• Name: James Smith (ask him anything on Talk)
  • Location: Vancouver, Canada
  • Job: Social media specialist, blogger and photographer (Website, Twitter)
  • Height: 5’8” (173cm)
  • Age: 33
  • Highest weight: 266lbs (120.7kg)
  • Lowest weight: 174lbs (78.9kg)
  • Plan: Calories in vs. calories out, low carb and lots of exercise

 

How did you get to the position where you needed to lose that weight?

Years of overeating, making excuses to avoid exercise or sports, eating junk because it tasted good and not thinking about the consequences.
“It didn’t even occur to me that I was ‘that’ bad”

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

I remember sitting on the stairs and having to hold my breath so I could bend and tie my shoelaces. When I was graduating university, we had to drive to four different stores to find a place that sold a suit that would fit me. Everyone said I was ‘broad-shouldered’. Nobody ever said I was fat.

What made you decide to change?

When I came back from a university exchange to the US, my Dad said ‘ooh James, you’ve really put on a lot of weight’. I went upstairs and stood on the scale for the first time in years. I was mortified and decided to make a change then and there.

“I was in it for the long-run and wanted to hit my target.”

What made it different from the times before?

It didn’t even occur to me that I was ‘that’ bad.

How did you do it?

I ate a small meal for breakfast and lunch, of fruit and vegetables or lean protein like eggs. My dinner was moderate and low-carb. I’d drink lots of water or green tea and my snacks were really small, like a quarter cup of frozen berries, if anything.

What did you eat over the course of an average day?

Before:
Breakfast – A bagel, or two with cream cheese and jam.
Lunch – Pizza or footlong sandwich.
Dinner – Chinese takeaway
 
After:
Breakfast – An apple and banana, maybe a scrambled egg.
Lunch – Vegetables or soup.
Dinner – meat and veggies.

How was the journey? Straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?

When it was good, it was amazing. At that weight, I was losing 1lb per day. When I hit a plateau, it sucked, but I knew that I just had to keep going, or step up the exercise until I got through it. Sometimes it was a week, sometimes a month. I was in it for the long-run and wanted to hit my target.

How has life changed now you’ve lost the weight?

I look at food differently. I really don’t want to go back, so I listen to my body and think, does it need fuel or am I just craving something sweet? Also, there’s nothing like going into a store, trying on clothes that fit and actually looking good.
 
I’ve also noticed that people are nicer to you when you’re not fat. Maybe it’s a confidence and smiling thing, but I honestly think that people are subconsciously shallow and if you’re better looking, they’re more likely to be nice to you. I know that sounds super vain, but I’ve worked my ass off to get here (literally) so I’m happy to think that I look good.

Who helped you the most and who got in the way?

My parents helped me by telling me the truth. They didn’t sugar-coat (mmm sugar) the fact that I was unhealthy, and then were forthcoming with their praise when I was on a better path.

Another thing that really helped me was support groups. Talking to people, especially when you’re craving a treat, or when you’re not really feeling like going for a walk or picking up the weights, was super useful. Sometimes you need just someone to say, “No excuses, you’re doing this right now”.

What surprised you about losing weight?

How much energy you get when your body doesn’t have to work so hard just to keep you upright.

“You just have to keep going, for your own sake”  

If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?

Stop eating crap. Junk food is garbage and you’re going to feel so much better. Track your calories and don’t go over them, seriously. You’re at the start of a really long, but amazing journey. Every day you’re going to wake up and can’t wait to stand on the scale to see how much you burnt off yesterday.

You’re the President for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?

A ban on high-sugar, high fat food. Fruit and vegetables to be offered at a lower premium (and no GMOs – we don’t want the toxic pesticides, thanks). I know that’s a few things, but I’m the President.

What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

1. You’ll live longer

2. You’ll be better looking

3. You’ll be more likely to be promoted in your job (true)

What else should we know about your weight loss story?

It was hard, really hard. It took sweat and a narcissistic desire to look better. There were days when it was just too much, but I still did it. You just have to keep going, for your own sake.
 
It’s been such a long weight-loss journey. Through the years (especially over Christmases) the weight has crept back up, but only 5-10 lbs, and it just spurs me on for the next step. Now I’m doing more running and have signed up for my 3rd Vancouver Sun Run (10km) and 3rd half marathon, which are both coming up in April and May, so I’ve got even more reason to keep up my fitness regime and keep the weight off!

 

Our thanks to James and don’t forget – as with all our Amazing Losers and their weight loss before and after stories, you can find him on Talk and ask him anything you like! 

If you want to make a change to your life right now – then simply sign up for one of our free 30 day online weight programmes, the only thing you’ve got to lose is fat…