Learning to carry your excess weight can be just as amazing as managing to lose it.
I looked across at the summit of Everest glowing in the newly risen sun and caught my breath. From my vantage point, just over 6,000m above sea level, high on the Mera Glacier, I was seeing the world as only Gods and Elite Mountaineers tend to see it. I am neither God nor Elite Mountaineer. In fact I am quite overweight. But I have long since learnt that the realms of adventure and incredible achievement are there for anyone regardless of your weight. You just have to know how to carry yourself into them.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
My Body Mass Index (BMI) has been in the obese category for the past 20 years. I’ve tried every weigh loss plan on the planet, resolved to change my life every January 1st and obsessed over everything I’ve put in my mouth for years. The only lasting loss seemed to be my happiness.
Click on the image below to learn more about Body Mass Index (BMI)
Amazing At Any Weight
I’d often thought about the person I’d become once that excess weight was gone. Confident, sexy, fit, healthy and jogging through life. Yet it seemed like an impossible dream because I kept trying to lose the weight but never managed. Somehow I realized that I can run that Marathon, swim across the sea or climb in the mountains. I don’t have to lose weight to be that person. I’d been that person all along and just didn’t realize it.
The power of that realization was incredible and lead me into adventures and achievements I had never thought possible. I’ve listed some of the high points in that journey below. Everything on that list was achieved whilst my BMI has been between 37 and 40 (Well within the obese range for an adult male).
Click on the links in the list to find out more about the events listed.
- Summited 54 Munros (Scottish mountains over 3,000ft)
- Completed 3 trips to the Himalayas reaching Everest Base Camp and a height of 6,140m on Mera Peak
- Reached Stella Point (5,685m) on Kilimanjaro
- Reached the highest point in North Africa. Summit of Mt Toubkal (4,167m) in the Atlas Mountains
- Completed the Trossachs Plod, 31 miles across country in Scotland in 14 hours.
- Completed the Great Glencoe Challenge (26.2 miles across rough terrain from Glencoe to Fort William in Scotland) twice in under 12 hours (11:22 and 11:52)
- Completed a cumulative Channel Swim over 12 weeks in a swimming pool three times (max distance swum 1.75 miles in one swim)
- Swum a mile in the open water in the Mersey in Liverpool, UK
- Jog Scotland Jog Leader for 2 years, completed the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon twice and the Men’s Health 10k four times.
You don’t have to put the achievement of your dreams off until the weight comes off. My story is evidence of that and, by telling it over a series of blog posts, I am going to use it as a framework of practical tips to help anyone who wants to follow a similar path.
Breaking Down The Barriers
- First we’ll discuss humility, knowing your limits and setting achievable goals. There’s no point in watching an 8 stone athlete on Youtube telling you how to run a sub 3:30:00 Marathon. You’re just watching someone you’ll never be telling you how to do something you know is impossible. It’s the guy in the mirror, not the guy on the telly who’s going to do this stuff and I assure you, you can do a Marathon!
- Next is to look at the physical aspects of carrying your weight. I suffer from High Blood Pressure, have pulled many muscles and often have lower back pain. I’ve taken it all onto the roads, into the water and the mountains. We will look at stretches, warm ups and easy physical steps to deal with these problems. It will be fun!
- It can be difficult turning up at the start of a run or meeting the team for a trek for the first time when you know you don’t ‘look the part’ and you think everyone is looking at you. This post will talk about finding the magic inside of you and believing in it despite the looks, comments and events going on around you.
Starting Your Adventure
After reading the preceding articles you may have discovered your inner warrior and have limbered up, stretched off and be rearing to go and do something amazing. This being the case, there are three articles you can choose from to get you started. Read them all, find the one that fires you up the most and let’s go!
- How to get started towards your first Marathon, Half, 10K or 5K. It’s not so much as going for a run where every walk’s a fail. In the early days it’s about going for a walk where every jog’s a bonus.
- Getting into the water. Whether completing one of the distances in Swimathon, completing a cumulative Channel Swim over a period of time or heading into the open water, there’s organizations, events and holidays which you can enjoy.
- The call to the mountains. Many of the mountains in Scotland have terrain or stretches which compares closely to the treks and climbs on some of the highest mountains in the world. Then there’s The Lakes in England, and Snowdonia in Wales. The initial call for me was the call to Everest but there’s many Treks in Nepal, Kilimanjaro and Toubkal in Africa and many more around the world. This post will cover the main practical aspects to get you started. I have also written a series of Mountaineering articles which you can start to follow here.
It’s Still Good To Lose Weight
I will always continue to try and lose weight. Even a 5% loss of bodyweight can have tremendous benefits to health.
Click on the image below to see 15 benefits of losing 5% of your bodyweight.
The fact remains however that many of the health issues and mental challenges associated with being overweight can be managed or overcome. Click here to read my next post where we’ll start on the journey by looking at knowing your limits and setting realistic goals. I hope you stay with me through this journey.
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