I know how much readers of my site love a good weight loss success story so here is one I know you will love. Matthew is a fellow blogger and shares with me in this guest post how he lost 7 stone in 18 months with exercise and healthy eating.

Matthews story

I have always been a big person. From a very young age I was in and out of the hospital with my asthma; various medications and steroids later I was controlled. They advised me a side effect of the steroids was the likelihood I could gain weight.

I was a comfort eater as a child and I loved going out to restaurants or McDonalds. As I grew older and graduated from school through to college and university I found myself gradually getting bigger and bigger.

That all changed though when I lose 7 stone in 18 months.

Close up of beef burger with cheese and salad

Was my eating a big issue as a child?

My eating was never really the issue. I didn’t binge or gorge. We were relatively poor growing up on a council estate but my parents always did their best to put food on the table and this always featured some form of vegetable or healthy meal.

There was nothing I wouldn’t eat. I loved fruit, but my biggest love was CRISPS! It still is.

I never really tracked what I ate as a child and young adult as I was always very active. I achieved a black belt in Taekwondo and I was always out on a bike, climbing trees and playing football with friends. This continued until I went to college and university.

crisps packet open

Being bigger wasn’t all bad

Being a bigger guy had its advantages, no one picked on me. I used to get the odd comment, but my size and strength dictated how far someone would go with the name-calling.

Nothing was ever as bad as the way I spoke to myself. I was popular and was referred to as the nice, funny guy in my circle of friends – I could get a whole room going and dodge the issue of my weight with a joke or two.

How I felt as a bigger man

On the inside, however, I was a very negative person with little confidence. I would always be the one who hated being in photographs or avoided going swimming on holiday.

Photos were taken at angles that were from the shoulders up and I had anxiety about social/family gatherings. I always wore loose-fitting clothing to hide my lumps and bumps and wore a coat year-round.

I always had an excuse. “I’m not a very good swimmer”. “I need a coat for the pocket space”. “I don’t have a clean shirt to go out around town”.

I was always a happy person but there was always this niggling problem and as I grew older it became more of an issue. My friends were coupling off, having families and getting fantastic jobs.

I felt like my life was going nowhere and I wouldn’t be able to get the job/career I wanted as I didn’t fit the ‘image’. I had been through university and academically I had achieved so much but I had no motivation or energy to do anything about my personal situation.

Thinking about change

I was slowly but surely on a downward spiral into an early grave. I had to do something about it. But how do I start?

I never had cause to weigh myself so I was never aware of the enormity of my situation. I was breathless and lethargic in most daily activities.

Whenever I climbed a hill or stairs or played any form of sport or activity I would sweat profusely. I would find myself avoiding certain situations and would find excuses. “I can’t run because of pains in my knee and joints”. “It’s too hot for physical activity”

However, life has a way of giving you clarity at a time when you need it the most.

Do you need some help to start exercising?

Sometimes those first steps are all you need to get moving and exercise as a new habit. These tips and tricks will get you moving and you will soon forget you didn’t like exercise!

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That epiphany moment where it all changed

Mine was over Christmas and New Year 2011/2012. I was waking up breathless, gripped with the pain of heartburn, feeling as if I had fallen down a black hole.

I was alone and deeply depressed and hopeless. Whilst most were celebrating that time of year I was in my room before midnight upset. That night was a wake-up call for me.

On the 1st of January 2012, I started my weight loss journey.

bowl of smoked salmon pasta

How did I start weight loss

As most people could probably relate to, I started out trying to find a shortcut, a way of losing weight FAST! But as I found out later on in my journey there is a lot more to losing weight and more importantly keeping it off. This is the story of how I eventually lose 7 stone in 18 months.

It’s about changing your lifestyle and habits and more importantly improving your self worth by how you motivate and talk to yourself.

The shortcut for me was the Atkins diet. I said to myself I could do this. Cutting out carbs is easy, in principle.

For me, bread and pasta formed a big part of my life, but I loved eating meat and I had enough experience of cooking to knock up quick tasty meals. However, I quickly learned that this diet is a very limiting/restrictive way of eating.

By the end of the induction period, I had lost over 10lbs but I was still feeling down and lethargic. I had no energy and I had no desire to continue to eat meat and eggs. I couldn’t continue this long term.

Starting again

I decided to start from scratch. This time I was going to do it properly with a healthy balanced diet and exercise.

I found a few Youtube channels that recommended an app, MyFitnessPal. This app changed my life.

It was free and allowed me to track calories easily by scanning barcodes or searching in a very extensive database. I used their calculator to calculate my daily calories.

feet on a treadmill

Exercise

By February 2012, I joined the gym.

I had previous experience of using the gym, but I never really appreciated that to get the most out of your time there you need to work to a program to track progress. It became addictive trying to better my times on the cardio equipment and increase my strength with the weights.

exercise bike

Track your exercise

If you track your exercise then it can help you stay motivated and exercise more regularly. Sign up below for my free download to track your exercise and keep going.

