Guest Blog: Craig Fitch

I’m very lucky in that I know lots of people who have been on a similar journey to me, these people have certainly inspired me to keep going; so I asked some of them to share their stories with you guys.

Here is Craig’s story, if this doesn’t resonate or send a rocket up your arse then nothing will!

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My names Craig Fitch, I am 25 years old, 5ft 10 inches and I used to be morbidly obese. This is a short blog on my 8 stone plus weight loss in the space of 6 months.

I was the fat kid in school always hoping that I would grow out of being overweight rather than actually having to put in the hard work to lose the weight myself. However after the break down of my parents’ marriage and in the introduction of drinking into my diet my weight sky rocketed.

Looking back I can see clearly the source of my weight gain. I used to eat a lot of fast food and takeaways before going out drinking and again after closing time and I also loved drinking full fat fizzy juice.  These habits went on for about 3 or 4 years with my weight peaking at 21 stone (133kg / 294pounds). Being average height for a guy I looked as wide as I did tall with a massive amount of my weight being carried in my legs and bum making walking uncomfortable and running impossible.

One of the major problems which led to such significant weight gain was that a couple of my best friends were also overweight. This led to us using each other as an excuse to eat whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.

In the back of my mind I always knew something was going to have to give. I was 20 years old severely depressed with being so overweight and not being able to get a girlfriend; life was horrible. When looking at myself in the mirror with breasts that rivalled most page 3 girls I couldn’t see a way out, but that’s when a friend came to me with a solution.

Ross was the same weight as me but being a bigger built guy and also being slightly taller than me at 6 foot and he carried the weight a bit better but he was in the same boat and had started actively looking for diet program that would work for him.

I remember sitting at my desk in work looking at some spreadsheet bored out my mind when Ross came into the office. He walked straight up to my desk and started explaining this diet he was looking into where you pay £66 pounds per week and they provide all your food and all you have to do is drink water and do light exercise and the weight falls off you. At the time I couldn’t see past the £66 per week as it just sounded like an insane amount of money so I said to him to start the diet and after a month or so depending on how he got on I would think about doing it too.

Two weeks past and I had barely spoken to Ross he had completely fallen off the radar. To be honest I had more or less forgotten about the diet he had started but he walked into the office and came up behind, said “Hey dude” as he always did, I turned round and my jaw hit the floor. He looked well on his way to becoming a new man, his skin looked healthier he had lost about a stone in weight which I noticed in his face straightaway, I found myself to be instantly jealous.

Ross then went on to tell me all about the Lighter Life diet and how it actually worked. You simply eat 4 food packs a day of either soups or shakes which are mixed with water. You then drink an additional 2 to 4 litres of water on top of that throughout the day. After 4 weeks one of your food packs is replaced with a biscuit style bar, which is incredibly exciting as you forget what chewing feels like after a while! So after hearing all of this, that’s when I phoned up and booked an appointment to see the Lighter life dietician.

I went with Ross to one of the lighter life meetings and met with the dietician Marry who was absolutely lovely. She explained everything to me and then took my measurements and my weight and asked me to fill out a form. I was then required to visit the doctor to get a health check to make sure I would have no problems while on this extremely low calorie diet.

After getting the all clear I started the diet. The first few weeks flew by and I felt excited by every shake and mouth full of water I was taking. At each weekly Lighter Life sessions I would get my next set of food packs, my measurements and weight assessed.  Seeing the weight drop of each week and being recorded in my diet booklet was a great motivator.

The only catch to the diet, I found, was that you were expected to attend meetings every week to learn about healthy eating and discuss how your week went. For example sharing experiences around if anyone felt any need to cheat on the diet or if you did actually cheat (which many people did) to discuss why and how to avoid it happening again.

I can truthfully say in the 6 months I was on lighter life I did not cheat, at the beginning we were advised to set two goals, the first was obviously your target weight and the second was something for yourself. Mine was that I would sit down and have a Christmas meal with my family which happened to fall half way through my lighter life diet. I thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas dinner and to be honest it damn near brought me to tears eating something hot and tasty after 3 months of watery shakes/soups and a little food bar each day.

After my Christmas meal I felt satisfied I had reached my goal but I knew I still had a while to go before I hit my target weight of 12stone 5pounds so the very next day I was back on the diet no problems at all and focused to get it done. Unfortunately this feeling didn’t last.

The last two months of the diet were hellish I was hating the world completely sick of the food packs sick of the water and sick of the damn lighter life meetings. I found I was smoking more and was locking myself away. Luckily I had Ross and my other mate Drew who had also joined us on the diet some time later to talk to about it and we all gave each other the kick up the bum when we were feeling crappy or wanted to stop the diet. If it wasn’t for those two I don’t know if I would have hit my goal in all honesty.

The symptoms from the diet weren’t that bad. You are on roughly 600 calories a day and are only allowed to do light exercise so I walked to work and done some light weights each day. I would occasionally feel light headed from standing up and I would need to sit down a bit more after long periods of standing around a part from that I felt healthy.

On a side note, I mentioned that I was smoking a hideous amount of cigarettes and locking myself away, playing a horrendous amount of Xbox and watching movies. Although it was hell at the time it did help me get through along with the support of my friends and family. I know smoking isn’t good for you but there was no way I could have given up smoking and gone on this diet at the same time I would have cracked and ended up being overweight and smoking again. So I looked at it like this losing the weight was the single most important thing I could do because if I didn’t lose the weight I could end being depressed and lonely for the rest of my life or worse having a heart attack at the age of 30. I smoked and I enjoyed it and it helped so a tip from me don’t take too much on at once and do whatever it takes to get through the diet.

The beginning of the end

Summer was starting to come round and it had taken me 6 months to lose roughly 8 stone I had finished the diet and was now on a 12 week program with lighter life where you are introduced back into eating in a healthy way. This was the best part of the diet by far for me; every week introduced a new fruit or vegetable into my diet as well as different meats and dairy products. I had hated fruit and veg before but I was now learning to love them, I was excited to start cooking properly  and although I was still eating two food packs a day from lighter life when it came to dinner time I was the happiest man alive.

To celebrate I went on a lads holiday and a festival straight after that. Life was incredible and the summer of 2009 was easily the greatest summer of my life. I had a new attitude toward life in general I was skinny for the first time and I started going to the gym 3 times a week and to put the icing on the cake I met the love of my life and it was all down to losing weight.

It’s now 2013 and I am a little bit older and wiser from my experiences through weight loss healthy eating and getting fit. Losing weight the way my friends and I did wasn’t easy and I honestly feel if I had attempted it alone I probably would have failed.

If you are overweight and are looking at ways to lose weight I would highly recommend the Lighter Life diet or a similar diet plan. Just stick with it, you have to forget everything you currently think you know about food and start from scratch and that’s exactly what I did. It doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional ice cream or take away pizza but everything in moderation is the best way to think about food. Now a days I calorie count and exercise often and it keeps me at a stable and healthy weight that I am happy with.

I hope you enjoyed reading my weight loss story and if this inspires anyone else to lose weight then it was worth writing. Check out the pictures below.

This is me at the beginning of the diet in October 2009.

Before in 2009

This is me straight after the diet in 2009.

Fitch After 2 Fitch After 1

And these were taken at the beginning of June 2013.

Fitch 2013 1 Fitch 2013 2

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Thanks for sharing your story man! Craig says if anyone has any questions he is more than happy to answer then, get in contact with me and I’ll put you in contact with him!