James Tanner #ComeAsYouAre

42-year old James Tanner from Newport used to convenience eat a lot of the time, but reflecting on wedding pictures decided to kick start his weight-loss journey by joining our Transformation Camp on 9th April 2018. 

At what point did you feel like you had hit rock bottom?

I was really close to rock bottom when some of the drivers I worked with made comments about me getting fat.  A few months later, in March 2018 my cousin got married; it was an awesome day and everyone had a great time however when I saw the wedding pictures later that day on social media I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I couldn’t understand how I’d let myself get into the position I was in, or what I was doing to myself. Was that really me? I felt so ashamed of myself I didn’t know what to do.

Can you describe what your relationship with food and exercise was like during this time?

Exercise was non existent. As a bus driver, and my working hours, I didn’t think there was time to fit any form of exercise into my daily routine, and actually moving physically was quite difficult when on duty.

Food wise I would eat whatever was easiest. A typical day would see me start work between 6-7am with a packet of crisps, a breakfast bar, a bag of sweets and a bottle of pop. I would try to make sure I had enough time to pick up a sausage and bacon sandwich or McDonalds breakfast before 10am, too.

Lunch would be purely convenience food (chip shop/KFC/McDonalds etc). I would also pick up 2 chocolate bars, another bag of sweets and more pop for the afternoon. Typically, when I finished work, I would grab a pizza or something similar for my tea and when I headed up to bed I would take a packet of crisps, a small cake and that all important bottle of pop that I convinced myself I couldn’t sleep without by my bed.

Can you describe how this made you feel mentally?

I have struggled with my mental health for a long period of time, particularly since my dad passed away in my early teens and as a result have struggled with depression and anxiety during certain periods of my life. 

I had put these bouts of depression to working long shifts and concentrating on the roads, but then it slowly started to dawn on me that although they were a part of the problem they weren’t the actual root cause. The root cause was mainly down to me, and how my eating habits had killed off the very little self confidence that I had left.

Please explain your key motivation(s) to change your eating and exercise habits?

After seeing the wedding pictures, I looked at local gym options and I saw that there was a Transformation camp starting at my local Xercise4less on the 9th April. This is a pretty significant date in my life as 10 years earlier I’d traveled to Sheffield and had stereotatic radiotherapy on that date. I have a benign tumour on my brain stem and the treatment was to stop it from growing anymore; so I said to myself, why go through all of that just to end up like this? 

Once you’d highlighted the concerns you had with your eating and exercise, what was your first step to recovery?

I knew that if I had just booked the camp online I would’ve found a way to talk myself out of going. The thought of walking into a gym was quite intimidating but I convinced myself to go in and ask for a look around and I’m so glad I did! I felt a bit silly for being so anxious about it, as all the staff put me at ease almost immediately. 

After that it was pretty straightforward, although far from easy. Listening and learning from the information you’re given is pretty much all you need to do. Almost immediately I started counting calories and switching up my eating habits. Processed foods went from being an every meal item, to pretty much being non existent.  Sweets and chocolates were replaced by raisins and carrots. I knew I had to put in 100% effort on everything or I would wane off into old habits.

What was your first training program once you’d decided to make a change to your exercise regime and how did Xercise4Less facilitate this?

I joined the transformation camp. When I walked in to sign up I met Tom (Personal Trainer) who would be taking the camp. He explained how everything worked and gave me a plan of what would happen. I had the food app on my phone which allowed me to track and log my food intake, too. The camp took place 3 nights a week and Tom really put us through our paces with different exercises. He helped with any questions we may have had and there was also a private group chat room on the app where all the campers in our group could ask questions at any time. 

What advice would you give to anybody currently suffering with body image / self-esteem issues?

Only you can change what your not happy with, there are lots of great people who will help you and give you all the tools to make the changes but you’re the one who has to make the effort.

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