My name is Grant Joseph, I am 40 years old. As a child I was very skinny, up until the age of 12 and then I started to develop love handles or middle age spread around my waist. Throughout school I was always active in sports and participated in loads of activities, but was never particularly fantastic at any sport. I was always a little overweight but then towards the middle of high school I stopped playing sport and started eating poorly, by the time I reached standard 9 I decided I needed to lose some weight. I bought a box of thins tablets and essentially starved my body for a few months, losing 20kgs. In spite of the poor and unhealthy way of losing weight, I still felt great. I maintained my weight right through varsity and started training weights. I was looking great and feeling great. When I started working at my first job, at the age of 22 I weighed just 60kgs, I had a 6 pack and was well toned. Some 20 years later, I weighted 103kg! I had picked up 43kgs in just under 20 years, which is insane, and I have often wondered how I got there, but the reality is that it was only 2kgs a year, every year for the last 20 years.
I had been very successful professionally, and had achieved all my professional goals and targets by age 38. Still, I felt empty and began resenting my work. I had started a new job in October 2016, one that I knew from the outset wasn’t right for me, it was a high profile job that came with far too many responsibilities that I just wasn’t capable of handling, but I had accepted the job just to get out of my current job, which also made me completely miserable. It turned out to be out of the frying pan into the fire for me. Eventually in January 2017 I had a nervous breakdown. After just 4 months in the new job I had to resign as I could no longer function. I was on all sorts of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication, and genuinely wanted to end my life. I had no back up plan or other job lined up, but I simply could no longer continue. I needed to fix my life, I needed to do something that could change my life and inspire me, something that would make me feel better about myself. I had already started losing a few kilos from stress, by just missing meals, and by the time I resigned I had gone from 103kgs to 94kg. This wasn’t a good type of weight loss as I was simply starving myself.
In January 2017 I began seeing a life coach to try and unpack my issues and understand why I had fallen so far, and why I felt such anxiety. She suggested that I go and see an nutritionist and further suggested that I start doing a sport that I had always wanted to do, but never tried before. I decided on boxing, mostly because it appealed to me because I liked the idea of taking control and having a sense of power. My nutritionist devised an eating plan for me, that she told me from the outset, was not a short term fix, but that the principles of her plan would need to be adhered to for life. I signed a verbal contract with her, and we agreed that this was how it was going to be from here on out. I cut all bad carbohydrates out, I cut all sugars out, I cut all dairy out, and in addition, I also had to monitor my daily calorie intake. The first few weeks I thought I was going to die, it was so incredibly difficult, and I wanted results instantly, and that’s not how it works. I began boxing 3 times a week, and eventually after the first month, I started seeing results. My weight was coming down, I was feeling better, I began weening myself off my medications, as and when I started feeling like I was able too.
My family were absolutely amazing, and the support they showed me was incredible. My wife actually had to meet my nutritionist after my first session, since she was the one that cooked the food in our house, it made sense that she needed to understand my new eating plan for life! I come from a very large family, and as my family started seeing not just a physical change in me, but a general positive impact on my personality, they would all support me and give me loads of compliments, which was like fuel to me, (although not necessarily required). I joined Sleekgeek about 2 months ago, only to find out that there are people that are going through the exact same journey that I did. I only wish I had joined the site sooner, as this would have given me major support on the down days.
I have learned from this journey, that we all have the ability to heal ourselves, we all essentially know how to do this. Unfortunately, in my case, I had to hit rock bottom before I actually did anything about it.
As a gift to myself for losing 35kgs, I booked for a boxing bootcamp in Thailand, for a week. I trained 4 hours a day in blistering heat, ate meals designed for boxers, and learned a great deal about how hard it is to become a professional boxer. It was an incredible experience, and one that I truly am grateful for.
I had many challenges along the way, and the hardest for me was when I just stopped losing weight. I had lost about 20kgs, and was still eating very clean, and training very hard, but the scale would not budge for about a month. I became completely disheartened and started to panic. I had to keep reassuring myself that this was not a one day game, and that the scale actually didn’t mean anything, as long as I was feeling good. I eventually stopped being so obsessed with the scale, and focused more on how I was feeling and on how I was looking, rather then what the scale said.
I feel fitter and stronger today than when I was in my teens. I am now able to box 12 rounds of 3 minutes each. I can play sports with my children, and probably the most unexpected benefit was being able to sit very comfortably in an airplane seat. I am no longer on cholesterol medication or anti-depressants. I would always panic before flying, and worry about getting a middle chair, but having flown recently, and having been booked into the middle chair, I looked forward to sitting in it, and was very comfortable.
My tips for starting out would be the following:
There is no magic diet, there is no magic exercise regime.
Getting healthy and losing weight is about a game of inches, about a game of small achievements.
Doing the right thing every day, every week and most of all getting back up when you fall off the wagon.