The problem was this left no time for me. In fact, factoring in time with the wider family, keeping up with friends and walking the dog, my own self-care and personal development was pushed so far down the priority list it barely registered.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes it takes a shock for you to take action? Well, this was my shock!
This shocking photo, taken while on a 4 week family holiday in Orlando Florida over Christmas in 2014 with my lovely wife and our 3 kids, my mum & dad, plus a couple of friends, when I realised something had to change.
I had moobs, in fact, my moobs were bigger than my wife’s boobs. All 24 stone or 154kg of me. And once I recognised that, it was hard to ignore the other symptoms, the aches and pains that I’d brushed off as just getting older. The lower back problems that I’d assumed come from working at the computer and being sat in various meetings. The trouble breathing, even when not exerting myself, I explained as just being asthma that I’d had since childhood. Even while on that holiday being denied access to taking my children on the roller coasters in Orlando because I couldn’t fit in the seats!
These, along with the fact I had to push myself out of chairs and roll onto my front to get out of bed. Why I no longer fitted into my kayak, a sport I’d loved since starting in Scouts as a kid and the reason I no longer enjoyed cycling. Meant something had to change. I had to obtain the fitness and body that I desired, learn to keep it that way and do all this while fitting it around my hectic schedule.
“I’m Going To Change”
So I said I would change. Got a gym membership and a personal trainer. Downloaded a diet plan from the Internet, walked the 10,000 recommended steps per day and tracked calories on My Fitness Pal at the 2400 calories per day. Although, after reading articles on the internet, I was aiming for a lot less. If a calorie deficit is good then a bigger one should gain a faster result, right?
The thing was none of these worked. The gym membership went barely used beyond the once per week visit to the Personal Trainer. You know how it is, a deadline for this client, an issue with that client or taking on board other peoples problems or not being in the city, county or country which would mean I wasn’t available and would have to cancel.
However, when on business trips, I had an excuse to join in, to build rapport and make change happen, and most of these didn’t get logged.
The fantastic dinners, the amazing desserts and don’t let me tell you about the number of drinks.
Delays, Denial, Distractions and Doubt
I tried alternative exercise, took up Karate with my daughter, the occasional kickboxing session when I was in London at a friends group, alongside trying countless different diets like South Beach, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, Atkins, volumetric and other things I found on the Internet or was recommended to do.
I joined accountability groups. I even created an accountability group of my own.
I paid thousands to gain results, yet nothing stuck. Nothing could marry my commitment to my family, my clients or my friends with shifting the weight.
In fact, the only thing that happened regularly was the 10,000 steps per day as I shuffled around the offices between meetings.
As you can imagine, my results were poor, only dropping 10kg over the 5 years.
Commitment to Change
Until I spent time with the worlds leading online physique and lifestyle consultant. He said:
“You have to find the mental strength to change and make this one of your highest values for your change to succeed.“
What does that even mean? Does that mean I have to put me before everything else? I have a family, friends and clients. If I don’t do something about this, I might not be here any more. And then what happens to my family, friends and clients. I may not be able to help them.
And he was right, I had to loan my highest value to my change.
I had to work on myself FOR everything else!
For my family that I love dearly. For my friends that I like spending time with and supporting. For my clients who needed their results.
I signed up for a professional custom personal training and nutrition plan, tailored to my body. I set out my reasons why, built a plan and mustered the required resources. I would run my transformation like any other great transformations I had successfully delivered.
Started to work out how I would fit the plan into my already rammed schedule and learning how I could adapt it to work wherever I was. Whether that was a luxury gym in Dubai, a roof top gym in Prague, a basement gym in Bucharest or at the local gym near my home. And it wasn’t easy.
Resistance, Resolve & Breakthrough!
Yet in the first 12 weeks, despite being away from home for 8 of them, 6 of them out of the country on business, I’d dropped over 10kg…that’s 22lb!
With further learning and adaptions, managing my nutrition and exercise, selecting alternatives while away, even when there were no gyms, the following 3 months saw another 7kg down
My suits no longer fitted, I looked like a young kid playing dress-up with his dads’ clothes and I had to start replacing my wardrobe on a regular basis.
People I’ve known for years pass me by as they don’t recognise me any more. And I dropped 40kg down in 1 year, despite the travel, despite the client engagements and the effects of the COVID lockdown.
Now would you agree that there are times that you do have to put yourself first? Be selfish to be selfless!
I’m no longer just existing in life for others. Now I’m living my life for myself. Capable of cycling for miles if I choose. I can perform handstands again when I want. Not sure when that will come in handy for meetings. Yet feeling fabulously reinvigorated certainly does, like the more youthful version of myself.
And now I love doing nothing more than working with my clients and helping them achieve their lifestyle goals.
Matt who wanted to work on himself and achieve a life goal of writing a book to help those in the armed services transition to civvy street.
Sarah who dreamed of climbing mountains again, even when she barely had time to sit down and found her body ached all the time.
James who loaned his lifestyle improvements from his passion to support his community of clients and spend time actively with his family.