I was always fat. But I wasn't your traditional dieter. I didn't really care about being thinner, and I never went on a diet. I got fatter and fatter from being fairly plump at 14 or 16, so hitting obesity shortly afterwards, to reaching 260lb by the time I was 26.
The funny thing is that as a teenager I'd been fairly active, which had helped me to keep my weight at the lower end of obesity rather than the higher one. I won't claim to ever have been fit, but I was always fitter than you'd expect at my weight. Which is something, at least!
But just after I turned 26 something finally clicked. I decided that I wanted to get fit. I saw a 6 week no strings gym membership at a gym opposite work that I walked past every day. I had no excuse for not going, and I had no worries that I'd sign up and be tied in for the next year if I didn't go. I figured that I had nothing to lose - even if I only went for the first week, at least I'd have a chance of finding out whether I could stick to an exercise regime.
I hadn't weighed myself for about 8 years at that point, and I was shocked when I stepped on the scale at my induction. I knew that I was fat, but I'd never thought of myself as obese, even though I clearly was. I had a BMI of 38.1, so it wasn't just a couple of pounds I needed to lose. But at this stage I kind of ignored the weight, I just tried to get into an exercise regime without looking at the bigger picture too much.
I think that's been the main key to my success. All the way through I've focussed on my fitness. During the first six week period I didn't actually lose that much weight, but I felt myself getting stronger and fitter, and I realised that my gym time was real "me time" when I could escape from work stresses and clear my mind of everything other than the physical sensations in my body.
At first my weight loss was pretty slow, but I wasn't doing it for weight loss as such. It was only after about 9 months when I was a lot fitter, and a little lighter (10lb or so) that I realised that if I sorted my eating out I'd actually stand a chance of losing more weight.
Around this time, I sat down and worked out what I should weigh. That had always been a figure I ignored because it seemed so unrealistic. At 5 foot 9 I would hit a "normal BMI" for my weight at 168lb. I realised that meant that I had to lose almost 100lb to get to that point. 100lb seemed like a **** of a lot, but once I got that number in my head I wondered. Could I ever weigh 160lb?
As I got fitter I started to work on one of my long term dreams. The one sort of exercise I always wished I could do was running. I always wished that I could put on my trainers, head out of the door and run. So, to force myself to start I signed up for a 5k charity race. I suprised myself by how much I enjoyed it, and how fast I managed to run it. I signed up for 10k almost straight after, and everything snowballed from there.
I was sorting my eating out, and during this process I've started eating a lot less food, food that's a lot cleaner, and food that's almost entirely vegetarian (and I mean vegetables, rather than cheese and chips
). But my main focus always has been, and still is, my running.
I wanted to run 5k, then I wanted to run 10k. Then I wanted to run 10k faster. Then I wanted to run a half marathon. And I wanted to improve on my race times every time I ran a distance. My first 10k took 68 minutes, my second 59, my third 50 and my fourth 47. I want to get better, and faster, and I want to run.
I've barely mentioned my weight. Of course I wasn't ignoring the fact that this sort of lifestyle would change my weight. But the way it worked out was that weight loss was almost a side effect. If I could run a sub 4 hour marathon I wouldn't care what weight I was when I did it. But realistically I know that training to run, and eating cleanish food to fuel me for running will help me lose weight. It's been a bit of an incentive, but more as a carrot rather than a stick. Losing weight as I do this makes me feel happy, but I don't do this because I lose weight.
But still, in January I hit a normal BMI for the first time since my age hit double figures, and in March I hit my 100lb lost goal. Since then I've been pretty much maintainint, I'm currently more or less at 102lb lost which is lighter than I ever thought I'd be. I'm thinner, fitter and (dare I say it) cuter than I ever thought I'd be.
I used to watch marathons on tv and feel envious of the people who were fit enough to run them. Well, now I'm one of those people, and I'm training for my first marathon. Even more scarily, I'm fairly sure that it won't be a one off...