I guess this is where I tell my story.
It all started around 12 years ago. I was 20 years old, and I was and still am a bit of a thrillseeker. I love a good roller coaster, thrill ride, you name it I wanted to try it. Alton Towers had recently opened “air” – a new type of rollercoaster which gave you the sensation that you were flying. I’d been eagerly anticipating the opening of this ride ever since it was announced, and shortly after it opened I drove up with 3 friends.
After queuing up to go on the ride for almost two hours, it was finally time to get on the ride. I squeezed myself in, pulled down the harness… and it didn’t close. An attendant came along and tried to push down on the bar, and it still wouldn’t close. I was too fat for the ride. Humilated, I got off the ride while my space was filled by someone else. I was utterly dejected for the whole day and when I get home I told my mum. And I cried. And cried. And cried.
Truth be told, I’d never realised how big I had gotten. I knew I was a 42 inch waist (And they were tight). I was never a hit with the ladies anyway but wasn’t quite sure why, and I don’t really ever looking in a mirror aside from doing my hair.
It was a horrible day, a horrible night. I haven’t thought about it too much in the 12 years that have passed, and writing about it now, emotionally, i can still really feel that same feeling I felt.
I knew it couldn’t go on, and I knew something had to change. I looked in the mirror and was disgusted with myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but that mirror was responsible for the good and the bad of any weight loss journey. Good, that it inspired me to want to lose weight. But it was also the start of a rather unhealthy body image issue which I still haven’t quite got to grips with. But thats a story for another day.
The next day, my mum and I signed up for Weight Watchers. It felt so embarrassing. I was one of only a few men there, and the only others were in there 40s. But it was an important first step. That first weigh in broke the ice, and the thought of having to weight myself with all these other people provided good motivation to stick with the plan. And it gave me that important starting point which I still to this day refer to as my starting weight.
It meant nothing to me. Apparently it meant I had a BMI of 36.9, but I didn’t realise the gravity of the task ahead until the meeting leader explained that the top end of my target weight was 14st 10lbs for a BMI of 25. That meant losing over 7 stones in weight.
I stuck with Weight Watchers for about a year, and it worked. The weight started falling off, very quickly at first – I lost half a stone in the first week. It felt great, and I was really seeing the results with the numbers falling week by week. In total with weight watchers I lost about 5 stone in that year.
An increase in confidence through this period meant, eventually I got a girlfriend. Delighted, I stopped going to the meetings as romance played its course. I got a bit comfortable and ended up putting back on over a stone. Eventually, we broke up which caused me to put more weight on.
Looking back now, I can see that the diet alone wasn’t enough to teach me about making healthy choices or permanent life changes. You’d think I’d learn from my mistakes. Well you’d be wrong!
I went back to the diet to shift the weight. Between 2006 and 2007 I managed to get close to that elusive goal weight (Which, as I write this I should add, I am still 3lbs away) and was a mere 10lbs from that target. Feeling awesome that I was so close, I was confident and ended up with another girlfriend. Yep. I put the weight back on. This time about a stone. Then we broke up. And guess what, more weight! Another stone!
Something wasn’t working. I was depressed, in a rut, felt bad about my weight and the way I looked. I was drinking a lot and went through a 2-3 year period of drinking 3-4 times a week. Shocking I know, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world as I made some great friends that helped me through an incredibly tough time. Believe it or not, even with the drinking I managed to shed a lot of the weight – To about a stone from target. And this was because one of those friends, who I drank heavily with on a near daily basis, introduced me to something that would change my life.
It was called Couch to 5k….