In his role as both trainer and business owner of ALTTA Group, Colin has become a passionate mental health advocate. Colin’s mental health support skills are often used to help people with their anxieties and stress.
Hi all, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog, so here goes.
As a baby I was apparently a chunky monkey – a chubby-cheeked little chap, and a hoover around food. If there were any leftovers on a plate I would hoover them up.
I say ‘apparently’ as I was too young to remember.
What I do remember is that this did not last long. As a junior school kid I decided to have a skinhead haircut. This made my mum cry, as I was so thin I looked ill.
From one extreme to the other, but that’s what happened. I didn’t stop eating though. I wouldn’t say I was a fussy eater, I just liked what I liked and that’s what I ate.
I was always active – running, football, boxing, riding a bike, riding a scooter, table tennis, cricket, squash……it went on and on and on.
For the younger generation reading this, it was the norm for a kid to be this active – something different every night and every weekend.
A fateful visit to the doctor’s
I ate properly but I burnt it off. I was so thin my mum took me to the doctor and this is what he said: “Give him half a can of stout in the evening” (stout is basically a not so nice version of Guinness).’
So that’s what I had. I was still at junior school! The good old days……
I am not sure how long I did this for. I am not sure if this is because of my young age or the dead brain cells due to the alcohol.
Well, nothing changed other than I got taller, but never wider or heavier. As I got older I continued to play sports, I started work and I found booze. I would drink like a fish each weekend, but I would still train, play football and burn it off. No weight gained. I also smoked too.
A few years later, I moved out of the house I grew up in. I moved in with Nic and we started a new life in a new city with zero money.
We couldn’t afford to waste money and throw food away, we couldn’t afford the gym and clubs, but we needed to meet people and make friends, and as adults that usually means going to the pub. I quit smoking. I started to drink Guinness instead of lager. I had a career change and gave up manual labour.
Guess what, that doctor was right: Guinness does put weight on. 4 stone, in fact. I wasn’t too worried though, I could lose it when I wanted to.
No, I couldn’t though. I was older now and less able to burn it off. At my heaviest, I was around 16 and a half stone (107kgs in new money).
An epiphany on the football pitch
Things were spiralling out of control but I wasn’t that bothered because I was happy. Nic was happy too, so no issues. I then got an opportunity to play football again – 6-aside with people my age and also heavy.
I played my first game and I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t run, breathe or play. I was only worried about when I was going to be able to get off the pitch.
But I continued to play football each week and I also started going to the gym. The weight started to shift a lot, and before I knew it I was at 105kgs. I felt good and I was hooked on exercise again. I joined an online exercise program and they taught me what I didn’t know, about calories and the relationship between a person and food.
The conclusion – I didn’t need the gym, but I did need to change my eating habits.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, food expert, PT etc. I can only tell you what I did, and what worked for me.
I come home every night from work and carried out a 15 to 30-minute cardio workout. I tracked everything I ate and did not go over 1800 calories per day. If I had a few beers at the weekend, I completed another workout.
I did this for a few months and before I knew it, I was at 95kgs. I then started to get obsessed with the scales. But I was about to learn something new again: NSV.
I had no idea what this was. NSV stands for Non-Scale Victory.
I realised my clothes started to feel good again, I was wearing t-shirts that I hadn’t worn in years but my scales had not changed.
This got me thinking, why are we all obsessed with weight?
If I was 107kgs and ripped with muscles I wouldn’t care. I realised my weight was not important. The way I felt was important though. And at that point I felt good.
Two steps forward, a big step back
By this time I had lost 12kgs and I was feeling great. So time to kick on and get some more weight off. I started to carry out some serious walks, big distances carrying heavy packs. I knew that if I did not mix my training up, I would find it harder to lose weight.
I was walking 5km every night but getting faster and faster as I went. I eventually broke the 90kgs mark and I decided to do something I had never done in my life – I ran a 5km.
I felt amazing and kept going. I managed to get to 87kgs and completed my 5k in 30 minutes. My trousers were too big, my shirts fitted well, and I felt healthy. I was playing well at football and even scoring the odd goal. Then it all went wrong.
I accidentally caught something in the back of the knee at football and tore my medial collateral ligaments.
That was it – no walking, no football, nothing.
I felt so annoyed with myself as I was about to take part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge. All the hard work and for what? Nothing that’s what.
For the first time in ages, I felt mentally weak and I took my frustration out on the biscuit barrel and crisps. And inevitably, the weight went back on, slowly but surely. I went back up to 95kgs, 8kgs more than before the injury. I realised that was the weight of my rucksack.
A long hard word was said between me, myself and I.
The time had come to start the journey back to where I was. I started to walk more, I controlled my eating and I stopped making excuses as to why I was not training, and got on with the job in hand. At the time of writing I am now sitting at around 92kgs and I am about to increase my training.
My challenge to you
So what’s the point in this blog?
Well, the main point is to say do not obsess over weight.
Look at how your clothes fit, how do you feel? Are you happy?
Don’t worry about what others think – this is about you and your relationship with food and drink.
My injury taught me that food was my go-to for comfort. Now I know I can work on that.
So I’d like to set you all a challenge.
I challenge you to not get on the scales for one month.
Change your habits with food, or your exercise, and see how you feel, not how much you weigh.
Good luck on your journey and keep us posted.