When lawyer Anthony Foate reached a massive 172 kilos he realised he had to change his life around. Here, he tells his story about how he dropped half of his weight.
I reached 172.2kg through poor lifestyle choices, a difficult marriage and work stresses. It would be nothing to get home, have a six-pack of beer and sit on the lounge watching TV, with take away burgers or pizza.
At one stage I was on blood pressure medication and pre-diabetes drugs. Then, as my marriage deteriorated, I decided I needed to change my life around.
I first went to a gastric banding surgeon, but I decided that wasn't for me. Next, I saw a dietician, and it all sounded too complex and time consuming.
So I decided to go it alone. I had no formal qualifications but did know if you needed 2000 calories a day to maintain your current weight, and consumed 2500, you would put on weight. Conversely, if you only ate 1500, you would lose weight.
Based on my very basic understanding, I started a diet and exercise program. The one thing I did get from the dietician was shakes, so, I started with them. Then I began a high protein, low carb diet. I also gave up alcohol.
I tried jiu-jitsu again (I had done it for 10 years when I was younger) but but found it too hard on the body now I was 50. So I started with F45 and walking. I could pace myself with F45, and they modified certain exercises to suit my level of fitness.
As my fitness levels increased, I could do more. I generally tried to only do upper body work in the early days, and less cardio work.
On the days I didn’t train, I generally lived on shakes. On training days, I added basic foods, like chicken, tomato and lettuce sandwiches on multigrain bread. With this regime I shed some 62kg over the next 12 months.
The only problem, was the loose skin. It got to the stage where I couldn't do certain exercises because it physically hurt to – like star jumps - or really run.
So I decided to have my first ever operation and got the excess skin removed by a local plastic surgeon during a five hour operation. All went according to plan, and I was out of hospital within a few days.
After the operation I was down a total of 72.2kg - weighing in at 100kg and I have hovered around that ever since.
During my hospital stay, I was continually tested for sugar levels, and the range was perfect, as was my blood pressure. The process to loose the weight and regain my health took a solid 12 months, but it was so worth it.
These days my diet is still strict, but not crazy so. I’ve found it's about choices. I still eat out, but steer away from deep fried foods and creamy sauces and instead choose grilled or baked food. I’ve never had a menu with only unacceptable dishes, and it's not really that hard to change.
When I feel like an alcoholic drink, I generally enjoy a spirit with diet lemonade or soda water. For training, it's now a mix between circuit based, normal gym and walking – often depending on the weather.
The best compliment I received was from a mate I had not seen for a while. I was outside the gym in a T-Shirt and shorts. He did not recognise me – he just wondered who the gym junkie was - then was completely blown away when he realised it was me. That was not the first person who did not recognise me – the transformation is just so radical and different.
It's just so nice to look in the mirror and see someone who is happy and healthy. My partner just won gold in karate at the recent Australian open championships, and she keeps me on the straight and narrow too!
My number one suggestion to anyone who wants to lose the kilos is to start the process! Just do it! You don’t need a crazy diet and exercise regimes, but you do need to start. Even if it's just walking.
We have some beautiful beach walks in Newcastle, and I started with a nice flat one. Honestly, don’t get carried away with the idea you need all this special stuff to succeed – you don’t!
But you do need to start and commit to lifestyle change. I’m not special or unique, if I can do it, anyone can.