"It's changed my life. I can't be happier with what's happened. "
How did your journey begin?
I was a very big guy at 26 stone. I wasn’t feeling right in myself and was feeling tired all the time, and got tested for diabetes etc, but it turned out it was symptoms of depression. I decided I needed to change my life, so found things that I wanted to do with my life, set myself some small goals, set some big goals, and went from there.
What was the first day like?
It was hard because I knew how big the journey was. I knew it was going to be very, very long and I was going to come up against a load of issues along the way but having the small term goals helped drive me on. Seeing the big picture longer term kept me driven.
With your training, did you go as hard as you do now straight away or did you ease into it?
I started off with just walking for 30 minutes at lunch just because I was in a really bad place and ran out of breath quickly, so needed to exercise appropriately and build it up slowly. After a couple of weeks I started doing some boxing drills in a gym and built it up from there. I got the bug and kept going.
Have you always been interested I boxing?
I’ve always been interested, my family are big fans. I’ve done a few charity events over the years but never really taken it too seriously. I’ve always enjoyed it and always thought that if I was in better shape or more focused, I’d do quite well at it, hence why I started the journey in boxing.
How have you progressed, what’s the change been like?
It’s been absolutely monumental. I can walk for miles, I can train all day. Mentally I feel so much better in myself. I find normal situations a lot easier; before I’d be anxious about people looking at me or talking about me because of my size, and now I feel a lot more confident. It’s helped massively with that. Physically it’s been a massive change; boxing is a really intense sport and I make sure I’m pushing myself to the limit every day.
What challenges have you faced?
The first challenge that I faced was all the negativity from peers and people that I thought were friends. People wanted to have an opinion on what I was doing. Finding a boxing gym with the facilities to accommodate a 26 stone bloke was quite difficult as well, so that was very, very hard. With all that in mind, I had to be determined to push on because I wasn’t really getting the help or support I needed from local facilities. If no-one will help you, sometimes you need to help yourself a little bit, and while I might not have had the expert guidance from day one, anyone can pick up a pair of trainers and get walking and that’s basically what I did to lose the weight.
Have you always had a positive relationship with physical activity?
I’ve always liked it, although when I had a bout of depression before I started my journey, I stopped playing it because I thought there was something wrong with me. But if it wasn’t for sport I wouldn’t have the life I have now. Playing rugby, meeting people, it gave the confidence and grounding I needed as a teenager and the community I needed as well. If it wasn’t for sport, I’d be in a pretty bad place. I’ve always been happy to just lace up a pair of boots and play rugby. Sport is fantastic.
What activities do you not enjoy?
Resting! I always feel like I need to be up doing something. I spent a fair few years on my sofa and feel like I need to make up for it now. There’s nothing really that I don’t enjoy because I try and think positively about everything. Even if its’s something really, really terrible, I look for the positives.
How does being active make you feel?
It makes me feel brilliant, it’s changed my life. I’m 29 years old and I feel like I’m 18 again, just because of the energy I have and the new life I have after committing to exercise. I can’t be happier with what’s happened.
Do you have any advice for people to get started?
Diet is key. Don’t punish yourself with exercise, go slow and steady. Enjoy your exercise; go out and enjoy nature, explore, find new places. If you’re diet’s right and you’re walking, the weight will fall off you very quickly, and that will give you the motivation to possibly go to the gym and build your confidence. It’s all in steps. You don’t have to leap and go all in especially if you haven’t done anything for a while.
The most important thing is that it’s your journey, so don’t let anyone else dictate what you do. Have fun with it.
Read other real life stories on how getting active and taking part in your favourite activities has changed lives.
"I’ve learnt that being active regularly goes far beyond weight loss and how you look – it’s about your mental and physical health too."