Originally from the Hawkes Bay, Mark is a Creative Director at Latch Digital. The first few years after leaving university a few years bad habits had crept in. He was skipping breakfast, buying lunch most days, snacking on foods full of sugar for energy, and had embraced a can a day energy drink habit. So, it was no surprise when he weighed in at 102kg.

At 26 years old, this meant he was too heavy to join his friends playing social grade under 85kg rugby. This was the inspiration he needed to get healthy and lose weight.

In his university days, Mark had been quite active, and even trained for and ran a half marathon. However, although the exercise made him fitter, he wasn’t losing weight. So Mark decided for this to work he would need to make radical changes to his diet instead.

After doing some research on the internet and in books, he decided to give ‘clean eating’ a go – giving up almost all sugar, eating dramatically less carbs and processed foods.

For the first four weeks, when he knew would be the most motivated, Mark stuck to quite a strict diet. For breakfast, he had porridge with honey, yoghurt and blueberries, and he would pre-prepare steamed chicken and vegetables to bring for lunch. For dinner, he concentrated more on cutting down on oils, and reducing his portion sizes.

“I would dish up a ‘normal’ plate of food, and then reduce it by a third”.

It was a no brainer to cut out the energy drinks. Instead he started taking vitamin/mineral supplements and fish oil to help with his energy levels.

And it worked. After the first four weeks, he had lost about 8kgs. This was the motivation he needed to keep going.

He also picked up sport again, playing cricket, indoor netball and golf socially, and most days he heads to the gym for either weights or cardio work.

After the first four weeks, he continued to eat porridge for breakfast everyday, but now he tries new lunch recipes from a paleo cookbook. Some of his new favourite lunches include frittatas and a ‘health bowls’ – Mexican style beans on a salad of carrot, lettuce, avocado and halloumi, topped with hummus.

He also continued to cut out as much sugar from his diet as he could, but relaxed on the strictness of his diet. Sometimes he would still get a burger combo for lunch, but never the soft drink.

It’s been six months since he started eating healthier and Mark says he has never felt better. He has reached his goal weight of 85kg and his waist measurement has dropped from 109cm to a healthy 85cm (a loss of over 20cm).

And, he has now signed up to play in the under 85kg grade rugby.

It is easy to find out if your waist is a healthy size for your height, and what you goal size should be to reduce risks of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Simply measure your height, and half it. This should be the MOST your waist should measure. Try it!