October 26th 2016
Ever since I was born at a weight of over ten pounds, I’ve been bigger than the average person. At junior school I was known as Flubber (after the eponymous bouncing, jiggling ball of goo from the 1997 film), and I reigned as the permanent champion in the heavyweight division of our lunchtime wrestling federation due to limited competition because so few others were hefty enough to qualify. As a teenager, I would cook up and scoff down huge meat-filled omelettes with friends after school, or buy bags of chocolate-filled doughnuts with any spare change we could scrape together. We even pioneered the infamous ‘Mars Bar Challenge’, in which challengers would attempt to consume four king-size Mars bars – ludicrously containing over fifteen-hundred calories in total – in as quick a time as possible. As you may have guessed, my record went unbeaten (technically, at least – the only person to beat me threw up afterwards, disqualifying his effort).
At no point during my teen years did my age exceed my weight, which peaked at a shamefully massive twenty-one stone after I’d spent several months working at a cinema, eagerly taking advantage of the fifty-percent staff discount on popcorn, sweets and ice cream at every opportunity. I hadn’t been too bothered about my size up to that point – I’d just wanted as much sugary, greasy goodness as possible with no regard for the consequences – but by then I was eighteen years old and it was starting to become problematic and upsetting, so I decided to do something about it.
I replaced syrupy fruit squash with water, stopped snacking on giant overflowing bowls of sugary cereal every two hours, and started paying attention to portion size and calorie intake. It took a lot of hard work to break the cycle and the habits that had formed over the years, but before long I was making progress. The weight came off pretty quickly back then; the sudden change in diet combined with a teenage metabolism – and the fact that I had a lot to lose – meant that it only took a few months to drop three stone.
Despite the results, I became complacent and began to lose motivation and momentum, stalling at around eighteen stone. Fortunately I was able to make enough positive changes stick so that I maintained weight rather than putting any back on, but it took another three years or so before I would really get back to work at becoming fit. A physical job stacking shelves overnight at a supermarket provided a decent amount of regular exercise, and I made an effort to get back into a habit of healthier eating too. I also invested in a pair of dumbbells and started a home workout routine to help retain as much muscle mass as possible.
It was during this time that my fitness mission was most successful, as I reached fourteen stone – my lowest weight in probably about ten years – by the time I was twenty-three. Discipline and dedication had paid off and I had hit my goal of losing an entire third of my previous mass. I looked and felt great, all my clothes had become too big, and I received noticeably increased attention from women. I was definitely happier and more confident, so all the work I’d put in was absolutely worth it.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. My weight crept back up by a stone over the following eighteen months, but the real setback came at the start of last year. Stuck in hospital for three weeks with an intestinal disease, I was unable to eat much and my weight dropped considerably. It was not healthy loss though, I became weak and barely had the strength to walk at the worst point, so as part of my recovery I was instructed to eat plenty of calorie-dense food. I ended up going too far and getting back into some terrible eating habits, and gained back over twice as much as I’d lost while ill over the course of the year.
This brings us to the start of 2016, and I was back up to seventeen-and-a-half stone. I’ve been working at getting back on track ever since, with mild success. I’ve spent the last few months floating between sixteen and sixteen-and-a-half stone, but now I’m determined to get back on track and down to where I was three years ago. I’m hoping that writing about it will help to keep me focused and inspired, while also allowing me to track my progress and share tips and encouragement with others. Going from fat to fit is a difficult and challenging process, but it’s also very straightforward and ultimately rewarding – physically and mentally – and I strongly recommend putting in the work and effort to make it happen.