So here goes, here’s a little bit about me, something I haven’t told everybody and something which I’m embarrassed about, but proud about at the same time.
Two years ago I was a very heavy, fat and unhealthy person. I had a BMI of 49, a Body Fat Percentage to match and whilst I didn’t have any obvious health issues, I was fairly sure that something major was around the corner for me. I never exercised wore size 24-26 clothes and frankly was existing rather than living.
Why was I like that? Well I guess it was through years of neglect – that I did to myself as I always put everything ahead of me – in particular – I’m not proud to say I put my career way before my health and I guess I stopped caring about me and caring about other things more. I had an extremely stressful job, worked long hours, travelled extensively, lived in hotels for months on end and frankly overfed myself with carby sugary crap as a way of dealing with the above and with my emotions – I ate when I was happy, sad, depressed, anxious, nervious, upset, celebrating etc. As if this wasn’t bad enough, I never exercised and had a resting heart rate of 109 beats per minute – which is very high. I’m not proud of any of the above – but in the spirit of honesty it’s all true.
I can’t tell you exactly what made me want to change, I guess it was an opportunity to take a career break at a time when I felt at an all time low health wise which made me determined to do something about my weight and more importantly my health. So in March 2010 I had weight loss surgery* and made a commitment to lose all the extra weight I had gained and to become fit and healthy – essentially to invest in me after a long time of significant underinvestment. Six weeks after my surgery, I started on an exercise programme. In Jan 2011 I ran my first ever 10k race and in Feb 2011 I ran a half marathon – neither were fast and to be fair I walked a fair bit – but they were my firsts.
You might think that surgery was the easy way out, and if you do, that’s your opinion. I don’t consider it was, I had a significant amount of weight to lose (10 stone for the imperial people, 140 lbs or 72kgs for others) and for me, at that point in time, surgery made perfect sense to me. Sure I had tried to lose weight before, and each time I was able to lose a significant amount but never enough to reach my goal. Like many other people I know, I had tried every type of diet known to man and each time gained a bit more when I stopped dieting.
Dieting is a key word here – from the age of 11 I remember always being on some kind of diet. In my head – I was either on a diet or off a diet and there was never a happy medium. When I was on a diet – I could mostly stick to the rules of whatever diet I found and lose weight, when I came off the diet – I went crazy and gained all the weight back and some. The word Diet had and still has really negative connotations to me.
Anyway, I had weight loss surgery and in 14 months through diet modification and lots of exercise I lost all of my excess weight and transformed my body. During the process I discovered how to eat to fuel my body, how to really understand nutrition and I learned how to commit to an exercise programme. I discovered just how bad I had felt when I was heavy and receiving poor nutrition compared to how good I could feel by exercising and using food for nutrition. I discovered how differently you are treated being slim versus being overweight and that makes me mad. I discovered that I can wear size 10-12 clothes and feel sexy, I can do all sorts of things that I never dreamed of before and this year 2012 I plan to run another 10k and 1/2 marathon, do a parachute jump over Palm Jumeira and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Don’t believe me – well here’s the evidence
March 2010 Nov 2011
Day of Surgery v’s 19 months
PS I still don’t have a full length mirror at home so most pictures are taken in changing rooms, the gym or the lift !
I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy which means that 90% of my stomach was removed. I am left with a fully functioning stomach which has a reduced capacity – at most I can 150g of protein at any one time plus a tablespoon of vegetables. This is permanent surgery and no reversal is possible. I have to pay attention to my nutrition and eat small regular meals.