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If you like funky leggings then you should definitely consider Locket Loves, they are so comfortable and go up to size 26. If you use my referral then you can get £5 off and I get some money to spend on more leggings too! I practically live in them now so a new pair will never go amiss!

Cardio

I never really got on with the stationary bike, rowing machine or elliptical machine. I never felt it pushed my heart rate or made me work that hard. Running on the treadmill, however, felt challenging. I started out doing 1-minute running intervals followed by walking for 3 minutes. Slowly but surely I gained confidence up to the point that by June 2013 I could run 5k in 45mins in the morning on the treadmill before I went to work. 18 months ago, I could barely do a kilometre.

By the end of 2012, I had lost over 4 stones in weight. I went from a 3XL to an XL shirt.

June 2013 – I finally hit my weight loss goal!

My advice to you

The five biggest pieces of advice from me are as follows:

Work on yourself

How I talked to myself and motivated myself was a huge factor in my persistence to lose weight. I never sought validation from those around me. All my targets were realistic targets and I tried to better myself each time I went to the gym. The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. Without that, I wouldn’t have lost 7 stone in 18 months and kept it off.

Sharp cutting knife, halved tomatoes on wooden chopping board

Track your calories – have a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fats (but don’t stress too much over this!)

This is important. The age-old adage “eat less, move more” definitely is the guiding factor in weight loss for me. When I started with weight loss I was obsessed with having equal proportions of carbohydrates and protein (40%/40%) and only 20% of fat.

However, as I moved on as long as it was in the right ballpark, after calculating carbohydrates and proteins first what was left became the fat percentage.

On gym days it was essential I had enough carbohydrates and proteins for recovery. The fat was more for satiety and keep me fuller when snacking, nuts etc.

I had the odd cheat day here and there and enjoyed birthdays and celebrations where I didn’t calorie count. But these were very much the exception to the rule! Every now and again is fine and essential to the psychology of you sticking to a program.

Need help with your self-esteem?

I struggle with my self-esteem and I know a lot of you do too. Maybe this self-esteem challenge will help you to focus on working on your self-esteem a little more even if it is just a little step at a time.

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I love wearing fun colourful clothes to help with my confidence and self-esteem. If you like funky leggings, like me, then you should definitely consider Locket Loves, they are so comfortable and go up to size 26. If you use my referral then you can get £5 off and I get some money to spend on more leggings too! I practically live in them now so a new pair will never go amiss!

Exercise

Simply put, exercise makes you feel fitter and better about yourself. When you see the physical changes going on it has an incredible effect on your psyche and mood. The endorphins released whilst training are as good as any drug OR FOOD!

A table with a birthday cakes

Consistency and patience

This really is key to succeeding with weight loss, whatever programme you follow. Set a plan and be consistent. Adjust when things slow down. Your body will have it’s ups and downs and you will have weeks where you feel like there’s no progress.

When I started out properly counting calories after being on the Atkins, my weight loss stalled. I started out the first two weeks losing nothing. However, I felt better in myself and I could see progress being made as my sleep had improved.

An alarm clock on a table

I decided to give it a month before I changed anything. By week three I noticed 3lbs had gone by my next weigh-in. Then 2lbs the following week. Then 2, then 1 the weeks after.

It was as if an avalanche had erupted. It felt incredible. Then I stalled again a couple of weeks after. By this point, I had lost nearly a stone. I reassessed and realised that I hadn’t adjusted my calories in a while so I started again.

Patience is vital, it will not happen overnight. If I’d have said to myself it would have taken 18 months at the start I perhaps would have lost sight and given up. After all, I’d been big all my life and it would be more comfortable to stay the same and blame the program or “hunger”.

However, this was the new me, I don’t talk to myself this way. What have I got to lose? This leads me to the next point.

Get started now

What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose (a lot of weight, hopefully!). The first stage of losing weight is to get going. Making small changes now will avalanche into huge changes later down the line.

I hope this helps inspire anyone struggling to get started. Fast forward to 2021. I am 35 years old, married with three kids. I couldn’t be happier with myself. I have found my happy weight. I still fluctuate from season to season but I’ve managed to keep off the majority of the 7 stones in 18 months I lost and I am wiser to when my body is telling me it’s time to shift a few pounds.

Keeping track of your goals is really important

If you need a little help with keeping on track of your weight loss then this freebie could make all the difference. Simply sign up to receive it by email and use it to help you stay motivated.

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Other success stories you might like

Weightlifting not weight loss – how changing focus can make a huge difference

Fibromyalgia weight loss story

Ben – pre teen’s weight loss story

Why I think you should ignore your BMI

Emma’s weight loss surgery success

Ten truths of slimming as a couple

Dairy-free diet weight loss

Weight loss whilst breastfeeding

Adam’s 13 stone weight loss

Emma’s weight loss story

My weight loss story size 30 to size 6

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Free gifts for you

Are you struggling to exercise, lose weight or feel good about yourself? The free resources and support programmes I have to help you might be just what you need! Check them out by clicking the image below!

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