Saturday, 3 April 2021

Featured Post - Chris's Weight Loss Journey


Chris's Journey So Far

Starting Weight: 105 kilos
    Weight now: 89 kilos
   Goal Weight: 70 kilos

Chris started his weight loss journey back in October 2020 when he was at his heaviest weight. His approach to his weight loss journey has always been 'slowly but consistently' as he feels this will keep him on the 'straight and narrow'. I asked Chris how he felt at his heaviest weight. 
"I have never really been a health conscious person to be honest, however, after spending almost 10 years at sea, I realised my weight was gaining which was not good. Over time, I felt lethargic, things were becoming too much trouble, often just the simple things. I felt more tired generally and my ‘get up and go’ certainly had ‘got up and gone’ so to speak.."

He has done so well with his eating plan. His decision to change the way he lives his life, was pretty much at the beginning of the second lockdown. He has managed to stay on track for over 6 months, with a 'blip' here and there. Chris lives in Cyprus and eats the Mediterranean way. A lot of food is cooked outside on the open grills , or by the traditional way of 'slow cooking' in clay ovens. Chris is a fine cook. He enjoys his cooking, baking and barbecues. Luckily for him, he has guaranteed weather conditions for outside eating delights.

Chris is an active member in my Private Facebook Group. Just recently he shared with me an Indian dish he was preparing and just about to place on the barbecue. I am not much of a cook myself, but as a nutritional post, I had shared a curry dish on the group......his cooking skills, however, are far superior to mine and he makes it all seem so easy......

Even with these amazing skills, he manages to find healthier versions of his favourite foods. Now, he can
still enjoy what he loves, without ruining his new way of eating.

 Chris comments:

"As Cathy well knows, my favourite meal is an Indian Takeaway Curry. I have surprised myself as I haven't had one since last October, even though I still pickup takeaways for mum and the live-in carers. Clearly I have set my mind to ignore even my most favourite foods which I am really pleased about"

Chris found that writing down everything that he eats and drinks, is a great way to keep tabs on all that he consumes. It is too easy to pick at food when you live in a hot country, whilst preparing your dish the Mediterranean way. I asked Chris why he decided to lose weight and what was the one thing that made him make the commitment to change his eating habits? 

Chris says "I have not had an easy run, shall we say, over the last few years. In August 2018, after a routine blood test, found my PSA was over 10 and prostate cancer was confirmed. I had the removal operation straight away and so far, all is good. Two months later, I suffered from Diverticulitis in the large intestine and was hospitalised yet again and had a large part of my intestine removed. I then had to spend the next 6 months with a colostomy bag as a companion. After a further 6 months, I was hospitalised yet again and had the Diverticulitis reversal operation done. Thankfully that rid me of my little plastic friend. Two months later, I lost my Father, which knocked me for six. After everything I had been through, this knocked me harder than I thought, but, I got through it. It wasn’t until October of 2019 that I visited my GP (I never visit Dr’s normally) because I had a throat infection which clearly needed antibiotics. While he was checking me etc, he asked if I could diet for three weeks! I was confused as to why he said this, however we were talking about me needing a stomach hernia operation (results of the two previous ops). The loss of a bit of weight wouldn’t do me any harm. He wasn’t telling me I had to, but I took this onboard as a challenge and said I would. So I kept a log of what I was eating & drinking each day. Once I started, I found myself feeling guilty whenever I felt I wanted to fall off the rails by eating or drinking something I knew I shouldn’t. Anyway moving forward, since October 2020, I have been on the diet, but not just for the three weeks. "  

Chris is doing great with his philosophy of steadily and consistently, but does he have an actual weight and date in mind to reach his goal?

"Ideally 70kg. However, if I reach 75kg I will be happy. 70kg will bring my BMI down to 22.1 which is much better than 30!!!! I am aiming for the end of May ’21, although this really is just a date (for no other reason) and realistically, there are still a few kilos to lose. I would rather do the diet slowly but surely with a steady loss week on week rather than hit it hard. When losing a mass of weight quickly, I always find with this method it returns as quickly as it left more often than not. If I got to my ideal goal weight of 70kg by October, I would still be happy, in fact, very happy."

A Little bit of History

Chris was born and bought up in Nottingham, but the travel bug hit him at a very young age. From 1985 he worked for Ilkeston Coop Travel and Tours and at the age of 21, he had the most amazing opportunity to see Machu Picchu!! This is the most visited tourist destination in Peru. A symbol of the Incan Empire and built around 1450 AD. Chris still talks about this today, an experience of a lifetime and the start of his wanderlust. In 2002 Chris moved to Gran Canaria and purchased his own bar. This was a huge step for Chris to take, but the challenge was very rewarding. After the sale of his bar, Chris returned to the UK for a short time before he made the decision to move to Cyprus. He worked at Larnaca airport in Cyprus as an 'Airport Controller', employed by various tour operators, before he ventured out to sea working on cruise liners as a Shore Excursions Manager from September 2008.

