January 4, 2000. I'm hungry, and consider purchasing a Large Burger King Whopper Meal whilst standing in the chilly heartland of Stevenage town centre. Before I do, I hop upon a set of outdoor weighing scales, aware the previous months were quintessential terms of personal indulgence; peaking with my regular late-night visits to the 1am shop - where I would buy three chocolate bars, a can of Dr Pepper, and large packet of Spicy Monster Munch crisps - then venturing straight to my bed in order to view wrestling per-per-views on VHS, as I vertically downed my mass collection of spiked sugars and processed fats. I flip in the 20 pence piece, then watch in horror, as the scales swing to barely under 15stone (210 pounds). I am 5feet 7inches tall, my stomach 36 inches of solid blubber, and I never exercise. It hits me hard; there are two weeks to go until my nineteenth birthday... and I am a lard-arse!
I visualise munching a Whopper, but a mixture of guilt and weakness echo the cycle of Apollo Creed screaming in my mind "There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!" I swallow, hard. No moment paralyses my health with such ferocity - the closest call arriving three weeks previous, on view of a shirtless, ectomorphic, muscle devoid physique of Neil Morissey, during an episode of Men Behaving Badly, which causes me to think with a strong hint of envy, "I wish I had a body like that." In the cold light of Stevenage, I decide to turn my health full circle. I have lived a lifetime eating shit; my fruit-less diet proving fruitless for my genetic coding. I devise a strict, rigid diet plan; consisting of Boots Nutraslim protein drinks, wholemeal bread and cereal, skimmed milk, apples, bananas, cracker biscuits, diet coke, and the odd carton of Sunny Delight - stolen from the shelves of my next-door neighbours back garden.
My weight is a meaty 14 stone 10 ounces (206 pounds). My ideal weight - according to a base-level internet page I come across whilst secretly browsing my brothers CompuServe account, is 10 stone 10 ounces (140 pounds); this becomes my marker - my goal for the 31st of December 2000. I have no intention of engaging in faddy, quick fix solutions; I am aware the longer it takes to achieve a goal, the longer said aim lasts as a portion of living - even though I am befuddled as to why I attain this knowledge. Thinking long term; I imagine myself thirty-years-old, with a rippling six pack, huge pectoral muscles, and legs to make Nijinski proud. For now, slim will do just fine, a decade of chubbiness is my main port of au revoir.
The initial months proceed well - persisting through a regular, low calorie food intake. It is tough at first, but as I slowly grow slimmer and slimmer, my faith in the long road ahead matures. By the arrival of May, I weigh 11 stone 11 ounces (165 pounds). I no longer crave sweets or take-aways, but there is still a stone to lose. So I head to Argos to purchase a cheap, twenty quid weight set. I devise a rudimentary home workout involving dumbbells, wooden plank, chair, and guitar amplifier as a makeshift bench. My body has plateaued, and am aware the scales may linger for many months; I worry my hearts desire will struggle to push it out. However, my faith is restored during a regular battle of family park football sibling rivalry. My elder brother - carrying weight issues of his own at this time, randomly calls me a fat bastard. Initially I am angry, but little does he realize he had just provided me every ounce of motivation, to shed the stubborn final stone.
As Summer and Autumn vanish with regular aplomb, and London's cold Winter pierces its Arctic chill, my life is turned around. I am slim, confident, working a full-time job, making friends, and on an upward trajectory. I am inches from achieving an aim born from personal desire and naked ambition. Nobody encourages me to reach this point (Even though, many were pleased I did), as I both shed my skin, and unintentionally discover the goals of all avenues in achievement carry similar structure of process. It is December 31st, 2000. I step with trepidation on the scales, knowing anywhere above my specific marker equates to failure.. I am 10 stone 9 pounds (149 pounds). I smile to myself, for I have defeated a monster. There will be many many more dragons in varying guises to slay, but now I know I can, I know I always will.
As 2001 rolls into town, I lose my desire to weight train, but my diet consists on the side of health freak, and I will never be overweight again. I am not a super-hunk by any means, but am slim and healthy; I feel as if I have found my Rushmore, reaching the peak of physical prowess. My weight and physique remain consistent for a few more years; a 30 inch waist, slim, of low muscle, agile and energetic. Come March 30th 2005; in a solitary moment of divine inspiration, everything changes. My weight loss, even though I never realised it at the time, was only the beginning...