As long time readers will know, we at MAN v FAT don’t advocate any one particular dietary plan and although we know you’re all healthily skeptical of anything that sounds even vaguely like a ‘magic pill’, as are we, we do like to keep an open mind and as such, we’re always interested to hear about as diverse a range of approaches as possible.
With that in mind, let it be known that this week’s Amazing Loser Martin attributes at least part of his success to a well-known program that seems to take over the Facebook feed of at least one friend each month and although I have thoroughly unfollowed each of said friends, I was nonetheless intrigued by Martin’s unquestionably stunning success story…
- Name: Martin Kelly (ask him anything on Talk)
- Location: Uddingston, Glasgow
- Job: Senior Manager in large corporate & Herbalife Wellness Coach
- Height: 6′ (183cm)
- Age: 41
- Highest weight: 322lbs (146kg)
- Lowest weight: 174lbs (79kg)
- Plan: Started by trying to cut out rubbish and eat healthily, but switched to Herbalife nutrition program & active lifestyle when stuck.
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose that weight?
Working long hours, away from home (wife and children) and not taking care of myself. Eating high fat, convenience food, lots of coffee and virtually no exercise.
By investing every waking hour into my corporate job I thought I was providing for my family but I was neglecting my own health.“You aren’t fat – you have fat”
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
Apart from being diagnosed as type 2 diabetic, needing to take tablets to control my blood sugar, not having any clothes that fitted me, feeling awful and constantly tired the biggest negative impact was my self esteem and self loathing when I looked in the mirror.
One of my favourite photos of me with my daughters was taken in Florida at a swim park. I had to keep my t shirt on because I hated the way I looked and was self-conscious.
What made you decide to change?
The promises of a career were hollow and the sacrifices I had made in my own health and the time with my family accounted for nothing. As a result, I had an emotional breakdown and was at a massive low point in my life. I felt guilty I had allowed this to happen. That I’d let my family down and was now a fat, horrible failure. At least, in my own mind, if I had been successful then how I looked could be masked by career success.
My wife encouraged me to pursue interests outside of work. One was to get involved with an armed forces charity I had a personal interest in having served in the army. Then one day whilst reading a magazine about outdoor activities I saw an advert for Scotland Coast to Coast adventure race (105 miles). I said to Vicky (wife) that I’d love to do something like that. She told me to just do it. That blunt.
I decided to do my first half marathon and Coast to Coast and raise funds for the charity I was now involved with. I had to do something to win back (or so I thought) the respect of my wife or I would lose her for being a complete failure.
When my training started I wasn’t really on a diet, I just tried to exercise it off. But after a 5 mile race in March 2012 I was so shattered my confidence fell. That’s when Vicky put me in touch with a girl she went to school with who was a Herbalife coach. What I was doing myself wasn’t working.“Weight is just our relationship with gravity, it’s body fat and lean muscle ratios that are indicators of health.”
What made it different from the times before?
It was easy and convenient. I didn’t need to think, just follow a personalised plan. I could also take my shake in a morning during my commute. It fitted my lifestyle and I was saving money compared to what I’d been doing.
When the results started to happen it encouraged me even more and I found my training increased extremely quickly and I had huge energy gains too despite working out more.
How did you do it?
Followed the plan and had a weekly check in with my coach on my personal body composition stats. Continued to exercise as I had been doing for 4 months previous.
What did you eat over the course of an average day?
Triple shot large latte x 4 from 7.30am to 3pm.
Nothing to eat all day whilst at work.
Go training after work and have a high sugar sports drink.
Home to evening meal. Typically oven ready and frozen veg.
When kids went to bed, 1 or 2 pints of milk, biscuits(a pack of cookies was typical) and some toast. I kept eating until I went to bed.
Meal replacement shake for breakfast.
3 or 4 healthy protein based snacks throughout the day.
Meal replacement shake for lunch or healthy balanced meal.
Healthy balanced meal for dinner.
Fibre and vitamin supplements.
2 to 3 litres of water.
How was the journey? Straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?
I plateaud after the initial weightloss from starting to exercise.
Once I changed my nutrition and hydration it was then that I really felt the benefits and it was straight forward because I could see the results and it kept me going.
If it had been time consuming or complex or involved counting stuff (calories or sins or other measurements of food) I’d have binned it. I needed something simple and easy to fit around my limited time. I got lucky that the first program I tried worked for me, but that’s where having a coach helped.
How has life changed now you’ve lost the weight?
Immeasurably! I went on to complete Coast to Coast and came top third of the field (and raised £2013 for charity). Since then I’ve gone on to complete over 9 ultramarathons (between 33miles and 98miles), Coast to Coast twice more taking 3 hours off my original time and then 2 iron distance duathlons (Summit of Ben Nevis is a checkpoint on the 27mile run).
I’ve also been able to help others – I coach others to do what I’ve done and give them the same opportunities I’ve had to change my health and lifestyle.
But the biggest change has been in our family. To be a better role model for my daughters to lead healthy active lifestyles and for us all to be on the go all the time, healthy and happy is priceless. My youngest plays football for Hamilton Academicals WFC and ran the last 3 miles of a 53 mile ultramarathon with me early this year. And my marriage has never been better!
Who helped you the most and who got in the way?
Without doubt my wife Vicky has been my biggest supporter and encouragement! My coaches Emma and Adam really pointed me in the right direction and held me accountable.
No one really got in the way, or if they tried to I just didn’t notice because I was getting results and feeling incredible so perhaps just let it bounce off me.
What surprised you about losing weight?
How many people said ‘you look too thin, don’t lose any more’ or ‘you don’t want to be taking those shakes’. Amazing because when I looked awful, felt terrible, constantly tired and eating pies and biscuits they never said a thing! Yet here I was feeling amazing and now they showed concern. Quite funny really as to what people consider normal.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
You aren’t fat. You have fat. You have gained it. If you can gain it, you can lose it.
Don’t waste any more time. And don’t try and do it yourself, get a coach and a goal and work for it!
You’re Prime Minister for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?
Only one? In that case it would have to be educating our children through a mandatory qualification on nutrition, what the body needs and how to provide it.
Taxation on alcohol and tobacco didn’t stop people drinking or smoking. So taxing sugar and fast food won’t make an impact either. However if we really, truly educate the next generations, we will build a legacy that lasts. We can reverse the impacts of society and remove obesity as the defining feature of future generations.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
Weight is just our relationship with gravity. It’s our body fat and lean muscle ratios that are indicators of health. Don’t get obsessed with weight or BMI.
When you achieve a body shape you are happy with, the impact on your self esteem is massive. Think of a time when you were truly happy… and how much life seemed better. Well imagine that every day when you have self confidence in how you feel and look.
There are two things money cannot buy. Number one is more time and number two is your health. When you achieve a healthy body composition you protect your health and can do more on the time you have. That has to be worth working for!
What else should we know about your weight loss story?
I’d tried to out-exercise what I ate. It didn’t work. I only achieved lasting results when I changed my nutrition alongside being active. The fact I now run long distances isn’t necessary for success. It was just a side benefit. It’s 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.
And I was 37 when I decided to change. The furthest I ran was to the ice cream van. So in a short space of time with consistently daily changes you can make huge changes. Trust me, it’s well worth it and you get to enjoy food so much more!