,” said Phil, who runs Teesside Constructions Solutions with his partner, Mark Bentham, 39.

“The whole challenge has been really good.

“Steven has been excellent, mainly due to the fact that he treats us all as individuals and works on our programmes.

“Karate is my passion but before I signed up to this challenge I didn’t do any other exercise, now I’m doing all sorts in between.”

After tomorrow’s weigh-in the contestants have just two weeks until a winner is crowned, who will be handed an overnight hotel stay and two months free training with Steven while the runner-up will get one month’s free training. But Phil maintains he hasn’t even thought about winning the challenge, and is just enjoying his new lifestyle.

“What I would like to say is when this competition was first launched I was really anxious about going along,” added Phil.

“I felt like there was some kind of stigma attached to a weight-loss challenge.

“But it has been one of the best things I have done, I’m delighted I got involved and once the competition is finished I am going to carry on with what I am doing now.”