For many of us, weight loss isn’t a road; it’s a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs – exciting losses, deceptively calm plateaus, terrifying gains and even dizzying loops (Christmas). At one point on Mike’s journey, he was getting turned away from a ride at Alton Towers for being too big, but there’s been a lot of track covered since then and these days he’s eyeing up a half marathon…
Name: Michael Hurst
Occupation: Data Scientist
Highest weight: 152kg (24st, 336lbs)
Current weight: 114kg (18st, 252lbs)
Weight lost: 38kg (6st, 84lbs)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
I have always been on the heavy side, even in my childhood. My significant weight increase though happened in 2013, after the birth of my daughter. I fell into bad habits and stopped looking after myself.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
My biggest issue was lacking confidence in being able to do things, always thinking “what if?”. I would constantly avoid situations where my weight would be an issue. I used to dread boarding airplanes, just in case. One specific negative experience was being turned away from a rollercoaster at Alton Towers because I couldn’t fit.
What made you decide to change?
There was no one particular experience, rather a culmination of a lot of things. I remember having to stop after going upstairs in work to catch my breath which really spurred me on to change.
What did you do to lose weight?
Joining MAN v FAT was a big positive. It was all about accountability to my team mates. The overall feeling was towards positivity and encouragement which really helped.
Had you tried to lose weight before?
Yes, I had times of success with weight loss, but longevity was the problem. I would always slip back into bad habits. Again, the accountability was the key thing, I knew that I couldn’t slip into bad habits as it would let the team down.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
I am not a picky eater but my main problem was over-indulgence. I would have reasonable meals three times a day, but snacking, both in terms of frequency and quantity, was a problem. It wasn’t unreasonable to me to go through a pack of biscuits in one sitting.
What do you eat now?
I generally try to eat three meals a day, but always ensure that those meals have some form of veg/salad as part of them. My main key is to reduce the snacking in between meals though.
Why did you join MAN v FAT Football?
To lose weight and to ensure that I was fit and healthy for years to come.
How has MAN v FAT Football helped you lose weight?
It is a great support network whilst doing something that you enjoy.
Why do you think MAN v FAT Football works?
Mainly the accountability and positive environment from your teammates. The programme is all about the people. I have been very lucky to have an amazing supportive team who have guided me through the difficult times. In addition, the weekly weigh in and amazing nutrition advice from our league coach Nas was invaluable.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
Just to try it. Anxiety is a key problem with most people and you just have to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Each person, whether they’re big or small, are all there for the same reason.
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
My biggest difficulty has come recently. I set my aim to lose 5 stone prior to a big family holiday in November. The weight loss efforts after coming back from holiday and Christmas in the middle have been difficult in terms of trying to get back into a solid routine.
How have you overcome these difficulties?
I was encouraged to take a positive mindset. Its important not to force weight loss. There will be times when its just not happening, the key is to be positive and be patient and try new techniques to get back on track.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
It has given me a new lease of life and my energy levels have never been higher. I, along with some other members of the club, have formed a de facto running club on the back of MAN v FAT where we join up and go running, whether it’s training, park-running or organised events. Our first event was the Cardiff 10k last September and we have a few others planned for this year in preparation for the Cardiff half marathon in October. I have also recently started blogging about my weight loss journey in the hope that I can help other people who were in a similar situation to me.
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you on your weight loss journey?
Nas, the coach from MAN v FAT Cardiff has been invaluable. He manages to simplify weight loss in a manner no one else I have ever met has. His advice and encouragement are worth their weight in goals.
My team, the pinks, have been amazing. My journey (so far) hasn’t just been mine, its been ours. Without my team mates, I wouldn’t have had the success I have had. Some of their efforts have been truly inspiring.
Even though MAN v FAT is competitive between teams, I must also echo the importance of other members at MAN v FAT Cardiff outside of my team. The positivity surrounding the league is amazing and everyone is really looking out for one another.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
That you can make a change and that you are not alone. Other people are out there to help and to use that help.
What are your next steps now that you’ve lost weight?
My three goals for 2020 are to run the Cardiff half marathon, run 500km in total and to reach a healthy BMI (about another 5 stone to go). I aim to do this through MAN v FAT but also activities such as participating in the MAN v FAT Cardiff running spin-off group (Fresh Start Runners Wales). I am hoping to do some fundraising around these goals for a local young persons’ life-limiting hospice. I also intend to continue on with my blogging (theweightofit.co.uk) to again help with my own accountability and to help others that were in my situation.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the obesity crisis?
Everything is tied to mental health. However many programmes are put in place to combat the obesity crisis, if the person doesn’t have the right mindset about wanting to change, they won’t. It’s all about putting programmes in place to inspire people and to ensure that no one feels that they are alone.
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
Positivity, accountability and fun.