Nature v Nurture – Amazing Loser Keith Russell
Some health problems are hereditary while others we might just inherit a predisposition for, but we can still work to mitigate them. When Keith’s mum and aunt were both diagnosed with obesity related health issues, he knew he had to take action to look after his own health…
Name: Keith Russell
Location: Hemel Hempstead
Occupation: Retail Operations Manager
Highest weight: 118kg (18st 8lbs, 260lbs)
Current weight: 92kg (14st 7lbs, 203lbs)
Weight lost: 26kg (4st 1lbs, 57lbs)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
Chocolate, fizzy drinks and crisps.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
Most of my issues were within. I started to hate the way I looked, and the fact that I could not do some of the things I enjoyed, like playing football or running. I used to get out of breath quickly and I was embarrassed to exercise with others, which just compounded my weight issues.
What made you decide to change?
My mum and my aunt were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes due to their weight, and I did not want to go the same way. I realised that it was time to change while I was still young enough to feel the benefits. I also wanted to feel better about myself, and be able to take on some challenges.
What did you do to lose weight?
Well the first step was actually joining MAN v FAT. Then making the changes to my diet. I was very disciplined to start with and actually surprised myself at how well I avoided temptation. To start with I dropped chocolate, fizzy drinks and crisps from my diet completely for two months. Drank at least 2 litres of water each day and also steadily increased my exercise routine. I slowly added chocolate and crisps back to my diet but on a much smaller basis than before. I now find that I cannot drink fizzy drinks as I find them too sweet! The struggle now is trying to lose the last maybe 10kg that I want to lose and keep it off.
Had you tried to lose weight before?
I have tried other diets before. The big difference for me with MAN v FAT is that I do not want to let my teammates down! We have a great team and we support each other all through the week. Whether it is an inspirational message, or a post of a healthy meal or a screenshot of our days exercise. We push each other, but we also pick each other up if we have had a bad day or have slip into a bad habit.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
Snacks! And lots of them! Chocolate and crisps were always my big downfall. I would easily demolish a 1kg bar of chocolate in one go by myself! I also used to skip breakfast a lot. Takeaways or junk for lunch at work etc.
What do you eat now?
Always have a good breakfast, normally a bowl of mixed Cereal, granola and fruit. With a sandwich or a pasta dish for lunch. Then chicken or beef in some variety with plenty of veg for dinner. I sometimes have vegetarian days or weeks as well to semi detox.
Why did you join MAN v FAT Football?
My friend wanted to join and pushed me to join. I loved it and advertise it to lots of people.
How has MAN v FAT Football helped you lose weight?
The team and the coaches I have had. Lee and now Nadim have been brilliant, always there with advice and support when I have needed it.
Why do you think MAN v FAT Football works?
It is fun, and the team spirit. You don’t want to be the one who scores an own goal. The group motivation, even from members of the other teams.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
DO IT! Do not wait, or think about it, just join in. The best decision I ever made. A couple of years ago I could barely jog 2 miles, since I joined this league I have run many 10k and 5k races and 3 half marathons. My PB for 10k is now 52 minutes and I have gone sub 2 hours for the half marathon.
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
My fitness and my confidence! I am a completely different person. I used to be the one staying out of the way in groups and at parties. Now I am confident enough to join in with everything.
How have you overcome these difficulties?
Great support from my team, my coaches and my family and friends. I have been very lucky to have fabulous support team.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
As I said I am fitter than I have been since I was in my teens and I am more confident and outgoing.
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you on your weight loss journey?
My team mates in the reds, my coaches Lee and Nadim and most of all my girlfriend JP (she has been amazing!)
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
Get to MAN v FAT!
What are your next steps now that you’ve lost weight?
I want to get down to between 82 and 85kg. And I want to improve my running PBs. I have cut a lot of junk out of my diet and plan to keep it that way. I know that if I eat something high in calories that I need to exercise to balance that out.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the obesity crisis?
Get children more involved in their diets and better education around smart food choices. Ration fizzy drinks.
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
Drink lots of water, if you feel peckish try having a drink first as your body often mistakes thirst for hunger.
Exercise, even a 30 minute walk per day will help you start your weight loss journey.
Know why you are doing this and who it is for. It is for YOU, not for family or friends, you are doing this for you. To make you feel better about yourself, to be fitter, to live a longer and healthier life.