In 2015 I was very fat; technically very obese. I found it hard to find clothes that fitted me. I had to buy clothes from 'big and wide' websites. When you get to that sort of size the choices are limited and the clothes are pretty dull. Because of my shape clothes tended to hang around me, like a tent. Although I didn't realise it at the time, fat even affected my feet. I had to buy extra wide fitting shoes - again limiting my choice.
I had diabetes. I had had diabetes for many years, and I had it pretty badly. There are many negative consequences to having diabetes, including the possibility of amputations, kidney damage and blindness. I have something called diabetic neuropathy in my feet, which means that simultaneously I can't feel anything in my feet and they are constantly very painful.
I had depression. My depression was overwhelming and all consuming. It dominated my life. I took anti depressants, which managed to smother me in velvet blankets, blocking out the outside world and leaving me clutching my depression tightly to me. My life was vague, and making decisions was something that felt distant and far away.
I was drinking at least two bottles of wine a night. I probably wouldn't have admitted to it then, but I was probably an alcoholic. One of the drawbacks of drinking too much is that it is fattening: alcohol contains a lot of calories. It also helps to make you fuzzy. Combined with anti depressants the fuzz factor gets pretty high. Another drawback about drinking that isn't often mentioned is that it is pretty expensive.
The tipping points
I felt very old. I was very aware that the people who were my age dropping like flies. I was conscious of many little things that showed my age. I felt older than I actually was.
I was on holiday in Falmouth and I was having a bath. To my disgust I found that I couldn't get out of the bath. I was stuck. No matter how I tried to manouevre myself, I found that I was going nowhere. I was just too bulky and too weak. Obviously, I did manage to lever myself out, but it wasn't a happy experience.
One day I was sitting in my reclining chair with my feet up. I was writing something and I rested my biro on the ledge formed by the barrage balloon of my stomach. I looked down and thought 'this isn't right'. Talking of reclining chairs: they all have a weight limit. I exceeded that weight limited considerably. I broke one of the chairs just by being too heavy.
On the evening of September 17th 2015 I suddenly decided, for no good reason that I can think of, to do something about how I was. I decided to do three things. I decided to give up alcohol. I decided to reduce the amount I was eating. I decided to exercise.
I didn't stop to think about what I was going to do. I knew that if I did I would find plenty of reasons not to do it. I just (mentally) put the blinkers on and put one foot in front of the other.
The next day I stopped drinking. I thought it would be very difficult but I am lucky: it wasn't and hasn't been. I haven't missed alcohol at all.
I decided to count and limit the calories I was consuming. To do that I entered everything I ate and drank in to a smartphone app. I couldn't have achieved what I wanted to achieve without having the figures. After all, knowledge is power. I chose - pretty arbitrally - 1200 calories a day. That amount is, I have found, sustainable. It's enough nutrionally to allow me to carry out my third decision.
I went to my local gym. For me, that was brave. I had never been in a gym before. All I could think was that it really wasn't a place for the likes of me (as I was). After all, it's full of slim fit people who move around a lot. As I was a fat slob who could hardly put one foot in front of the other, I thought that everyone would stare at me and think 'look at him: he's embarrassing'. I was honest about my condition with the staff, and they were very helpful. They showed me how to use the machines, which was essential for me as they all seemed very daunting. They gave me a program, which allowed me to graduate from a shuffle to a walk to a jog to a run. I soon discovered that the more you do, the more you can do.
As well as counting the calories I take in, I count the calories I get rid of. As long as the latter is greater than the former, I know that I am winning.
Now I still don't drink. I still am aware of and control how many calories I consume. I have given myself the luxury of reducing the days I go to the gym from seven days to five days a week - because I can. I have reached my target weight and I am really, really healthy. I feel fantastic. I have lost ten stone in ten months. You can't actually cure diabetes or depression but I have put both into complete remission. All my readings and measurements are of a very healthy man. I am bursting with energy, both physically and mentally.
My commitment now is to sustain what I have done for the rest of my life. And I know I will.
Where I was
Where I am
And where I am going...