Staying in shape is important. It’s crucial for us to stay healthy, look good and in turn feel good. I’m sad to say that for a long time in my life I didn’t pay enough attention to looking after myself. Eventually something had to give and for me that day come on Saturday 28th July 2012 when I had the great pleasure of being a best man at the wedding of one of my closest buddies.
The day saw me squeeze into the morning suit I wore for my own wedding in 2010. That was a tight squeeze. In the intervening two years I’d managed to add another 21lb in weight to my already considerable size. Weighing in at a whopping 19st 1lb (267lb or 121kg). On the day, it was only through much sucking-in and deep breathing that I could fit into the size XXL waistcoat hired for the occasion.
Somewhere in my mind however I didn’t quite see the enormous guy in the ill-fitting get-up. What I saw was somewhere between Daniel Craig and Carey Grant working the room and looking magnificent!
I was absolutely mortified when I saw photos of the day and finally after a decade of weight gain which had seen me reach almost 23st (322lb or 146kg) in 2007. Like most overweight people I’d had eschatological dreams about losing weight, tried things like expensive gym memberships and then given up when a new life failed to appear. This time however, I was ready for the challenge.
At 32 losing weight was sure to only get tougher as time went on. I wanted to wear fashionable clothes and be proud of how I look. There were things I’d always wanted to do which would get more difficult with age, such as running a marathon (I’ve since run a couple).
Most significantly however, my son had been born a few months earlier and I wanted to have the energy to keep up with him, to play sport with him and ultimately be a dad of whom he could be proud.
It was time to get serious so over the next few weeks changes were made. Breakfast became a regular ritual, lunches got smaller, carbs reduced, drinking at home banished, Coca Cola consumption reduced.
I started running more, cycling to the train station, walking shorter bus/car/tube journeys. By October I’d lost some weight, by Christmas 2012 I’d dropped two shirt sizes, by the following March clothes were fitting in shops where previously an XXL was a squeeze. In April I bought a pair of trousers five sizes down from where I’d been in July last year. In nine months I’d lost five and a half stone in weight (77lb or 35kg). A triumph!
There’s no great dieting secret to pass on I’m afraid. Sheer motivation was what got me through. Christmas time was made easy because I had flu and didn’t want to eat anyway. At times, losing weight became an all-consuming obsession which I guess was a necessary evil. I’m not sure how healthy it is to weigh yourself over five times a day though.
My lifestyle changed too. Running and cycling are here to stay. I bought a new road bike in May 2013 and upgraded it in April 2015. I have four bikes now and ride them all the time. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about cycling but you need to know that I’ve developed a close relationship with Lycra over the last few years.
The diet was a resounding success and on the last weekend in July 2013, 52 weeks after the diet began I attended the wedding of another good friend. This time, I weighed in at 13st 11lb (193lb or 87kg).
I’ve had to work hard to keep off the wright since then. It’s been well over three years since I completed the weight-loss and my weight has been up and down. It’s never got anywhere near the level it used to be though and I still manage to look good in my Lycra.
What is important to me now, as a 37-year-old man is the importance of looking after my body. I’ll be writing about this a lot as we go through the blog. The bike is important to me, as I know it is to an increasing number of men and women my age. Likewise, I understand the importance of challenging myself physically and pushing my physical boundaries a little. At work, I’m in an office all day so getting outside and letting off some steam is crucial for my sanity.
Alongside that, being in good shape enables me to look good which in turn helps me feel good. I feel a damn sight better than I did back in 2012.