Being overweight can be tough for a myriad of reasons, from being out of breath when walking up stairs to the infamous chub rub on a summer’s day, but one of the worst things can be knowing that people’s perceptions of you are based on how you look. This week’s Amazing Loser Shaun struggled with people he thought were friends treating him differently because he was overweight, but as Shaun found out, revenge is a dish best served cold…
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
I was bullied during my school years, unfortunately this made me hide away and begin putting weight on. When I started my first job, I was working in a big city centre which made things even worse because I would end up eating takeout food every single day. Over the years of working the weight just kept piling on.
“I was assaulted for being who I am”
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
People making horrible comments, friends pushing me out and not inviting me to things because I was the “fat one” of the group.
I was hit and assaulted for being who I am, I remember being out and someone who I didn’t know started saying hurtful things, so when I stood up to them and questioned it unfortunately I was assaulted and I didn’t manage to protect myself or stop them. Thankfully it wasn’t too serious but that’s not the point.
What made you decide to change?
I had to change for my health, I wanted to better myself and have a more enjoyable life, but I also wanted to prove people wrong.
“I wanted to prove people wrong”
How did you do it?
I stuck to a healthy diet and lifestyle and also attended the gym 7 days a week.
When I was bullied, I wanted to hide away all the time and this was one of the major reasons I put weight on. I would come home from work, take two or three packets of biscuits upstairs with me and just sit and eat. Then my parents would shout me for tea, I would eat that and pudding before returning back upstairs and doing the same again, just continuing to binge eat in my room with biscuits or chocolate.
I would never go out and socialise with friends, I used to just sit and either play on my Xbox or watch TV. I became so so lazy it was unbelievable. My weight jumped 3x and much more dramatically due to this. But now I cannot even sit in my room longer than 30 minutes, I’m either out and about walking or with friends or of course IN THE GYM! That has been the key.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
For lunch when I was at work I would eat out every single day: Subway, McDonalds, pizza, Thai and Chinese food, etc., and then at home I used to eat takeaways pretty much every other day. Of course this didn’t help my weight at all.
Another problem was that chocolate was one of my favourite snacks and I could easily eat 2 or 3 whole bars a day.
What do you eat now?
Breakfast – Omelette with spinach, seasoning and peppers.
Dinner – 2 chicken breasts with bulgur wheat and broccoli.
Tea – Sweet potato with tuna or salmon.
How was the journey? Straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?
It was very hard for the first 6 months as I struggled a lot but after speaking to people and getting kind messages, this built up my confidence and gave me the motivation to keep going. A lot of the kind messages I received were very positive, e.g. “you’re an inspiration”, “I want to be you”, “I’m so glad I can call you my friend”, “Keep it up, you’re making myself and many others so proud”, “I wish I could be so determined as you”. They really inspired me.
“If I eat that takeaway, what will it do? Do I need it?”
How has life changed now you’ve lost weight?
My life has changed 100%. No one recognises me anymore when I explain to people who I am, it’s amazing seeing peoples facial expressions when they’re like “OMG is that really you?!”. I feel so much better in myself and also feel more positive and confident.
Who helped you the most and who got in the way?
I told myself to keep going and taught myself to not give up. No one really got in the way, although I did have a few negative messages when I first started losing weight from so-called friends saying who said you won’t do it, you can’t do it, you’re too fat, but I didn’t let them hold me back.
What surprised you about losing weight?
The difference in my appearance. Also my so-called “friends” used to say so many things behind my back, they would slag me off and didn’t realise I knew until I said something. I really wanted to be accepted by them, but now it’s the other way around – they try re-adding me on Facebook and ask how I’ve lost the weight and want to talk to me. But I just say, hey, remember what you said to me? They say no and I say well, I do. See you!
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?
You’re a disgrace. Why live a sad and horrible life?! Look at what you can be!
You’re Prime Minister for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?
No fast foods for one week. Free supply of protein shakes and healthy food for one week.
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
1. Portion sizes – don’t go overboard.
2. No fast food restaurants
3. Keep active for at least 3 or 4 times a week.
What skills have helped you on your weight loss journey?
I’ve now managed to teach myself that, if I eat that chocolate bar or takeaway, what will it do? Do I really need it? Most of the time it’s just mental, your eyes and brain see it but when you think about it, do you really need it? I just tell myself no and walk away.