Lee Sandwith

Lee progress photosI’ve struggled with my weight since my mid-teens, an issue which continued into my 31st year, meaning I’ve spent the majority of my adult life being overweight. At my worst point I was overweight to the tune of 4 ½ stones (28.5 kg) and looking back I had no idea why as I didn’t seem to be doing anything differently than everyone else around me.

During this time I hated myself and I was quite cynical about the world. I hated going for nights out because I was typically the only overweight guy in the group; I hated going clothes shopping as the only things that didn’t look horrendous were overly baggy, fashion disasters; I hated taking my top off in public; I hated the subject of weight altogether.

I hated everything about my body but for some reason I made the unconscious decision to suppress the issue instead of tackling it head on. I dealt with it by blocking it out of my mind completely, burying it deep to the point where I had convinced myself that there wasn’t a problem, even though it was admittedly the single biggest issue in my life.

This all changed when I turned 30 following the failure of the most significant relationship in my life. Without sharing too much, my fiancé at the time decided she wanted to end our long-term relationship, essentially because she was no longer attracted to me and didn’t feel the same way as she once did. This turned my life so far upside down that I honestly didn’t know whether I was going to recover; I was crushed, I was a broken man. The worst part for me was that I’d managed to get myself into the position where I was the most overweight I had ever been and, even though it may not have been true, I attributed the breakup entirely on the fact that I was so overweight. I remember playing through my mind that this just wouldn’t have happened if I’d had a six-pack!

This life-changing event was the biggest wakeup call I had ever had with my weight and I decided to take action once and for all. Unlike any of my other previously unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, I started out by studiously researching weight loss, fitness and nutrition. I read books, magazines, scoured the internet and consumed information, fully immersing myself in the challenge to finally get in shape, setting myself the ultimate goal of getting the elusive six -pack. I learned that the major factor was nutrition, selected an appropriate plan and completely changed my diet, supplementing it with regular exercise. Within a matter of weeks I started to dramatically lose weight and after two months I had lost a whopping two stones. Two stones!! It took a few more months to get down to my ideal weight but as soon as I started to see results, for the first time in my life, I was hooked and fully embraced the healthy lifestyle.

Looking back, it fascinates me how badly I dealt with being overweight for so many years as it was the exact opposite of how I tackle issues in every other aspect of my life, normally taking them head on using logic to find solutions. What amazed me the most was how simple it was given that I only changed a few minor things, but what was most enlightening was that it was extremely enjoyable. I overcame a mental block that had plagued me for years and I still hold that this was the single biggest achievement of my life. I found a new level of confidence, which reaped rewards in my professional and personal lives to the point where my life had improved by an order of magnitude. One piece of advice that was given to me at the time of my breakup was this: “change everything”. At the time it didn’t make a lot of sense but as soon as I’d come through the other side of my weight loss journey it hit home hard. Losing weight had changed everything: it changed my life, forever. Seven years on and I haven’t wavered. I continue to eat healthily and train properly and over the last couple of years I’ve been fine-tuning my approach, finding even greater success along the way. Taking things further, I’ve recently qualified as a certified nutrition specialist as I wanted to formalise my knowledge and understanding and I’m constantly researching new techniques and approaches to ensure my programme stays current.

Admittedly, I don’t have the most athletic physique and I don’t think I’ll ever be cover model ripped, however, I’m really happy with my body and I’ve found a balance which keeps me lean all year round with minimal effort. As a result I have a constant stream of people asking for advice and it’s those people who have prompted me to put pen to paper. What I have learned over the years is that it’s really not that difficult and, with a few minor lifestyle changes, anyone can do it. I’ve also learned that I have a very slow metabolism and put weight on ridiculously more quickly than some of my friends to the point where sometimes it feels like I just have to walk past a cookie and I gain a few pounds!! I strongly believe that if I can do it you can too so please don’t give up hope just yet. If you’re suffering from the same mental block that I once had consider this. If you really want it, and it’s easy and enjoyable, what possible reason could you give yourself to justify not doing it?

 

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