Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2020 – James Tanner

James Tanner - Eating Disorder Awareness 2020

Surviving a health scare to kickstart my fitness journey

After a health scare and an uncontrollably poor diet, James Tanner knew it was time to tackle his health by embarking on a fitness journey, taking part in body transformation camps at his local Xercise4Less Gym. Having previously had treatment for brain tumour, James wanted to totally transform his life through exercise and diet, helping to prolong his life as well as making sure all the treatment he had been through was not undone by making a few adjustments to his lifestyle.

“10 years ago, I travelled to Sheffield and had stereotactic radiotherapy for a benign tumour on my brain. The treatment was to stop it from growing any more, so I said to myself; why go through all of that just to end up like this?”

As a result of this, James signed up to Xercise4Less Gyms and enrolled on a transformation camp to enhance his fitness and begin his weight loss journey. This gave James a starting point to begin the process of boosting his self-esteem, developing a healthy diet and an incentive to lose the weight.

“I joined the transformation camp and was given a plan of everything that would happen. I also had the food app on my phone to help log my food intake. The camp took place three nights a week and we were put through our paces with different exercises.”

Transforming my fitness with Xercise4Less Gyms

Taking the plunge to join the gym and enrol for the transformation camp was a real struggle for James as he was intimated about going into the gym. Thankfully, at friendly, inclusive Xercise4Less Gyms, James was welcomed with open arms and joining the gym was much easier, and much less daunting than he initially suspected.

“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 immediately.”

“After that it was pretty straightforward. Listening and learning from the information you’re given is pretty much all you need to do.”

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All bad foods must go - controlling my diet

With all the hard work he was putting in the gym, James knew he also had to stay on top of his diet and made the necessary changes to supplement his fitness. All the typically unhealthy foods were subsequently replaced with healthy snack options such as fruit.

“Almost immediately after joining the camp I started to count calories and switch up my eating habits. Processed foods went from being an every-day item to being pretty much non-existent. Sweets and chocolate were replaced by raisins and carrots. I knew I had to put 100% effort into my diet, or I would wane off and slip into my old habits.”

This is a far cry from what James used to incorporate into his diet. He would regularly turn to fast food for convenience, especially when going to and from work.

“A typical day would see me have a packet of crisps, a breakfast bar and a bag of sweets for breakfast. Then for lunch I would have convenience food such as KFC, McDonald’s or the chippy. After work I would grab a pizza or something similar for my tea. Finally, before 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.”

Fixing my physical and mental condition through fitness

Aside from his poor diet and lack of exercise, James has also struggled mentally. James works full time as a bus driver, spending a long time on the roads and being sat down for extended periods has not helped his physical condition. He spoke candidly on the impact this has had on his lifestyle.

“I have struggled with my mental health for a long period of time, especially since my father passed away when I was in my early teens. As a result, I have struggled with depression and anxiety during certain periods of my life.”

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

How to tackle your own body image/self-esteem issues

James has conquered his own battles, and now he feels in a much better place to live a healthier lifestyle. He firmly believes that you are the master of your own destiny and having a network of good people around you can really make the difference.

“Only you can change what you’re not happy with. There are a lot of great people who will help you and give you all the guidance and tools to make the changes, but you are the one who has to make the effort and make it count.”

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