With New Years comes with it New Years resolutions. The majority of us who do make some, often break them; days into the year, and just like that; we feel like a failure. We promise ourselves that we won’t set ourselves to be let down again and make the commitment to ourselves to not set any the following year. Yet, I can say that last year, I was one of those individuals who made the decision to embark on a diet. Yet, then by going on a diet, I didn’t see the desired results I had hoped for and instead fell right down that slippery slope; falling back into bad habits. The issue is, I never really thought much about what I was consuming. Yes, my inner voice would recognise that I was eating yet it had got to the point that I only ate what I wanted to eat and what ‘I believed’ would quench my intense hunger. Yet, I was never truly fulfilled.
Having embarked on one diet plan after another, I at last recognised that a healthy lifestyle had to be adopted. I knew personally that I needed more than to just diet and exercise from time to time. I had to take a more life changing step to ensure that I really took full control over my life. The decision I was about to make would change the way I lived forever and would undoubtedly change how I viewed my relationship with food but also more vitally, how I viewed my relationship with myself. On 14th September 2015, I took a leap of faith and underwent surgery (sleeve gastrectomy). It had been a decision that I had agonised over for some time. However, after in-depth conversations with close friends and family, I went ahead with the procedure.
It might seem strange to say this but the surgery was one challenge, but it was undoubtedly the mental battle that I had to fight after that really acted as a true test of my character. Once I got home, there were a number of thought patterns that went through my head. Many consisted of the following.. “What have you done?”, “You can’t turn back now”. Though, it was only a few days into my rehabilitation that I began to see the positive benefits of my decision to undergo this surgery. It is a fight, no doubt about it but if you work towards having a positive mindset, you will soon realise; you have everything instilled with you to help you live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I will not sell you a cliché ideal however; I may have been able to work towards a positive state of mind. However, I did have to recover physically and this felt like a lifetime. With each new day came with it a new set of challenges.
Adopting this new healthier lifestyle meant that what I had eaten before and the amounts I used to consume had to dramatically change. It took a me a while to adjust and I needed to tap into my inner voice to ensure I remained focused and committed to my plan. It honestly took some getting used to. I had to learn to appreciate food again and go right back to basics. I had to appreciate each bite and take my time to chew and take in all the flavours. What I truly wasn’t prepared for was the fact when I learned that it only took a few spoonfuls to make me realise that such a small quantity would now fill be completely. I was pretty much full after a few spoonfuls and as a result, had no choice but to reduce the size of my portions. Adjusting what I ate was a very interesting process, there was no more stopping off at KFC or McDonalds for a quick bite. Those days were well and truly behind me. That is not to say that I didn’t have moments of temptation because I definitely had those. However, I soon came to realise that if I got into the habit of cheating, everything I had worked towards would fall to nothing and I wasn’t prepared to reverse all of the hard work I had done.
Before I went into surgery, I had to think about whether I would be mentally ready to start a new lifestyle. I had to think and pray long and hard about this next chapter in my life. I wanted this to be a new start for me and I wanted to more than anything prove to myself that I could do this. Many moons ago when my doctor suggested the idea to me, I initially told him to forget about it and simply took the pamphlets away. Yet, instead of throwing them away and dismissing them like I did when I initially heard about the idea. The idea of what it would mean for my health and overall wellbeing played on my mind and I presented the paperwork to my family. Their encouraging words and advice to follow my own heart was enough to help me go along for a consultation. This then led to my having a psychology meeting which really changed the way I felt about the entire situation and helped to open my eyes about the implications my poor lifestyle changes had affected my health. I had to also think about the effect it would have on my work and family commitments. This entire process forced me to grow into a renewed version of myself. A more bold and determined individual than ever before.
With every journey there are undoubtedly highs and lows and believe me when I say, I had my fair share. However, some of the major highs was without a doubt watching the weight drastically fall off. Dropping one dress size and then another was mind-blowing. The clothes that I couldn’t fit in initially, now fit me comfortably. This was a defining moment and brought about such raw emotion. I was extremely pleased with my efforts and all of the changes I had applied to implement this positive change in my life.
I haven’t made it in the term that I am much smaller but I believe that I have made significant progress to highlight some of the highs and lows so far. Some of the highs included seeing my weight go down drastically, at first I couldn’t believe it but seeing the figures made me think that just maybe it was a positive move. Another high that I have experienced is the clothes that I couldn’t fit in, I can now fit in very comfortably, it felt quite emotional but I was also pleased. However, I have experience a few lows as well with one of them being faced with that temptation when you see others eating food you’d like to eat, it made me feel like I should get a takeaway or try and fit in with the crowd. Another low was when I was about a month into my journey, I had to follow a special plan to I can heal properly, it felt long, I couldn’t eat properly and that was a low moment. There were a few times when I slyly regretted what I had done but that soon passed.
Over this period, I have had various comments highlighting the fact that I have lost so much weight, someone even said I was getting my face back. This was a major compliment for me and really has helped me to keep going. I’m not used to people paying me compliments so for me it was quite new, but it was a ‘new’ that I was ready to become accustomed to. This process had helped to enhance my overall confidence and self-esteem.
What this process taught me more than anything is that it helped me to recognise how powerful a support network can be. Just like a runner participating in a marathon, the people cheering on the sidelines help to keep you going. Initially, I tried to do it by myself and I failed spectacularly. However, this time around; it was a different story. My religious beliefs and those within my church played a massive part in helping me to get to this stage. Their prayers and words gave me great encouragement and was the boost I needed.
Many people have asked me why I went through with the procedure and what has been the biggest highlight. For me, it is the anticipation of what I will be able to pursue soon. It feels quite surreal yet extremely exciting that one day soon I will be able to play football and go running. I will be able to do all of the things I was unable to physically do before. I am happy to be alive and thrilled that I have taken the steps to ensure the my quality of life is a good one. One of my biggest fears is that later on in life, I might come to regret what I did. It’s what I think of everyday. I know that it will work out but it’s always in the back of my mind that I may return to bad habits and all of the efforts I have made will come to nothing. Though, I recognise that this is just negativity creeping in. Sometimes that inner voice can try and set you back. However, I know I more than ever that I am at my strongest right now and I am more than capable of continuing to achieve great things.
My hope for the future is that I go on to motivate others to lose weight. I strive to use my story to inspire others by my story and I want to one day use my journey to encourage my future offspring to never give up, no matter what challenges life may throw at them. I would also like to set up weight loss support groups in London and in other areas to help to pay it forward.
What I underwent was not an overnight success and I had to go through a mental and physical battle. However, I never gave up, I kept pushing and I encourage you to do the same. No matter what adversity you may be facing, don’t give up, you are more than capable to making changes in your life, whatever it may be. The journey is not over, but I know I will be able to reach my final target as this journey has instilled within me a sense of greatness and for that I am extremely thankful.
I’m now at the stage where I am happy to talk to others and also support others who also want to lose weight. You can follow my journey and also if you would like support, here are my links.
Instagram – @Fearless_Frontman, @vsgking_ryan
Facebook – Ryan Osborne
‘A healthy mindset leads to a healthy lifestyle’
W| By Ryan Osborne