So I am going back in time on this one and telling you Andy’s story of where he had been the last 10 years of his life and what has changed in ONLY 7 WEEKS! I am hoping this will truly inspire and motivate you to live bigger and healthier lives!
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Here is his story(It’s kind of long, but well worth the read!):
I’m writing this half-way through the most important time of my life, from this moment on everything changes and the person I was before is dead. I want this to be a reminder to myself of how my life used to be, I truly have been blessed to have been given the chance to start again. It’s extremely difficult to put this down on paper but I know there are other people out there who feel like I used to feel, and if this story can help just one person then it is worth the pain and emotion it is taking to write it down.
How do I sum up the past 10 years of my life, well I have to admit that I have been very lucky, I have a great family and a good career, however I realize now that life is far more than where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the most important part is who you are and how you live your life, prior to this time I was just existing, I wasn’t living. I spent most of my time hiding from my emotions and rarely smiled unless I was under the influence of something that helped me forget, whether it was drink, drugs, anti-depressants…….. you get the idea. I remember being on holiday with my parents in a fantastic location and my Dad asking me, “why are you frowning?”, “that’s just how I am” I remember replying, that was pretty much my attitude towards life.
I should point out that the past 10 years of my life have not been a complete waste of time and I have some good memories, however I also have many bad ones, many regrets, mainly about how I have lived my life and what I haven’t achieved.
I would spend 4 nights of every week drinking and the other 3 days of the week recovering from the previous days drinking- all I ever did was work or drink. My diet was truly appalling, I remember my last person I shared a flat with remarking on numerous occasions about how I would die at an early age if I didn’t change something, I didn’t care.
I still took my career seriously, but that was the only thing in my life I seemed to care about. My family would often talk to me about my lifestyle but I would block them out and ignore their advice. I didn’t care about myself and had given up, I really didn’t care what happened to me, I certainly didn’t care about my health.
I remember in my teens that I used to be hugely active and grab every opportunity that life would throw at me, I would sail, climb, run, cycle, kayak, windsurf, ski, surf, swim, shoot, play rugby and generally live an active life. That was until I got to University when something changed, I don’t really know what but I know that is when it started. I stopped doing any type of activities other than drinking and partying. My active life quickly faded away and I soon started to suffer from depression.
Over the course of the next 10 years I don’t remember really ever doing anything that would constitute a hobby or an activity. I would often be invited to go and do active things with friends such as cycling or climbing but was embarrassed by how unfit I was and would avoid doing anything active. Whenever my friends were lying in the sun with their tops off, I would stay well covered up. I went on one skiing holiday but felt so unfit that it put me off going again. I owned a $3,000 mountain bike that in 10 years I only rode 30 miles. I simply did not feel capable of being able to do anything and my personal ambitions dwindled, in fact, I had no personal ambitions, goals or aims in life. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to answer the question “where do you want to be when you are 40”.
I had one relationship over this 10 years which ended in 2006, largely because the person I was with wanted to settle down and have children and I was so unhealthy they could not envisage wanting to raise kids with me. I thought at this point this was the person I wanted to marry, and despite my relationship ending because of how badly I looked after myself I still didn’t heed the warning and carried on abusing myself in my same ways. After the relationship ended I moved to London.
I knew a few people in London, but nobody close to where I lived. There was an unwelcoming looking pub that I walked past every day for two months on my way to work, I decided to go in there one day after work. I met a few people that day and kept going back. Over the next 6 years this pub was where I spent the majority of my free time, I can never fully regret this because I have met some great friends who I love greatly, however I was spending at least 4 evenings every week here and living on a diet of fried chicken, pizza and microwave meals.
My weight increased more and more, and my confidence decreased inversely. I hated what I looked like and inside I hated myself both on a physical and personal level, feeling completely helpless to do anything I hid from my emotions in an inebriated state. I was convinced I was disgusting to women and completely gave up on having a relationship. I had a number of great friends who tried to help offering to help me get on dating sites, take me to the gym, teach me to cook and generally support me but I ignored their offers and did nothing to improve my situation.
My unhealthy lifestyle really hit its peak when I actually moved into my local pub. I soon was at a point where every meal came either from the pub kitchen or from a takeaway. These were 6 of the unhealthiest debauched months of my life, some of it was fun, but it scares me now to realize I was drinking over 50 pints of strong cider a week and generally abusing my body, mind and self.
In 2011 when I was 31 I was offered the opportunity to move to Austin, Texas, USA, where my company’s head office was, I quickly accepted and on March 17th 2012 I moved. My confidence did slightly improve over the preceding months before I left as my friends really made an effort to spend time with me before I left. My confidence was so low that I struggled to understand why people would like me at all, but it was truly touching how my close friends made a big effort to spend time with me before I left.
Initially in Austin my life continued pretty much as it did in the UK, I was still drinking lots and living off takeaways for every meal, enjoying the huge variety of dirty takeaway food that Texas has to offer.
On Wednesday 18th April a random set of events occurred that set in motion something that would change my life forever. Tim, the brother of one of my friends from back in the UK was coming into town, he worked in a similar field to me and my buddy had suggested we meet up, so we got in contact through Facebook. On the Wednesday evening I was suffering from an excruciating headache brought on by a sinus infection, but something inside me made me ignore the pain and get out and meet up. I will be forever thankful that I did and it still scares me now how different my life could have been if I hadn’t shown up.
I met up with Tim, who was out with someone called Nichole, who his brother had met at the music festival South-By-South-West the previous week.
Nichole was in the process of moving back to Austin from Dallas, we exchanged numbers and agreed to go out for a few drinks on Friday. Just to set expectations, I should point out at this point that this is not a romantic story where Nichole and I got together and live happily ever after; it is far deeper and significant than that.
Over the course of the Friday evening I got to know Nichole and listened to her talk about how she lived her life. She seemed an extremely healthy, active, vibrant, ambitious and outgoing person who lived life to the full, never having a dull moment. As the evening came to an end it turned out she didn’t have anywhere to stay so I offered her my couch. The following morning she disappeared off in gym clothes going to run 7 miles round a lake and then go to one of the local gyms to do weights. After hearing about her life the previous evening I started to think about how I could live like that.
The following Friday I received a text from her asking if she could stay on my couch again. We went out with a group of her friends and she told me more about her active diverse interesting lifestyle. The following morning we got up went for breakfast where she indicated that she was going to the gym shortly after, ‘Can I come?’ I asked. I
remember a rather surprised look on her face as this overweight, pizza eating, smoker showed an interest in going to the gym, but she agreed. Since I didn’t have anything that even resembled gym kit she offered to take me to a sports shop and help me buy trainers.
Back to me:
The rest has been a domino effect, in which he has managed to change every ‘bad habit’ and overcome so many physical, emotional, and mental battles.
Here are his before and after photos:
Here is a list of accomplishments:
- Stopped eating takeaways
- Stopped eating microwave meals
- Started exercising twice daily for at least 1.5 hours (often 3 hours)
- Lost 39 pounds in 7 weeks, and 59 pounds in 15 weeks
- Reduced my jean size by 5 inches
- Reduced neck size by 1 inch
- Reduced chest size by 3 inches
- Stopped drinking
- Stopped smoking
- Got a sun-tan
- Started wearing contact lenses
- Started replacing my entire wardrobe
- Thrown out much of my old wardrobe
- Learned to paddle board
- Learned kayaking
- Gone swing dancing
- Started cooking every meal
- Stopped eating any processed food
- Started eating every two hours to help lose weight
- Started attending church and rediscovered my faith
If he can do all of that with a torn ACL in 7 weeks, what is stopping you from achieving your goals?