This was me in January 2010.
I had never taken my weight seriously (nor my hair apparently) until shortly after this photo. I weighed in at 118kg (260lbs), which means at 178cm isn’t necessarily the biggest person you would have seen, but it cemented me well and truly amongst the increasing obese demographic. How did I get this way? How did I not see an issue until this point?
As child and early in my teenage years, I was always very active – at one point I was swimming in squads, playing Rugby League, and refereeing it as well. But with an increased activity, an increased appetite usually follows. Your body demands energy for all the work it is doing – but as a child you obviously don’t really understand this side of things. All I knew was after swimming training was that I was hungry, and the 7/11 on the way home had a delicious, large, iced doughnut.
One after another, my activities slowly decreased. I quit swimming (who needed it, I wasn’t going to be an Olympian), then a finished up playing Rugby League (I wasn’t looking to be an NRL footballer, so why continue?), and then I partially tore ligaments in my knee and took a time off refereeing as well. When I got back into it a lot of damage had already been done. With high school finishing with exams and then university following, my studies took priority refereeing – and the break from abusive parents made it an easier question.
Problem was that my eating habits were the same. At no point did it occur to me that I shouldn’t be eating as much as I was – I mean, I wasn’t eating the doughnut anymore because it wasn’t on my way home but of course there were always food available at University, on the way home, going out with friends, etc.
So why did I start my weight loss journey in January 2010? If I hadn’t worried about it before, then why did I now? Honestly, to this day I’m not entirely sure. I had my mum tell me she was worried about my weight, but it wasn’t just her. She had said it before. There was obviously something inside me that was ready for change, and that it wasn’t health to be the weight I was – and to be living the way I was.
It all started with a diet. I knew I couldn’t do the fad diets – you always hear how they didn’t work, even though the quick and easy option would have been fantastic. I had put it in my head, it will be a slow and difficult process, but at the end I could get back to eating ‘normally’. Obviously, I had a lot to learn about fat loss and maintenance.
After about 8 weeks, I was down 10kg down to 108kg. This came solely from a change in my diet. Gone was soft drinks, fried foods, fast foods, and in their place came salad, some vegetables, and palm-sized servings of meat – and actually eating breakfast. Losing that first 10kg felt great, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I had made an appointment with the Obesity Clinic at Westmead Hospital.
It is obviously daunting walking into a place called an ‘Obesity Clinic’. They weighed me, I met with a nutritionist, and discussed exercise with another. They seemed happy with my progress so far, my weight loss to date was a good start, my diet looked fairly good but I needed to get more fats into my diet (Salmon? Yuck!), and exercise needed to start.
The next day, I had joined a gym (which also had a pool), and I began to attend the gym 3 days a week. Small steps first, some treadmill, bike, elliptical, and some swimming. I was paranoid I was being looked at in the gym – “Look at that fatty, can’t jog on the treadmill for more than 5 minutes”. There were definitely days I didn’t feel like going to the gym and I didn’t. But many of those days I still did – and they usually ended up being my better sessions.
Back to the Obesity Clinic, and I had lost another 7kg in 4 weeks. 101kg – so close to being under 100kg since… I don’t even know when, because I hadn’t weighed myself to see how much I was gaining. I had started exercise, and made the changes to my diet they suggested and it was paying off for me. They were confident I was well on my journey, and said that I wouldn’t be required to come back for a follow up – unless I felt I needed it.
I had broken the 100kg mark not long after, and about 6 weeks after that – I dropped below 90kg. Sure, I was slimmer, and looked better in smaller clothes – but I didn’t look like someone who was a gym regular. I knew I had to bite the bullet and start doing weights – but there were so many concerns going through my head. “People will laugh at me not being able to lift a lot”, “What if I’m doing it all wrong”, “What do I actually do?!”
Slowly, but surely, I started to venture into weights. Reading as much as I could about what exercises I should be doing, what rep ranges to achieve what goal. Before I knew it, a gym session usually involved a bit of cardio work followed by 20-30 minutes of weights. My weight was still going down, but started to slow. Some weeks I didn’t lose any weight. There was still weight to lose – I mean I was 84kg. I tried a lot of things, even less than what I was, bought a thermogenic supplement to help ‘burn fat’. I certainly looked better, but why wasn’t the weight going – how could I get into the healthy BMI range if I couldn’t lose anymore.
It was here that my true lesson in training, nutrition, and fat loss really began to take shape. As I was searching for answers, I tried a lot of different diets, supplements, training techniques, some worked and a lot didn’t. I was creating excel spreadsheets to track my weight and I was tracking my calorie intake.
Eventually, I reached the lowest weight I would hit.
76 kilograms in November 2011. I was obviously a lot healthier than the 118kg I weighed close to two years prior. But I really wanted to look fit, rather than just thin.
I took my self-education further, worked out solely on weights, tried various diets, began supplementing much more. Again, I tried things that worked and things that didn’t. I began Mixed Martial Arts training, which I was doing two hour-long sessions most days of the working week, and swimming on the weekends. I completed a Tough Mudder. Eating more, but exercising a lot again.
I ended up here:
Around 79kg and about 14% body fat in April 2014. I’m not the most muscular person you will see, but you can tell I’m athletic. I’m still learning and trialing diets, and training methodologies, and my understanding of nutrition and supplementation has gone beyond a mere interest into a passion.
It is because I have had my own weight loss journey since the beginning of 2010, because I’ve managed to keep the weight off successfully in the following 4 years, because I’ve tried many things which have worked and failed, and because I’m willing to learn that I have decided to start this blog.
I want to offer readers a good insight into the psychological and physiological insight into fat loss, muscle building, and health maintenance, as well as break down the learning barriers and cut through the bullshit salesmanship of diets and supplements.
Most of all, I hope to help someone like me in January 2010 begin their journey with the knowledge I’ve already learnt, but also inspire them to seek out even more knowledge, prove me wrong and teach me something new.