By Rebecca Drew
MEET the man who lost more than 24-stone in four years because he ‘hated’ himself and now regularly competes in triathlons after struggling to walk 100-yards before.
Finance controller, Simon Brooks (40) from Liverpool, United Kingdom said his weight started to spiral after he dislocated both of his hips at the age of 15 which left him having to learn to walk again.
After 20-years of eating fast food, chocolate and crisps, Simon weighed 42st 6lbs and had a 72-inch waist.
It wasn’t until the birth of his daughter, Aurelia, in 2012 that he decided to change his life for good. Simon had bariatric surgery which gave him the tools he needed to start a new healthy life.
Now, Simon weighs a super-fit 16st 10lbs and works out six times a week, fuelling his body with clean foods, vegetables, healthy meats and plenty of water.
“A combination of things led to me being overweight, my genes, my hip accident and then a spiral of self-loathing and emotional secret eating,” said Simon.
“Emotional eating is a terrible cycle to be in, you eat because you hate yourself, then you hate yourself because you’ve eaten so much, and so it continues. My weight slowly crept up over the last twenty-years.
“I felt like I didn’t deserve any better than what I had, hated myself pretty much constantly, had zero self-confidence and just basically lived to work, and then hide at home and eat.
“Initially, I had bariatric surgery and then through sheer hard work and determination.
“Surgery isn’t a solution to the problem, it’s a tool to assist, you still have to fight every single day to make that tool work for you.
“Ultimately, it’s given me my life back, and some confidence. I can now be a proper dad to my daughter and set an example to her of how she should see food and exercise.”
Simon found sticking to his plan the hardest thing about his weight loss but now enjoys a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Before I started this adventure, I struggled to walk 100-yards, now I crossfit six days a week, run and attend another gym to weightlift and build a stronger body,” he said.
“My diet is focused on whole, clean foods. Minimal carbs and four to six small meals a day to make sure I get enough nutrients in to sustain the training that I do.
“Sticking to the plan you have set yourself is the hardest thing, day in day out, and trying your hardest not to let one bad meal, turn into one bad day, into one bad month.
“It’s all about keeping your eye on your goal and focusing on your reason why. I am by no means saying I have been perfect, in fact far from it, but I’ve always made sure I got back on track as quickly as possible.
“I could never have imagined achieving the things I have so far, such as my first white collar boxing match, completing the Liverpool Triathlon 2016, climbing Mount Snowdon, countless 5k runs – including one on the day of my 40th Birthday and taking up crossfit and weightlifting.”
For Simon, the compliments he receives are difficult to deal with but he says having a reason to lose weight was instrumental in his transformation.
He advises others to seek medical advice before embarking on a dramatic weight loss journey.
“I find it really awkward, I very rarely recognise myself when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in shop windows. I find the whole, ‘look how much weight you’ve lost’, embarrassing as I shouldn’t have gotten myself into that state in the first place,” he said.
“The compliment side of losing weight is very difficult for a lot of people I know.
“Firstly, go and see your doctor, make sure there are no underlying conditions preventing you from losing weight or working out.
“The most important thing for me was finding my reason why, mine was my daughter.
“Just go out and walk at first, even if it’s around the block or at your local park. Take a good honest look at your eating habits, and instead of trying to right every wrong at once, cut one thing out every couple of weeks.
“Most importantly don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone who is on this adventure struggles, nobody can say they are perfect all of the time with their diet, but if you have a bad day, write it off and start again the next day.
“Just do not ever give up.”
To follow Simon’s transformation visit: www.instagram.com/beardedbeastinthemaking/