Home » Chapel Minister Dylan looking forward to future with new partner after TV show saved his life
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Chapel Minister Dylan looking forward to future with new partner after TV show saved his life

A 26 stone chapel minister who was so overweight and unfit doctors told him it would be too dangerous to run is now playing squash regularly.

According to the Rev Dylan Parry, who hails from Caernarfon and now lives in Bridgend, a strict eating and fitness regime saved his life and drastically improved his sky high blood pressure and sleep apnoea – and helped him find a new partner.

Dylan, 34, was one of the stars of the life-changing TV show FFIT Cymru on S4C, along with four others keen to turn their lives around.

At the start of the series, made by Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da, he weighed in at weighed 26 st 11lbs.

But after seven weeks of detailed advice and support on diet and exercise on FFIT Cymru, Dylan lost more than three stone in weight.

Since the end of the series he’s dropped another stone and is in a much happier state of mind about himself and has found a new partner to share his life.

Dylan revealed his amazing progress in a special catch-up programme, FFIT Cymru 2023 – 6 Mis Wedyn (FFIT Cymru 2023 – 6 Months After).

He said: “Before FFIT Cymru I just existed but now I live, and live life to the fullest and am enjoying every second.

“I’m much happier in my skin. I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror. I hated what I saw and FFIT Cymru has helped me look at myself more positively.

“Comparing myself now to the start of the series I’m not the same person in terms of fitness, in terms of mental health, in terms of the way I look at food. 

“Seeing I was able to improve from the very start motivated me to carry on and the way I feel now is something that can’t be put into words It means everything to me. Without doubt FFIT Cymru has saved my life.”

During medical tests before the start of the series Dylan’s blood pressure was found to be so high he was not allowed to take part in some physical exercises. 

But as his weight reduced and his fitness levels improved he took part in strenuous activities such as mountain biking, running and coasteering.

Dylan, who is the Minister of two churches in Bridgend and Porthcawl, added: “I monitor my blood pressure weekly and it is much better than what it was this time last year. I’m sleeping a lot better too and don’t wake up as often during the night. 

“Previously I was carrying weight around my neck which was affecting my breathing. Having lost weight this has improved and because I’m sleeping better I have more energy during the day.

“One of the things I’ve been doing in the last six months is going back to the exercise plan and the Couch to 5k, something I wasn’t allowed to do at the start because my blood pressure was too high. I can do it now and I enjoy running. 

“I’ve started playing squash and I wouldn’t have been able to imagine being able to do that and thanks to the FFIT Cymru scheme it’s working.

“I never imagined I would be so happy as I am now. The way I feel now is something that cannot be put into words It means everything to me and is something I’m determined to work on in the future.”

Since the end of the series Dylan has started a new relationship with Serkan Aksin who appears in the programme.

Serkan said: “I am so delighted to see Dylan more lively and always looking for a next challenge but it’s a long journey ahead, it’s not a short term fix plan but at the moment it’s so far so good.”

Fellow participant Matthew Rees left his job as an accountant to run the family business – a butcher’s shop in Carmarthen market.

The 46-year-old is tall and statuesque but piled on the weight in the last six years after two serious illnesses – sepsis four years ago and a clot on his lung due to Covid-19. 

At the start of the series Matthew weighed 26st 1lbs and six months later, despite a summer ‘wobble’ weighs 23st 5lbs, a weight loss of more than two stone.

He said: “People who have a near-death experience come from the hospital as if they have had a second chance but I went the other way and enjoyed drinking and eating. I had to sort myself out, turn the corner and go back to where I was and better.

“FFIT Cymru has given me the confidence to do things I know I can do. I’ve come a long way and learned to trust my body again.

“After being on FFIT Cymru I have the confidence to go out and promote the business. 

“We’ve opened a new shop, a deli in Carmarthen market where we sell food items from across Wales.

“I’ve taken our own Carmarthen ham to food festivals and at the Abergavenny Food Festival in September we got best in show! That comes from the confidence I’ve had by going through the FFIT Cymru process.”

Before taking part in the series, Matthew didn’t feel fit enough to coach the junior Nantgaredig rugby and football teams. He said the other coaches were running after the children while he just stood on the sidelines. But now Matthew says he is much more active.

“Because I am fitter and trust myself more with my body after FFIT Cymru I can be more involved with the boys on the rugby field. Instead of shouting from the side I am more involved and can show them what to doing rather than saying means a lot to them,” he said.

“During the series the motivation was there but I’m back in real life now so I have to motivate myself and keep myself in check.

“I now know what needs to be done in order to improve myself again. It’s a little switch and FFIT Cymru have shown me where that switch is. I’ll switch it on and be back on track again,” he said.

Cwmni Da producer Caryl Burke said the sixth series of FFIT Cymru had been very successful.

She said: “The five individuals who took part did so for very different reasons. Some wanted to lose weight and get fit while others wanted to regain fitness or to get assistance with restoring their confidence levels.

“We’re pleased all of them managed to attain their goals within the seven week series and have gone on to maintain or improve on their goals since then.

“We wish them all the very best in the future,” she said.

FFIT Cymru 2023 – 6 Mis Wedyn, will be repeated on S4C in the New Year and is available for streaming on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other platforms. In addition all eight programmes of the 2023 FFIT Cymru series are available as a box set on S4C Clic. English subtitles are available.