We’re always very keen to remind people that weight loss is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one – even if you don’t think you have a bad relationship with food, if you’re overweight then chances are you’ve got some things to work through to get to the bottom of why it has happened.
This week’s Amazing Loser Anthony found just that when he realised that he needed to seek professional help to begin to unpick the ins and outs of exactly why he had struggled with his weight for most of his life. And when he bit the bullet and did so the weight finally started falling off…
Name: Anthony Jones (find him on the forum and ask him anything) Age: 35 Height: 6′ 1 Location: Birmingham Occupation: IT service delivery manager Highest weight: 154.7kg (24st 5 / 341lbs) Lowest weight: 101kg (15st 12 / 222lbs) Weight lost: 119lbs
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
My weight gain started when younger, a lot of my habits with food are emotional and tie back to issues from childhood. I was always the fat kid at school and after school, once I found alcohol and kebabs it just escalated.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
Fortunately, I have never had issues with my health, which is amazing considering my highest weight. However, it stopped me doing many things I’ve wanted to do, like play football or sports full stop or go on holidays where I would be expected to take my shirt off in the sun or to get in the pool. The most negative experiences are just the comments I would get, or the rejection if you were to approach someone you fancy.
What made you decide to change?
My daughter, she changed my life. I didn’t want her growing up and having the fat dad in the playground, or even worse: no dad because I died of a heart attack!
How did you do it?
I sought help. I had emotional baggage that I needed to get to grips with and once I had spoken about my issues I stuck to a plan, reduced calories and worked hard.
Had you tried to lose weight before? If yes, what made this time different from the times before?
I tried every diet possible. The Cambridge Diet, Lighter Life, The Duken Diet, Weight Watchers, Slimming Work, The Atkins Diet… and they all worked. Initially. However, because my relationship with food was deeper than greed, they would never ever be something that was sustainable and I would always gain more than I lost, hence hitting 24.5 stone.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
I had 3 meals a day because that’s what you are taught growing up. I would always have bigger portions because you convince yourself you need it because you’re bigger than normal people. I’d have cereal, but in a big bowl, loaded with sugar and full-fat milk.
I’d have sandwiches followed by crisps and chocolate and a fizzy drink and then I’d have a big dinner, and throughout the day I’d have biscuits and treats too.
What do you eat now?
The main change is that I eat more than 3 times a day. I eat when I’m hungry, whereas before I was eating regardless!
Breakfast is usually fruit, an apple, some pineapple or a banana. If I feel hungry around 10.30 I have a Babybel, then lunch is a small chicken fillet, skinless over a bed of spinach and light mayo. I have some nuts, or another piece of fruit mid-afternoon and then I have chicken/fish and veg in the evening.
I still have chocolate and biscuits but I stick to my target calories for the day, I swapped the 230 calorie chocolate I used to have for a small 78 cal bag of white buttons, meaning that I satisfy my craving but don’t go over the top. My calories for the day are usually 1500 or less now.
How has MAN v FAT Football helped you to lose weight?
I joined the very first league at Fox Hollies and even went along to The One Show. I had to stop due to commitments elsewhere but rejoined in January of this year, it’s given me my focus back as I want to be in the top 10 losers, I don’t want to let my team down – I want to win the league!
Why do you think MAN v FAT Football works?
Peer pressure! You are in a team of 10 other men that are all in the same boat. Your weight contributes towards your team’s goals and you do not want to be letting them down each week.
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
Putting it simply – just do it! If your BMI is over 25 what do you have to lose? Other than weight?
What was the most difficult thing about losing weight?
A couple of things. Initially the weight flies off you, however you will stick to the same food each week and one week you will lose a pound whereas it was 4lbs the week before. You have to not let that deflate you. A pound of fat is massive, so try not to look at it weekly, look over the month.
The hardest thing for me now is actually accepting that I’ve lost weight. My brain doesn’t compute it. I still pick up XXL shirts instinctively, whereas actually I now need L instead.
How did you overcome any difficulties?
I haven’t had any difficulties really, I set myself targets to achieve and allowed myself breaks, I set targets that required focus and hard work but were achievable. Once I hit them I had a weekend out with mates and allowed myself a day or two off and then I was straight back on it for the next target to hit.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I’m able to play football again! I enjoy clothes shopping but most importantly I can have fun with my daughter and never tire. That feeling is just the best in the world.
Who supported you the most on your journey and how did they help?
I cant pick any one person out, all my friends and family have been absolutely brilliant and understanding.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
I’d tell him that an all you can eat buffet is an offer, not a challenge!
No, I believe that most people that are overweight have a deeper reason than just being greedy, so I’d tell myself to go talk to someone about my feelings sooner than I did.
Now that you’ve lost weight, how are you planning on maintaining your weight loss?
This is my life now. I’m not on a diet, I’m just eating properly and exercising. I have treats, I go out but ultimately I stop when I’m full and I don’t let a day of treats turn into a weekend, then a week, then a month. I plan on just carrying on how I am. I am still 2 stone away from my target of 14stone
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what laws would you bring in to help combat the obesity problem?
First of all, I’d stop the adverts selling high calorie, high sugar, low-cost fast food. Then I’d provide counselling for 6 months for each person struggling to lose and keep weight off.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
1. Learn why you are overeating. If you can understand this you are halfway there
2. 80% of weight loss is down to what you eat, reduce your calories and track your intake religiously and give it 2 weeks and you will see the difference
3. A loss is a loss, don’t fall off the wagon because you haven’t lost as much as you want, your body is changing now and you will fluctuate. A small loss is still a loss and it still adds to the overall picture!