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Good health can’t be taken for granted

“Good health can’t be taken for granted”

Keith joined Total Fitness Wrexham almost a year ago with a mission to shed a third of his body weight. How would he motivate himself to keep on going when his life was already too busy and he didn’t want to cut out the foods he enjoyed?

Read on to find out…


Initial motivation - why did I join Total Fitness?

It came as a shock to many of my friends and family when I told them I’d joined a gym 12 months ago.

Having been an accomplished slob for most of my 43 years, I’d never once taken any interest in anything remotely strenuous or fitness related. So what if I was 131kg (20.6 stone) with a BMI of 37.3? I felt fine and was rarely ill.

So, if I didn’t feel unwell, what prompted my change?

Well, within a period of just a few months I witnessed several family members, friends and colleagues suffer a range of medical issues – some terminal, some life-changing, some just serious! Out of these tragedies came my realisation that good health cannot be taken for granted and that I’d probably been lucky so far.

The likelihood of me having a long, healthy, productive life would be boosted if I put some effort into looking after myself and hopefully I’d be able to avoid some of the obesity-related health problems.

We all know the health risks associated with being obese, yet do nothing about it unless something bad happens to us or to someone we know.


Setting a Goal

I knew I wanted to try my best to reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems in the future and generally become fitter and to do this, I needed to set myself a measurable target that I could work towards. This needed to be something I could do at home, with no special equipment.

Firstly, BMI, which although it can be ridiculed by many, is a very simple and long established measure using only your weight and height. I used it to work out a target weight that I could aim for of 86.5kg (13.6 stone) which would move my BMI from the morbidly obese 37.3 that it was to a healthier, normal 24.6.

The second thing I decided to monitor was my waist size. Ideally, it turns out, this should be half your height, so I figured that I should be 37 inches – I was wearing trousers with a 44 waist at the start, and I wore them under my stomach.


Finding a regime that works

I realised that my clothes size had not changed for years and even though I didn’t know my weight, it must have been pretty constant. So, by my reasoning if everything else stayed the same, just by doing exercise and increasing my calorie output I must lose weight. I also figured that the more you sweat the more calories you were burning, so I decided to stick to the cardio equipment and found a machine that I didn’t completely hate using.

Keith (left) before he started his mission to shed a third of his body weight

The seated bikes have a timer and the maximum period you can set is one hour. So, I found myself doing one hour on the bike every day, seven days a week. It can get rather boring sitting on that bike, so I would put TV shows on my tablet and watch those –  the hour would soon pass.

The best piece of workout equipment I invested in was on a heart rate monitor which linked wirelessly to the machines in the gym. I found I could set the bike to keep my heart rate at 75% and I could manage a one-hour workout without too much trouble – there would be a pool of sweat around me by the end, but I could keep up this pace seven days a week.

 

Food and Nutrition

As far as diets and dieting goes, I truly believe that diets do not work – particularly ones that stop you eating the things you like. The way I see it, if you’re not enjoying your diet, you will never stick to it and I wanted it to be something I could live with indefinitely.

So, I decided just to reduce the portion sizes of what I was already eating at meal times and cut down on the junk (not eliminate) by replacing it with fruit. So rather than sitting in front of the TV and scoffing a whole packet of chocolate biscuits during a movie, I would limit myself to half a pack or some fruit, for example!

Overall, less calories in and more calories out – this had to work!

I found that as I lost weight, my appetite changed anyway, meaning that I didn’t need or want as much food.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Keith’s blog… did he reach his weight loss goal? How far did he cycle on the bike?