A Greater Anglia train driver and conductor have inspired thousands of rail workers to look after their health by sharing their weight loss journey at an industry event.
Dean Barnes, 37, a driver, and Al Collis, 35, a conductor, both work on the Greater Anglia routes out of Ipswich.
They teamed up to lose weight together and even launched a YouTube channel about their progress to keep each other motivated and inspire others.
On 4 and 5 November they shared their story at the rail industry’s Rail Wellbeing Live event to inspire 9,000 other participants to focus on their own health and wellbeing.
Dean had reached around 16.5 stone and Al 20.5 stone in weight and, in conversations with each other, discovered that their weight was making them unhappy and becoming a problem for their health and relationships.
Both had tried various diets for years with little success, but it had been made worse by Covid-19 and becoming less busy at work.
Together they decided to they needed to focus on losing weight and staying positive, so they teamed to start a YouTube and Twitter channel where they could talk about their issues with weight and how they were going to tackle them practically in their everyday lives.
Since August, Dean and Al have been using their videos to motivate themselves and set challenges from setting personal meal plans to running 60 miles in a month, and even testing apps and technology aimed at helping them keep fit.
The videos are filmed once a week in and around where they live and work.
They are now 12 weeks into a 52-week plan during which they hope to shed at least 3 stone each.
Dean said: “Driving a train can be lonely, which is partly why I eat a lot at work. We’ve both got families and we decided we needed to lose fat and get fitter but finding a way of doing it where we wouldn’t fail like we had in the past so many times.
“The YouTube channel was really Al’s idea and it was our way of getting us motivated and keeping us accountable to losing weight and so far, fingers crossed, it seems to be working.
“Wellbeing is really important in the rail industry, especially during these trying times with Covid and I hope our example inspires others to tackle the issues that affect them”.
Al said: “Dean and I got fed up with our weight not going down after various attempts individually so we made a pact with each other that we could become fit and healthy for the sake of ourselves, our families and each other. The videos we make together are our experiences of trying to lose weight in the real world and there’s certainly no fake glamour to what we do. So far, we’re on track to achieve our goals and with hundreds of followers already, we are hoping to inspire others too.”