Body Image Series Part 1 - My struggle with my weight

As a child, I was always pretty skinny. I was always outside playing, riding bikes, skateboards, roller skates, climbing trees etc, so exercise wasn’t something I was short of. Likewise, my parents were pretty strict when it came to food. No sweets unless I’d been really good. Fizzy drinks were only for special occasions, and fast food was a very rare treat! This continued right through my teens, when my teenage growth spurt turned my into a proper bean pole!

 15 year old me! 

15 year old me! 

At 19, I went off to art college, which was the first time I’d lived away from my parents, and as such, the ability to eat what I want, when I want, and how much I want! 

To begin with, my diet consisted mostly of Bachelors Super Noodles (Beef flavour), tea, and biscuits. 

 20 year old me, spooning several sugars into a mug of tea. 

20 year old me, spooning several sugars into a mug of tea. 

After a while, I got bored of super noodles, and thanks to Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef on tv, I began expanding my culinary repertoire. It was all going well until my final year, when I found myself pulling many overnighters to get projects finished. These were often fuelled by Coca-Cola, Fanta Fruit Twist, and the newly released RedBull. On top of this, my girlfriend at the time, who worked at a wholesalers in the summer, would let me use her discount to buy retail boxes of wham bars, fizzy cola bottles, and fortune cookies! 

Portion sizing has never been a strong point of mine, and by now I was consuming so much sugar that within a short space of time, I managed to go from the photo above, to looking like this on my graduation day... 

 Graduation day, age 22

Graduation day, age 22

Over the next few years, after moving back home, my weight stabilised, but didn’t really go down. Unfortunately, I then moved into my own place, and started gaining weight again. I remember seeing 91.1kg on the scales at one point, but didn’t think anything of it as I had a girlfriend, and in my head I still looked like I did as a teenager.

Time passed, but I was really active, doing 6 dance classes per week, on top of photography. Unfortunately, I was drinking in excess of 5 cans of Coke per day, desserts after most meals, and always had sweets in the door pocket of my car, which I would be constantly eating as I drove. They say you can’t out-exercise a poor diet... I was testament to that!

Fast forward to the summer of 2010... My brother invited me to a BBQ at his during the football World Cup. England were playing, so everyone was expected to dress accordingly. When I saw the photos of me, I was shocked!!!

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These photos floored me! I was still skinny in my head, so this was like taking the red pill in the matrix! At around the same time, I went clothes shopping. This was at the peak of All Saints popularity, and TopMan were also going for that super skinny fit... suffice it to say, I genuinely couldn’t find anything that fit me... at all!

I got another shock when I stood on the scales... 102.2kg!!! I was clinically obese, and obviously at risk of all the associated health problems associated with it! 

Over the next couple of years, I managed to drop around 10kg. Mostly this was from switching full fat Coke to Coke Zero. That in itself cut my calorie intake by around 500 per day! 

I started getting into clothes a bit more, and was now able to fit into an XL, which obviously is still big! 

Moving to London caused me to gain weight again. Although I was cooking proper food, I was also back onto dessert after most meals, and eating sweets.

It was photos of myself that again highlighted my weight. We are living in a world where everyone is having more photos of themselves taken, so it’s getting harder to hide from the truth, and my truth was that my belly was still out of control! 

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In 2014, I managed to quit sugar completely for over a year. I lost a load of weight, but being someone who has a real sweet tooth (3 sugars in tea, 5 in coffee), it wasn’t sustainable, let alone enjoyable! That being said, it did allow me to be able to drink tea and coffee without sugar, so for that, it was worth it! I also managed to lose another chunk of weight!

Below is a photo of me from September 2016. I’d come to the realisation that I needed more photos of myself for social media. It’s always been photos of me that get the most likes on my feed, rather than photos of things I’ve seen or people I’ve worked with. This presented me with a problem... I hated the way my body looked, but I didn’t want to photoshop myself and facetune my body into something it wasn’t. The only solution was to make the changes I wanted, in real life... the hard way!

 September 2016

September 2016

So in late November 2016, I began the biggest and most successful chapter in my weight loss journey, but you’re going to have to wait to read about that in part 2!