Chris loved his time at sea and made many new friends both onboard and on land. His job was very customer focused and his position was within the management team. A stressful life at times, as things do not always go to plan. His job onboard was a desk job, albeit with wonderful views and changing scenery on a daily basis, but still a sedentary job. One of his favourite joys of the job was meeting with Agents on land and enjoying local food, drinks and good company. There were regular 'ports of call' on each itinerary and the local Agents have become his very good friends.

Chris is a fun guy and very sociable. He would often be in the Officers Bar after working hours, with his onboard friends and joining in with the parties and social events. He was actually, on occasion, seen on stage performing with the cruise department and entertaining passengers ..... but a few persuasive 'brandy's" were required to get him there ...... nonetheless, he did it for his friends and his exceptional customer service skills.  It was at this point that his 'assistant' thought he would make a wonderful model...........for all types of 'headdress'.

When they were ashore he would be used as a 'wig' model when venturing out to the local shops. He was even banned from a certain 'shopping market' in Tallinn, Estonia for looking just 'too damn good' in all their supply of party wigs ...... this then escalated into a 'head' designed for absolutely anything that was available ........ 

Whatever it might be .......... I don't think he had a choice!!

Anyone can see that Chris is definitely up for a giggle. He is very down to earth and wants to enjoy his life. When I approached him about this feature post, he was very uncertain and said "I am just an every day guy, nothing special". But there is a lot more to Chris than his fun-loving ways. He has spent many years looking after both his parents and the carers of his parents too. He is very devoted, kindhearted and will do the best that he can to help others. Not only is he an exceptional cook, but he is very 'hands on' and manages a lot of D.I.Y and home maintenance.

As with so many of us, these lockdowns have caused a roller coaster of overwhelming emotions. In February, Chris lost one of his dearest friends to Covid-19 and found this quite difficult to cope with. The realisation that your friend is no longer with you, can make life feel unfair and return you to your old habits and old way of life. This did affect Chris very badly and for a few weeks he went down the 'old path' and 'not so' healthy ways. I asked him how he coped, managed to get back on track and 'push' himself through this hard time ? 

"To be honest, like most, it knocks you when you get on the scales after a week and nothing has changed, for sure it does. I look at it the other way, this next week ‘I must try harder’. For a few weeks I stayed the same and I didn’t let it get to me because I knew over time, I am heading in the right direction. I simply reduce my carbs and not eat after 6pm. What I decided to do to get back on track was to think like a 'dog', just one meal a day, at about 3 or 4 pm. This would more often than not be 100g grilled chicken, pitta bread and salad, that’s it. In the evening, I would have 3 digestive biscuits with my decaf coffee at around 9:30pm. To be truthful, since the end of February, I struggled and everything went out of the window. I realised I was letting myself down so after a month, I snapped back into a healthy diet again. I needed to work a bit harder to lose the couple of kilo’s I had gained over the month. I am back on it now and getting into the rhythm once again.

I am so glad that Chris is back on track. He has established new, healthy eating habits and set himself up for a better life ahead of him. I asked him if he is pleased with his progress so far and glad that he has made some changes......"I am and never have been your perfect example of 'health' or of doing things 'healthily', but as I get older.....I wish I had"

Healthy Forever Fitness Motivation is all about 'feeling good' about yourself whatever age you are and to live a healthier and happier life. I am so pleased Chris has decided to share his story. His explanation of today's society and the social media 'visions of perfection' has not helped people's confidence or expectations. He says, "It always seems to me that others focus on those, let's say 'not so ordinary folk' which I think has a tendency to put people off from sharing their story ..... therefore working against their original objectives" I also asked Chris if there is anything inspirational that he can share to help others with their own weight loss journeys 

"The only thing I can share is to avoid the fridge door! There will always be times when you just need a little something, whether that be a simple biscuit, a piece of chocolate, piece of cake, of course there will be those times. For me, I ignore the fridge as I know there is cake, chocolate and biscuits in there all the time. I take myself outside and do something practical. Once I am out of the house and in my ‘Office’, with my coffee (can’t do without a coffee) I don’t think about food or hunger. So, keep busy or make yourself busy, this way your mind is taken away from food. I do also smoke which helps take my mind off food, but that is another thing I need to crack down on, but I need to lose the weight first."

Chris has been very active on my Private Facebook Group and he has a testimonial on the activities and motivation within the group:

"Cathy is inspirational in herself and what she does. I have only known Cathy for what appears to be a short time, actually ten years we worked out the other day, and as a colleague at work, all I can say is ‘brilliant. One key element that Cathy showed when she joined me on board was her ability to complete a task efficiently and with accuracy and this is also reflected in the quality of work she does now, with the fitness routines and the dietary menus/recipes she puts forward. Nothing is ever done by half and I know something my Father used to say to me which I believe Cathy in herself follows, ‘If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well’ . Keep up the good work and looking forward to trying more of your healthy meal options.  "

Chris is a great guy. He is caring, warmhearted and very sociable and I am pretty sure, once the restrictions are lifted, he will be out and about enjoying himself. He definitely has the 'travel bug' and misses his life-long friends overseas. His home is Cyprus, but there is a big world out there and still many places to visit and catch up with his old shipmates. 

Good luck Chris......keep focused and reach your goal


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