How I unleashed my inner hero
Matt has very kindly shared his story with us into why he decided to start running. With an incredible journey taking him from 31 stone 3 1/2lbs to a now frequent marathon runner! Read more below:
– Was there a specific turning point where you decided you wanted to make a change?
Christmas Day 2009, my step mum managed to get a photo of me and my Dad. She uploaded the pictures to Facebook in January 2010 and tagged me in them, I looked absolutely massive!! The night that the photos went up my Dad asked me the most simple, but direct question about my weight – “Are you happy?” For my Dad to ask me made me think a lot and the powerful realisation of it all was – no I wasn’t!
1. Did you tell your family and friends about your decision to make a change, if so how did they react?
They actively supported me and encouraged me. My step mum had been a member at Slimming World before and she asked if I would like to go with her. I was a little unsure, having tried “diets” in the past I was a little sceptical. Then my Dad made a bet with me, He’d pay for the first 12 weeks, and if in that period I didn’t lose 2 stone then I’d have to pay him the money back. I took the bet; it’s difficult to get money out of a Yorkshire man so I wasn’t going to say no! I joined on the 20th January 2010, and I had the biggest weight shock of my life! I weighed 31st 3 1/2lbs!
2. Did you find it difficult was it for you to change your habits or routine?
From the first night I knew it was time I had to make changes. I had tried “diets” in the past so decided to straight away banish that word and treat this as a change in lifestyle. I sat through a new member talk listening to the consultant telling me how much food I can eat and thinking wow how is this going to work? Nothing was banned but it was about finding a new way of eating and filling up. I could still have chocolate! (I have a sweet tooth!!) But I thought there must be a flaw somewhere! So I went home that first night and re read everything again. It all looked simple enough; so I got stuck in.
That first week I ate so much! All I could hear was my Dad constantly staying “You can’t eat all that??” I was thinking the same thing to begin with! But that all changed on my first weigh in on 27th January 2010 – 12 1/2lbs off in a week! From then on I was hooked, that was the start for me and I have never looked back since!
It seems odd now when people say it, but the group members always remember me as the shy boy in the group. I always stay for image therapy (group support), but at first I would keep myself to myself and just listen to what others were saying. But I wasn’t quiet for long! I was soon actively involved in group, what with receiving regular awards and discussing my rediscovered love of cooking, I never seemed to stop talking. Food Optimising was coming so easily to me, I was eating a greater variety of food, everything made fresh. I love the support you get from everyone, the sense of community, the ideas you share, everyone has helpful suggestions whether it be to use the slimming world cookbooks or look on the website for recipes or inspiration, or just help in getting you back on track if you’ve had a bad week!
3. We all know how hard it is to fit fitness in to busy lives, do you have any certain ways that helped you?
I started parking my car a mile away from work everyday and walking in. I took it steady at first but soon began to see the benefits to my health and also to my weight loss. As I become more comfortable with my weight and exercise I decided to do more. Swapped time sat watching the tv on mornings and evenings for time out either walking or going to the gym or fitness classes. I kept trying new classes and activities, it kept it fun and interesting! I had to enjoy what I was doing! Which thankfully I did! I also found it helpful to have friends who joined in along the way!
4. Did you set yourself short term and long term goals to aim towards such as 10k’s leading into longer distance races?
I have always set myself short term challenges whether that be for weight loss or exercise. Breaking down those goals helped me to achieve them. With running I started with running on a treadmill, progress to running outside and round my village, then to 5km, 10km, and one to half marathons and full marathons. I get a thrill every time I find myself doing something I couldn’t do before!
5. Were there any low points that you overcome along your #makeithappen journey?
Like anyone there have been difficult times but I have a very positive attitude, PMA is my golden rule! I also have a fantastic support network both in my slimming world groups and in my personal life.
6. Do you have any tips for people who want to start running for themselves?
I would always encourage others to surround yourselves with similar minded people, they will understand what you are trying to do and will be there to help and support you.
7. If you could give us #makeithappen motto what would it be? (here is an example of ours:
Don’t ever give up. It is all worth it at the finish line #makeithappen
I use this all the time – start every day with a bit of PMA (positive mental attitude!)