My Big Fat Obese Story: Part 2

How I found that magic moment, and had a spanner thrown in the works by a car crash.

So in Part 1 of My Big Fat Obese Story, I told you about how I grew from a skinny adventurous youth into an obese graduate. I’m gonna pick up from when I entered the world of work, and how a colleague helped me to change everything I knew about myself.

Post Uni

After University I was jobless and severely depressed. I was applying for anything and everything, but obviously I wanted to find a job that suited my skill set. I’d go to the job centre in Bootle and be treated like a reprobate; I hated being on job seekers allowance. I don’t think there should be any shame in it if you genuinely need help and it’s a stop gap to employment - but they make you feel ashamed. It’s wrong, and I hated it.

I worked hard to find a new job, and eventually I got lucky.

After a few months of looking I landed a job interview at an office supply company. I applied for a job as an order processor, but when I arrived at the interview I was given a proposition — I could apply for that job if I wanted, but they had another position coming up that was a blend of Marketing and IT, that was perfectly suited to my skill set. It was fate.

I ultimately ended up accepting the position and landing myself in an office with some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. Everybody in the room was completely different, but we all had one thing in common; we were all a bit fucking nuts.

Our office Christmas lunch! My favourite group of nutters.

Working with these people was a pleasure every single day, and it went a long way to relieving my depression. I didn’t have time to be depressed, I was so busy! I loved what I was doing, so I spent most of my time focused on my work.

Introducing RayRay

Amongst the group of nut jobs in my office was Ray, who worked in sales and was also the office supervisor. At first I was intimated by him because of his moody personality (Sorry Ray!), but in time I’d learn Ray was just moody in the mornings because him and mornings were not friends. Me and him quickly did become friends, however — and he became my closest and most trusted friend at the company. His friendship is probably one of the most important in my life so far.

Ray had a slim figure but was toned. He trained hard, ate well and was very disciplined. He was the anti thesis to everything that I was.

Honestly, our office was so unhealthy. We sold the most amazing biscuits in the world, and worked next door to a cafe that sold deep fried everything — which made it easy to be unhealthy. We’d frequently pop to KFC or McDonalds, to a pizza shop, burger joints. At Easter we’d sell Creme Eggs by the box which also mean’t we’d buy Creme Eggs by the box. We ate so. much. shit.

But Ray would indulge pretty much just once a week, on a day dubbed Fat Friday (or just “Friday” in my case). That was about it. Other than that he prepared his own meals, and he stuck to it. That was something I wished I could want to do, I wished I could want to be that dedicated, I wished I could want to work out religiously every day. Then I did want it.

My Magic Moment

I can’t tell you what the actual pivotal moment was where I was like “This is it, I need to change” the first time, but that experience is something so remarkable. It’s that magic I was telling you about. Your whole life and mindset just change overnight. There’s a dedication and a commitment instilled in you, and you’re ready to do whatever you have to, to achieve your goals.

The thing that causes this moment, which I learned some time later — is that you simply have to want it enough. That’s all it takes.

The first time I lost weight, it consisted of a boring diet and walking 4 miles a day. I won’t go into it very much, because the method is nothing compared to what I know now. It was very simple, and it certainly worked. I stuck to it and I lost 3 stone. I felt great.

April 2015. This night was the greatest and most confident I’d felt in forever in a social situation, following years of feeling inadequate and doing anything I could to avoid social events.

I was on my way. I felt like this was the end of everything I’d struggled with for so long. This was the beginning of the rest of my life, and nothing was going to break this commitment and dedication pulsing through my veins. I was going to get down to a normal weight, I was going to feel normal. It was inevitable.

I was no longer hulking over people in group photos

I spent the summer feeling fantastic. I went camping with some of my best friends, and instead of feeling like the ‘fat one’ in the group, like I’d felt in any social situation ever for the last 10 years, I started to feel a little more like… me. Like an actual person.

I enjoyed it. While it lasted.

Then, this happened.

On the 1st December 2015, six months into my life as a new driver, my brand new car was hit by a woman who ran a red light in her van. The scene might not look so bad in the photos, but this crash wrote off my car, my body and more crucially — my frame of mind.

My car was moving at approximately 5mph, and impacted by the van at over 40mph, across 3 lanes and up a kerb.

Remember I told you I was walking for hours every day? Well yeah, I got fed up of that and the week before the crash I decided to take up running instead. With my new lighter body I was feeling a lot more confident and comfortable about running in public, especially in the dark, at night!

Then the crash happened. I thought I was strong, but sadly I wasn’t strong enough to deal with this. I’d heard countless times that whiplash symptoms would appear within 24 hours, but I went to bed that night in pain already. I knew this wasn’t going to be good.

As well as being physically painful, it was mental torture. At the time my manager was very tolerant and supportive of the hell I was going through with solicitors, hire car companies and doctors. But that didn’t make it any less stressful.

Regarding the physical pain, it was worse than I thought it was going to be. My neck, back, left leg, right hip and stomach were all in pain for quite some time. Somehow I still had time to be concerned about being absent from work, so I only took a single day off after the crash. I figured I’d be fine sat at a desk. The next few weeks consisted of me driving to work in pain, hobbling to my desk and staying there all day- only getting up for brief moments to relieve my hips of the grinding effect they were suffering from, then driving home again.

I was attending physiotherapy sessions twice a week, but I could barely walk, never mind run. I was incredibly disheartened, and the stress of everything got on top of me, the frustration of not being able to exercise.

Everything went to shit.

I started eating crap again, my diet well and truly went out of the window. I was barely moving because of the pain, and before you knew it I had started gaining weight again. Even come New Year, just 30 days after the accident I had gained a considerable amount of weight.

New Years Eve, 31st December 2015.

There was no coming back from this. I spent the next year sinking further and further back into obesity and depression. I gained back not only the 3 stone that I’d already lost, but an extra 2 stone on top — to ultimately become the heaviest I’d ever been.

Fast forward a whole year to Christmas 2016, and my weight had hit its peak.

Christmas Eve 2016

I spent that Christmas feeling like shit. So much so that on New Years Eve I cancelled my plans at the last minute, because I didn’t have a single outfit to wear that didn’t make me feel disgusting. I stayed in that night hating and feeling sorry for myself in equal measure.

This was especially hard for me as I’d spent the last several New Years with the same people in the same place, and I always loved it. But my love for that couldn’t outweigh my hatred for myself this time. But my depression was so deep at this point, I didn’t care enough to do anything about it.

And They’re Off

It wasn’t until The Grand National Weekend in March 2017 that I snapped out of this depression I had sunken back into, and experienced the second breakthrough “magical” moment in my life. The Grand National was the beginning of everything that I’m going to be writing about on this blog from here on out.

So now you’ve heard about how a car crash changed my life, next I’ll tell you about how a friends simple words and a terrorist attack changed it once again.

Part 3 is available now!