Just a bit of a background of myself. I have probably spent most of adult life obese with a BMI greater than 30. Since moving away from home to go to university 8 years prior I lived a quite an unhealthy lifestyle which resulted in obesity.
In the summer of 2010 at the age of 26, I weighed approximately 110 kg. I didn’t think much of it until I was on a night out with some friends. One of my friends who is in the military poked me in my belly and said, “you need to sort that out.” That message became embedded into my head and the next day, I entered the Conwy half marathon. The race was 4 or 5 months ahead and during that time I did not drink, any alcohol even touched a takeaway and avoided all sugary foods. By the time of the Conwy half, I had dropped several waist sizes and a whopping 20 kg and managed to complete the course in 1hr47. The following year, I have completed my first ever marathon (Snowdonia) in 4hrs.
Fast forward to 2012, I was thick in the writing up my PhD thesis. My funding had finished and because I was technically still in full-time education I was not entitled to any benefits support. Despite some short-term income I was living on fresh air and reliant on support from my parents. My mental wellbeing was plummeting which rapidly and was completely consumed with severe anxiety. The anxiety would often prevent from sleeping for consecutive days. The cause of the anxiety was the impending deadline of my write up. Anxiety also impedes any form of rational thinking and I began to slip into an unhealthy style of regularly drinking sugary energy drinks, eating convenience food and heavy drinking. Over the number of months, I started to put on the weight and ended up back to near my pre-2010 weight.
Recently, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and mild ADHD (this is another story) but these make me a prime candidate for someone who suffers from anxiety.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to get a science research job overseas (all expenses paid). I worked long hours and thought very little about getting back into a healthy lifestyle until after I returned to the UK and was introduced into parkrun. In November 2013, I completed my first parkrun in 31 minutes. This was the catalyst to get back into training to better my time each week. I wrote a blog piece on my parkrun progress http://markcoop84.blogspot.com/2014/02/parkrun-time-improvements.html
I also starting to lose weight at a healthy rate of 2lb per week (see link for more details http://markcoop84.blogspot.com/2014/02/getting-slimmer.html )
Then this was all put on hold when I went overseas again to carry out more scientific research but this sandwiched a personal challenge of completing 10 half marathons within a calendar year with the final half being Conwy half (where it initially started) in a PB of 98 minutes. I had also become quite savvy with my healthy eating particularly after reading Tim Ferris – 4-hour body. I followed a slow carb diet which resulted in further weight loss without any obvious muscle wastage to approximately 77 kg. see this blog post http://markcoop84.blogspot.com/2015/07/weight-loss-story-first-draft.html
The following year, I ran a half marathon PB in Exeter just on the wrong side of sub-90. I entered NSRRA and eventually finished as runner-up in a very competitive group. I also ran three marathons that year including running a PB in Snowdonia. The following year, I began training for London. The training plan took my fitness levels increased to a whole new level running a new parkrun PB in 19:07. Unfortunately, my marathon training became hindered when I work longer and more obscure hours. I also, I went to my best mates wedding in Australia and on my return, a nasty chest infection meant that my London marathon dream had to be shelved until the next year. I was a bit distraught and never really got back into serious regular training or competitive in NSRRA. The following year I was still working in obscure hours in Manchester so rarely got into regular training routine although I managed to avoid slipping back into bad diet habits. The following year, despite being undercooked in training, I ran the London marathon. I loved the whole London experience, and this convinced me to change my job and move back to Stoke-On-Trent on a permanent basis. I was started to up my training and bag PBs at both 5k and 10k distance and ultimately winning my NSRRA group on the final race of the season.
This now brings me to my current situation. In the last months, I have completed my teacher training which has consumed all my time. During term time, I was regularly working more 80 hrs per week which meant that my running has been put back on the back burner. I also, unfortunately, slipped back onto unhealthy dietary habits resulting in a gain of three stone.
I have set myself the target of dropping this recent weight gain and improve my fitness levels to run another parkrun PB. I know this is going to be a challenge but the outcome will be well worth it.