In 2002, at 43 years of age I had a routine company-sponsored medical examination. The liver results were a little screwy and the doctor recommended some further tests. After some more blood tests and an ultrasound, the specialist I was referred to diagnosed me with “fatty liver”, a condition where large build-ups of triglyceride fats occur in the liver cells, causing the liver to really struggle. The specialist gave me two choices; lose 20 kg (44 lbs), or have a liver biopsy. I chose the former.
This diagnosis shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I was 110 kg (243 lbs), with a BMI and body fat % of about 35. I had been like this for the previous 15 years or so.
I had been a very active junior, playing pretty high grade soccer until I was about 18. I became less active while studying at university, and after university got married to my beautiful wife who is a wonderful cook, and took up a fairly sedantary career in IT. I was stressed and worked too many hours and probably ate too much. I didn’t really exercise, other than playing with the kids as they grew up. I coached junior basketball for many years and sort of kidded myself that standing around on the court and pointing and shouting was exercise.
So, 22 years later I’m walking out of a specialist’s office with an instruction to lose 20 kg.
I walked, I rode my bike and I tried to eat better. I lost 10 kg (22 lbs) in about 6 months. Specialist and I were both happy. Over the next 6 months, I lost a little more but not enough. Then over the next year it all went back on again (well most of it, all except a couple of kg).
It appears that the “fatty liver” diagnosis wasn’t enough of a wake-up call.
In June of 2004 I went on a two-week business trip around Asia (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore) with a work colleague. My work colleague was a female, just over 9 years older than me. The weather was very humid, we had two weekends and a public holiday to “see the sights” and to put it plainly I just could not keep up with her. I can still remember the public holiday we had in Hong Kong where we did a lot of walking around, and I thought I was going to die, I was so unfit – and I was struggling to keep up with a 50+ female work colleague. When I got home, I said to Adrienne, I have to do something about my weight and get fit.
So, I did.
By June of 2005 I had lost about 24 kg by sensible eating and increasing the amount of exercise I took – primarily walking and cycling again. I wanted to lose a bit more, but started to find it really tough, hitting a plateau – big time. I joined a gym and started a 6 month plan with a personal trainer – this helped a little, but not a lot. My trainer kept telling me I should run, but I had never been a runner, and didn’t think I could do it, as I had a history of knee pain. However, he persisted (as they do) and I decided to try – it was oh so hard at first (run a few steps, die a little, run a few more), but gradually I got addicted to running. He also told me to start keeping a training log, and every piece of exercise I’ve done since then is stilled logged there.
I bought and read lots of books on nutrition, fitness and running, quickly filling up a couple of shelves on my bookcase.
I came across the Ausrun Runner’s World internet forum, and found a wonderfully supportive and friendly group of people, who talked me into my first “fun run” the 2006 14km “Run For The Kids”. What a blast! Since then I’ve run numerous other runs, including my first half marathon later in 2006, and my first and only (and very ugly) full marathon in 2007.
In April of 2007 I bought myself a new road bike and that really reignited my boyhood love of cycling. In 2008 I completed three triathlons, but have decided that I don’t like the swim leg, so I think I’ve done my last triathlon. Now I love doing some of the longer group participation rides, my favourite the 145km Great Ocean Otway Classic, and am finding that cycling is occupying more of my exercise time than running.
After getting down to a minimum of 68 kg, I settled on a “happy weight range” of between 70-75 kg (154-165 lbs) in August of 2005, and have managed to maintain that now for five and a half years. So, I’ve managed to go from a weight of 110 kg, down to about 72 kg, a body fat of 35% down to about 17%, a BMI of 34.5 down to 22.3, a waist size of 44in down to 33in and a clothes size of XXL or XL down to M or S.
I started blogging in January of 2006 after seeing a number of my Ausrun friends doing it. The main reason I started was accountability. I have really found that putting my health and fitness goals “out there” and tracking my progress terribly helpful in my weight maintenance.
I hope John Bingham doesn’t mind me using his quote on my blog header, because I think it is so apt for me.
Since I have been participating in blogland I have been inspired by so many different people, from all over the world, and keeping my blog active has certainly added to my own incentive to maintain the healthy lifestyle that I aspire to.
Family status: Married to Adrienne (27 years), two wonderful kids, Chris (24) & Kate (21).
Work: Information Technology manager for large multi-national company.
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Things I love: My family, my Jack Russell terrier “Jackie”, running, riding my bike, swimming and general fitness activities, coaching basketball, reading, listening to music and watching TV.
Favourite music: Pink Floyd, Status Quo, Metallica, Bad Company, Blondie, Deep Purple, Sex Pistols, ACDC, Cranberries, Katie Melua, Joe Satriani, Leanne Kingwell, The Angels, David Bowie, Queen, Martha Wainwright, Clare Reynolds.
Favourite TV shows: The Bill, Rockwiz, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order SVU, Alias, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office (UK & US versions), Extras, Little Britain, CSI NY, Bones, Silent Witness, Modern Family, Outnumbered.