‘My knowledge of nutrition was shocking – understanding my diet helped double my weight loss’

Gareth Evans, 44, works in finance and lives in Birmingham

Before lockdown, I was quite sedentary and I wasn’t looking after myself. I used to weigh around 16 stone, and it gradually crept up. Because I’m quite tall at 6’1”, I hadn’t really noticed the weight gain, so I was quite horrified to find that I weighed 20 stone. I decided to start walking – mainly as a way to get out during lockdown and clear my head – and built up to doing around six or seven miles a day down the canals near my home. In eight months, I was back to around 16 stone without really trying. There was a huge added mental health benefit to all the walking, too: I found I could put problems in perspective much more easily.

Then I had an accident where I slipped on some ice and cracked two ribs, which meant I couldn’t get out as much, so I decided to tackle my diet. I had been reliant on takeaways, snacked lots and drank fizzy drinks and too much alcohol. I cut all of that out, started actually reading food labels, counting calories and making sure my portion sizes were stricter. I quickly realised the lack of knowledge I had about nutrition was quite shocking. The difference from changing my diet was huge. Over the next six months, I lost another four stone.

When I was back on my feet, I found I couldn’t dedicate as much time to walking, so I started going to the gym to do resistance training. I love the difference that has made – I feel much stronger and can now dead lift about 80kgs, from virtually nothing.

The difference from how I looked and felt before is huge. Along with the weight loss, I have lost about 10 inches from my chest and now wear trousers with a 32-inch waist. I’ve got so much more energy now which is the biggest difference and I sleep much more soundly than I used to. The confidence boost is massive, too. People who have known me for years do a double-take before they realise it is me.

My workout week

I do resistance training three to four times a week at the gym with a personal trainer and a callisthenics class, which is non-weight training exercises like static holds. I’ve replaced walking with swimming and add on a half-hour swim after each gym session or class.

What I eat in a day

I don’t deny myself anything, but I do take much more notice of portion control and what’s on a label. I feel much more educated about what I eat.

  • Breakfast: Porridge with fruit
  • Lunch: Omelette with some grilled mushrooms
  • Dinner: Chicken curry with rice

Lifestyle aides

  • Caffeine: Yes – but only in the morning
  • Alcohol: I do still have a drink – but not as much as I used to
  • Sleep: Around eight hours a night 

As told to Jessica Salter

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