In The Beginning was the light! Kind of like a flash or maybe a bit more like a bolt, or a jolt but whatever you call it, I’m sure you are getting the picture by now. Unfortunately it was soon followed by a curse word (or ten) and a frozen form groaning in pain as he rolled on his side and held his back.
It had been just another usual day, home from work, straight to the Gym with my training partner T.C and then get to grips with business of getting the body beautiful…..
Actually, hold that thought for a while, let us go back many, many years into the past.
I was not a fat child.
My father once told me, at one point my parents were so concerned about my weight being on the low side they were convinced that I needed to put on weight. That I needed to eat my greens (something I still don’t do to this day) and grow big and strong. However, as time went by, I grew into a normal regular everyday child size. No need for special sized clothes, no rosy red cheeks, no concern about me moping around the house doing nothing. I was always out, always active, always doing something.
I spent pretty much all of my younger days playing football. I would like to have been good enough to be a “name” that caused the opposing sides to fear but no and there were two reasons why this would never happen.
My right foot
My left foot.
That was me scuppered then. Still, I ran around enough to get in the school team and eventually became a regular fixture whether we played football, rugby or cricket (this was the early 80’s people, sports were still dictated by the changing seasons) and thus I was kept active and slim.
Even after leaving school, I continued to play rugby at the local club. Again I’d like to think that it mattered me being there but if I am honest, I was making up the numbers.
But I didn’t care, I was still running around and getting exercise without realising. I was going to the gym and lifting weights, doing cardio workouts and generally keeping myself attractive to the opposite sex (well thats my story and I’m sticking to it….)
Then disaster struck, I had learned about drinking, improved my knowledge of ladies and discovered that although it wasn’t good for you, smoking DID make you look cool. However, none of these things kept you fit after injuring yourself with a sit up and a medicine ball laying on cold grass in the middle of winter at the local rugby pitch.
God damn that medicine ball.
So I was injured and unable to train, play or walk.
I did what any red-blooded young man would do. I filled this time with drinking, smoking and girls.
Fun times I would imagine. At a pound a pint, I couldn’t really say for sure.
Anyway, I was enjoying myself until one day, I was (for some unknown reason) climbing on a set of gates at my bosses request (thinking about it, it may have been flag pole related) when I kind of slipped and realised that my trousers didn’t have any give in them thus there was what can only described as a parting of the ways between the right leg and the left leg. Thank god I was wearing my little ducky boxer shorts otherwise the outcome could have been even worse, I could have been caught with unfashionable pants!
After my boss stopped laughing and my face had gone back to a lighter shade of crimson, I was allowed to return home and change. On this journey I recall a dawn of a realisation.
I needed to slim down.
So I started my first ever diet aged 23. I went to the gym, I watched what I ate and I cut down on the drinking. All of this worked and in no time I was back at my sensible and slim weight with a good holiday body. Only problem was, I had just met a new girl and she was all too quickly expecting my child.
Oh dear, I hadn’t planned on that. We were soon living together and the healthy eating soon went out the window. Coming home from a long day at work and having to cook was not on the current CV of a 23-year-old man so if the dinner didn’t come from the chip shop or Chinese takeaway, it pretty much came in the form of deep fat fried food such as Mini Kievs and Chips, Chicken Pies and Chips, Sausage, Beans and Chips. Pretty much everything with CHIPS.
Choc-Ice and Chips.
It was NOT a healthy diet and when the baby came it was even worse as I changed my job and was out working late afternoon, early evening so thus ate on the hop or ate late at night. Not going well and I was expanding once again. I lived like this for a year and then after separating from the girlfriend, I moved in with a find and his partner. These were two relatively sensible people who understood the value of eating properly and healthily so got me back on the food wagon, got me active again and in no time the weight was coming off and I was heading to Australia to start my round the world tour.
I have to be honest, whilst I was away travelling I didn’t really worry too much about what I was eating because there was very little of it due to having very little money. This appeared to suit my waistline well so upon my return to the UK may many months later, I continued this form out diet and added cycling to work each day. It wasn’t far, maybe 2.2 miles each way but that helped to work away at the weight reducing it further.
I imagine at around this time I was 14 stone, which for someone of my size it actually quite small. I have always been a big guy even when there was no fat on me so that weight felt very comfortable. So feeling good, I decided to get back into the motor trade.
That was when the rot set in.
I worked long hours and six days a week. I had no lunch hour so I grazed all day. I would come home from the end of a day absolutely worn out after pretty much eating the wrong food again then I would go straight to the pub to help deal with the stress of selling so many cars – as daft as it sounds, selling as many cars as I did paid me well and allowed me to drink every night, but it also caused me to drink every night because of the stress of selling so many cars. I would then come home and on the way, would nearly always collect a Chinese take away, get home, eat, fall asleep, get up and do it all over again – lather, rinse, repeat.
Believe it or not, eventually I was a bit of a wreck. But I only realised this when I stopped selling the cars and took a stress free job driving a lorry for a while. I was again finding it hard to move about, finding it difficult to get in and out the cab, having no energy, having very little self-confidence. So I started back at the Gym. I was seventeen and a half stone. Too big. Something had to change so I lifted weights and lost the fat, put on muscle and started to look good again. I went up to eighteen and a half stone, I had a 56″ chest, 22″ biceps, 18″ forearms, a 34″ waist. Fairly well-built.
And then we get back to the start of this post.
I was in the Gym with my training partner as I said at the beginning. I was doing my set of crunch sit ups. My body was nice and warm as I was well in the middle of that evenings routine. Everything should have been perfect, but it wasn’t. I moved forward on the upward action and about halfway through the crunch, I felt it go. Like a small pop and then I was frozen in place as my muscles seized static in a bid to save my back. Not really very helpful when you need to get out of the gym, down the stairs and into your car if you are going to stand any chance of getting home inside the same calendar month I had walked into the gym. Well I somehow managed to move myself, I managed to hobble bent in two back down to my car, slid behind the wheel and went home for a hot bath.
It was too late.
The wind had obviously changed and I stayed like that.
Things were never the same since.
That was over fourteen years ago. I was eighteen and a half stone back then with quite honestly very little fat on me, just enough to keep me warm on a cold day. Nowadays I have enough excess fat to keep me warm for several cold days and a second cold snap a bit later in the season. I have dieted and tried to exercise, I have been to weight watcher, slimming world, Oxfordshire Weightless Lifestyle Support group and for all of the small advances I make and the times that I do actually make the weight shift and start to feel good, something goes wrong and the weight piles back on with a little more each time.
It’s odd really, I used to think that if I could get down to around twenty stone, I would be absolutely fine and would start to get back in charge of my weight, then it was twenty-one, then twenty-two. Eventually my back just gave up completely and my trouble was compounded by my bad leg break last year, That was I think the final nail in the unassisted weight loss coffin.
I will say, I don’t expect sympathy from anyone. There is only one person that has gotten me here and that is me. I have been foolish and ridden rough shod over my health but in some respects I have had no control over the way I have behaved. My relationship with bad food has pretty much always undermined all the good I have achieved each time I have gone back to the diet and tried to lose the weight.
As daft as it sounds, one of the things I want to achieve from this surgery is the ability to walk down the street with no aches and pains and to move with a freeness and lightness that only comes with no Osteoarthritis and no foot pain and no knee pain and no back pain which are all common ailments exacerbated by carrying too much weight.
Maybe you could like this blog enough to follow it and get the regular updates.
That way you would see me returning to my former self.
From Arbuckle back to Adonis (or at least the fifty year old version of it) 😉