Project Garry: Can A Bootcamp Solve Your Weight Problems?

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Every fat guy has had the boot camp fantasy. No, not that fantasy, the other one. The boot camp fantasy where you feel horrible about yourself and in a fit of courage you book yourself into a boot camp. It’s brutal, you sleep on an army-type bed and there are really high walls to climb over, which at first you can’t manage. But, after a well-placed and inspirational training montage, somehow you learn to believe in yourself and make it over that gosh-darn wall.

That fantasy.

But is it true? Does it actually work? Well, as they say the proof is in the pudding (or rather, it’s in avoiding the pudding and doing lots of ab-crunches), so we found a volunteer – Garry, who has been with MAN v FAT since the early days and who has struggled with his weight for a long time. He also suffers from Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, a potentially very serious condition which is primarily affected by weight. Here he is talking about his relationship with food and weight earlier last year…

Then on the other hand we have New You Boot Camps. Friends of MAN v FAT for a long time who just so happened to have a place going spare on a future camp. They stand by their boast that they’re Europe’s Number 1 Weight Loss Boot Camp. So surely, it’s just a case of putting Garry in their capable hands and watching what happens. Well, that’s what #projectgarry is all about. Every week Garry will be taking us through his preparation for his date with New You and we will be following his progress.

Please do support him in this – he’s putting himself out there and I know he’d love your support over on the forums. As we all know, when you’re engaged in a challenge, a simple word of encouragement can be enough to get you through. We’re all behind you Garry and can’t wait to hear the updates and see how you’re doing. Over to the man himself…

Date: 25.3.15

Current Stats:-

  • Weight: 177lb (82Kg)
  • BMI: 30.5
  • Chest: 44 in
  • Waist: 40 in
  • Neck: 16 in
  • Thigh: 23.5 in
  • Bicep (unflexed): 12.5 in

I have been struggling for years with my weight. When I was 25 I weighed 9 st 9 lb. That, as far as BMI is concerned, is EXACTLY the weight I should be for my height. After moving to a relatively flat Hampshire from an extremely hilly Cornwall, I started to put on weight. Too much food and not enough moving being the main culprits. Fast forward almost 20 years and, well… maybe I don’t look that fat. Do I? Looks can be deceiving, though. My BMI suggests that I am obese. Yes…I have muscle mass from years of cycling, but I am still obese. BMI currently sits at 30.5. I am 5′ 4″ and weigh 177lb (181lb, on a “good” day). At least I have my good looks, charm and a full head of thick, black hair. Oh, wait…

Garry.S - Front

What gives my obesity issue even more gravitas is that I also suffer from NAFL (pronounced Naffle). This is the acronym for Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver. What has caused this? Years of pasties and cakes and sausages and sweets and doughnuts and pizza and crisps and fizzy pop and, well, you get the idea. By itself, NAFL is completely controllable and reversible – eating well and exercising can completely reverse the effect of NAFL. On the other hand, if I continue to eat badly and neglect exercise, it can lead to scarring of the liver, cirrhosis and cancer.

I really haven’t helped myself at all, you see. I have suffered from high blood pressure since I was diagnosed at 32 (and probably had high blood pressure well before my diagnosis). At 44, you would think I had learned my lesson by now and created a “zone of virtue” within my body. Sadly, this is not to be. I can still put away two family-sized packs of crisps in a day (yes, that’s around 2000 calories just on crisps).

I often over-eat, piling my plate up and even going back for seconds (or thirds). I feel jealous if someone has the last piece of pizza. I feel hard done by if someone has one more onion bahji than me. I feel happy when I’m eating, and yet…and yet, the guilt and pain wracks through me like the tortured soul of a ghost passing through the body of their true love. I feel sorrow and shame; I feel fat and stupid; I feel a failure. I am failing myself, my wife, my children, my family and my friends.

I have struggled with willpower; struggled with the mental capacity to just say “NO” when faced with temptation. I have all great intentions and then someone brings round a 12 pack of donuts, some ciders and a bag of crisps and I’m suckered in. My mental issues are more than likely the root cause of this. I have a distinct lack of willpower. I quit easily. I accept failure as the norm for me; so much so that friends and family just expect me to fail and cannot get excited for my new found enthusiasm for the latest fad diet. I can’t seem to overcome my issues, though, so I spiral through desperately wanting to diet, trying, failing, desperately wanting to diet, trying, failing….

This all changed today.

I have been frequenting this website you may know, called It is, essentially, a website specifically for overweight men. Yes, there are plenty of weight loss classes out there, but they are mostly geared towards women (not that they don’t welcome men – it’s just…. uncomfortable weighing in with a whole room full of women. Plus, my menstrual cycle doesn’t really affect my weight!) I had some success with Weight Watchers and a gym membership but struggled to see it through. And besides, I KNOW what I need to do and I KNOW what foods are good. I also KNOW how much I should be eating. I just…. well, I just fail.

Garry.S - Side

MAN v FAT has helped me along the way. It’s by men, about men, for men (and, yep… ladies are welcome, too). I have been a member of the site since its embryonic beginnings and have got to know the guys on the forum well, including a certain Andrew Shanahan. This is a tight network of members who stick together and help each other out via the forums. It’s pretty awesome to have that support from people who really understand what you are going through; to read the inspirational stories of everyday people who have overcome their fears and issues to achieve what I could only have dreamed of!

Andrew happened to ask me how I was getting on recently, so I regaled tales of my woes and troubles. In between complaining about spraining my ankle and putting my neck out, I’d mentioned that I was still struggling with will power and diet. Well, Andrew, being the kind-hearted soul [I didn’t pay him to write this, honest – ED] offered up a rather intriguing suggestion. I had, in passing, told him of my conversations with my wife about how I feel that the only things that might help me were either having three meals a day thrust into my face and no deviations, or to attend a boot camp. On picking up a message from Shan half an hour later, I saw the words… “If MAN v FAT could organise a Boot Camp for you, would you attend and review it for us?”

My mouth agape, I replied. “Really? REALLY?? Of course I would!”

So, here I am… this is my first post and I will be attending the New You Boot Camp at the end of April. Their website says it’s a life-changing experience, yikes! Specifically, I shall be attending the 7 Day Fitness Camp (you can see the kind of week I am going to have here… Am I excited? Yup. Am I petrified? Yup. Do I really need this? Yup. Will it help you guys out? Yup.

There are a couple of minor provisos. The first is that I keep you guys on MAN v FAT updated and that you can ask me questions on what I am doing, how I am achieving it, how I’m feeling and anything else you can think of. The second is that I get myself a little fitter, a little more lithe and sort my nutrition out so I can cope with the (apparent) beasting I am going to receive.

The journey starts here!

You’ve read his story, now go say hi over on Talk and let’s get #projectgarry off to a great start. Look out for his first week update over on Talk this Friday. 


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