Taking The First Step: Amazing Loser Charlie Babington
Being overweight is all fun and games until your body gives you a wake-up call, and then it’s oh shit. We’ve probably all been there, and for Amazing Loser Charlie this moment came when he started getting heart palpitations and chest pains. It was then he realised he needed to make some big changes…
Name: Charlie Babington
Location: Cheadle, Staffordshire
Occupation: Landscape gardener
Start weight: 146kg (22st 13.9, 321.9lbs)
Current weight: 125kg (19st 9.6 275.6lbs)
Weight lost: 21kg (3st 4.3, 46.3lbs)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
I’ve been heavy for my whole adult life so I had just become used to the pains and aches of being big. It was only during the first Covid lockdown that things got really bad. The weather was amazing, everyone was off work, it was like an extended summer holiday! I found myself drinking every day and having no regard for what I was eating and just ballooned.
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
It’s awful being overweight. I was picking up silly injuries in my job, wheezing after running up the stairs, struggling to play with the kids. Also, my mental health took a really bad turn because of it, with me hitting a really dark period of my life.
What made you decide to change?
I started having heart palpitations and chest pains playing at my MAN v FAT Football club and during work. That really scared me. I’d always ‘got away with it’ up until then, but it was a real wake up call.
How were the first few days and weeks after you decided to start losing weight?
I’d been at MvF for about a year before I made the decision to make real changes. You have to remember though that the first year was hit massively by Covid so we’d hardly played in months.
I saw some guys talking on Twitter about setting up a men’s weight loss group so I got involved with that. I live for structure. I put on weight when that goes out the window (like a lockdown!) This, along with MvF gave me exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.
Had you tried to lose weight before? What made this time different?
Yes, I’ve tried all the diets over the years. I think this time I was looking at being healthy rather than losing weight. My thinking being that eating the right foods and exercising will lead to weight loss, and that’s exactly what happened.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
I never used to eat breakfast, ever! I work on my own and I’m often on the road between customers so it’d be McDonald’s, a Tesco meal deal or another type of fast food.
Then dinner would’ve been something heavy like chilli with loads of Doritos, cheese etc. Then nighttime was full of snacking. At my heaviest, I was eating a big bag of crisps every night, with Coke and chocolate.
What do you eat now?
Now, first and foremost I drink 5 litres of water/squash every day. That’s huge for me and has made such a difference.
I have Weetabix for breakfast or if I’ve got more time I’ll have an omelette. I prepare lunches for the week on a Sunday and that’s been massive for me. It has stopped me surfing for a drive-thru while I’m at work. It’s normally chicken/turkey/beef with half a pack of rice, with some veg/salad.
Dinner is normally from the Pinch of Nom books. Or it’ll be salmon with veg, jacket potatoes etc. We don’t compromise at home, it’s never felt like a diet! Then in the evening, we have things like Skinny Whips or Fibre One bars for the sugar craving. I hit about 2000 calories a day, where before I was having 4000+ easily. Scary really.
You’re a MAN v FAT Football member. Why did you join?
I’ve missed playing football so much. It’s been about 10 years since I was in any sort of team and it’s purely down to confidence and fitness, I didn’t have any of either! So the idea of playing with like-minded people and losing weight at the same time was a no brainer.
I love our team, we all drive each other on. The support is fantastic. I also like the responsibility I have to the team, i.e. losing weight to score goals for the team. I thrive off that.
It’s a supportive environment for people that all have the same goal. We love playing football and we want to lose weight and MvF helps us do that!
What would you say to anyone thinking of joining MAN v FAT Football?
100% get involved. Find your nearest club and get in touch! I’m not from Stoke originally so I knew nobody in the area before joining. I’ve now got the best group of mates you could ask for.
What has been the most difficult thing about losing weight?
Letting setbacks stop you in your tracks. Things like plateaus, or putting weight on etc. It can really knock you and you have to try and let it go.
I’ve tried to get over this by cutting myself some slack! I try and remember where I’ve come from and give myself credit for that.
How has life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I’m so much healthier, mentally and physically. My kids are getting the best version of me, my marriage is happy, it’s changed my life considerably.
Time for a shout-out! Who has helped you lose weight, and how have they supported you?
Dave at Stoke works so hard to help everyone. It’s a thankless job sometimes but he really does do a great job. Also, having Sam on my team who has lost so much weight and is a constant inspiration. And my team, Expected Toulouse are the best bunch of lads I could’ve asked to be put in a team with and I’m so lucky to call them teammates, let alonel friends.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest, what would you say to him?
It’s not over big lad! You can turn this around, your family needs you!
Now that you’ve lost weight, what are your next steps?
I’m still 2/3 stone away from where I want to be. I’ve taken up Thai boxing, which is an amazing workout, I’ve also signed up to the gym to take it to the next level.
You’re Prime Minister for the day – what would you do to help combat the current obesity crisis?
We need to end the stigma around being heavy. It doesn’t define anybody, and it can be changed.
I would introduce gyms for people over people over a certain weight, like a MvF but for gyms. I know how awful it can be walking into a gym and that’s a huge reason people don’t do it. I’d also stop there being a fast food joint on every corner!
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
- You CAN do it.
- Drink water
- Start by walking. Just take that first step and the rest will fall into place.