If you’ve not guessed from the title of this post, I’m fat. I’m really, really fat. My BMI is (literally) off the chart at 42.1 putting me firmly in the obese category. Shameful. Embarrassing.
For the avoidance of doubt, I hate being this size. I struggle with anxiety and depression and my weight and physical appearance play a huge part in this. Tying my shoelaces is an effort, I get out of breath putting the bins out and I can’t remember the last time I bought clothes from the high street.
I’m sick of being the ‘big lad’ and I’ve been fat for so long that many of my friends have only ever known me as overweight. When I have moments of clarity, this really isn’t the version I me I think I am, but I’ve been battling with my weight for so long that inevitably, I feel it’s starting to define me as a failure, which permeates the rest of my life..
The tragic thing is that I’ve been here before. Numerous times over the last 15 years I’ve promised myself, my girlfriend (now wife) and friends that I’m going to get fit and healthy (“you just wait and see!, I’ll be slim for our holiday/wedding/birth of our son”). But I haven’t got fit and healthy. I’ve got fatter and fatter and fatter I’ve failed numerous ‘weight loss challenges’, missed loads of running events that I’ve signed up for and never taken my t-shirt off on holiday because I’ve never lost the weight I said I would. Man, this isn’t even my first blog post about the topic.
When I think it about it – properly think about it – it’s hard to put into words how much being slim and healthy would affect me. A slim me feels so alien that it generates the same feelings that I get when I imagine winning the lottery or scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final – great but ultimately unattainable.
But when I do let myself dream, it’s fair to say a slim version of me would be be life changing; Pride in myself, pride from my family, actually enjoying going clothes shopping and having energy to get up early and go for early morning walks. I will be able to get up hills in the lake district without having to stop every 10 yards, I will be able to do park runs with the very real goal of improving my PBs, I wouldn’t be out of breath going up stairs or get sweaty fastening my shoe laces, and I would be able to maximize my life with my son and give me the best possible chance of seeing him grow up.
That last sentence is the killer. I’m 41 now and realising that I may only have 30 or so more summers left. Time is of the essence.
Things have to change.
So how am I going to do this? Well, with the help of an amazing coach I’ve condensed months (years?) of thinking and struggling and talking and reading into a list with some accompanying emojis. The items on this list have come to represent my golden rules if you like, which alongside discipline and a positive outlook, will see me finally change my life.
💤 SLEEP. Sleep is so important. I was told by my coach that if nutrition and exercise are the building bricks to weightloss, then sleep is the foundation. I have discovered this is the absolute truth. So, I am aiming to get 8 hours a night (10ish to 6ish) and then attack the day.
🧘♂️ MEDITATE. I use the headspace app and need it in my life. Every morning for 10 minutes sets me up for the day and has so many advantages.
👣 STEPS. Being more active is also key to being healthier and happier. We have a dog so taking him out is a great motivator. I’m aiming for 7,143 steps a day (about 3 and a bit miles in real terms) as this equates to 50,000 a week, which I think for a man of my size, is a pretty good benchmark.
🍕 TAKEAWAYS. My big achilles heal. So I am going to limit these to TWO a month. I am not going to remove them completely because I find that just creates cravings and who doesn’t like a takeaway? Takeaways can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle and with busy lives can be an enjoyable and easy option. But I can’t rely on them or reach for them when the going gets tough. So 2 a month it is.
✍ WRITE. Over the last few months I’ve really found writing has helped me untangle the shit in my head. It perhaps comes from the fact I have a stammer and so the written word lets me communicate exactly how I want , but whatever it is, I’m going to do more of it. Planning my days and weeks also is of huge benefit. Writing things down tends to mean I stick to things, and who doesn’t feel a sense of satisfaction crossing an item off a list?
🏃♂️ RUN. I’m going to get out and run 3 times a week. In the early days it ain’t going to be pretty and it’s certainly not going to be fast but it’s something I’ve enjoyed in the past (I’ve completed 3 marathons) and want to do so again. Will help getting those steps up, too.
📖 SELF IMPROVEMENT. Reading (or listening to) one self help book per month is my target. This is something I enjoy and the best ones can be truly enlightening.
🧮 CALORIES. All of the above is great, but if I’m eating 5,000 calories a day then I’m not going to get very far. So I will be using Nutracheck (which is loads better than My Fitness Pal in my very humble opinion) to help me aim towards a calorie deficit. In the past I have been completely caught up in the micro-detail of calorie counting but going forward it’s simply going to be a tool in my tool belt that can help me towards my goals.
And the big one, which sort of pulls all of the above together …
📈 1% BETTER ALWAYS. Small consistent improvements every single day are the absolute key to all this. 1.01^365 = 37.8, but 0.99^365 = 0.03. Compounded over time, just a 1% shift in attitude, habits and behaviour can have can have huge, life changing differences.
So there we are, my personal health manifesto laid out on the internet for all to see. This is going to be hard. It’s not going to happen over night, there’s going to have to be sacrifices and there’ll be times when I want to give up. But it really is now or never for me and as Marcus Aurelius wrote in his meditations:
Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.