“The way you’re going, you won’t reach 40.” These were the words that kick-started George on his weight loss journey that saw him drop from 160kg to 78kg in just over a year.

26 year old George moved to NZ from England in September 2014. He never used to be one to watch his diet or make time for exercise. Because of this, his habits of eating sugary foods and takeaways showed and last year he tipped the scales at 160kg. The weight he was carrying put pressure on his heart, meaning it had to work harder to pump blood around his body, which caused him to have high blood pressure.

It wasn’t until he started having dizzy spells (a direct result of having high blood pressure), that he finally went to a doctor. He wasn’t registered with a clinic, so he googled a local clinic near where he lived.

The doctor checked his weight, heart and blood pressure, before announcing bluntly “The way your going, you won’t reach 40”. That was on the 26th March 2015. A date etched into George’s mind as the date he decided to make drastic changes. That same day, literally on the way home from the clinic, George signed up to a local gym.

After joining, he sought advice from trainers at the gym, asking them for easy workouts to get into weight loss. They suggested he start with steep incline walks on the treadmill, and slowly ease into some cardio (cross-trainers, bike, rowing machine, steps machine etc). They recommended he hold off running until he had lost some weight because it would be too hard on his knees.

Following their advice, he committed to going to the gym 5 times a week around his work shifts, and slowly increasing the time spent at the gym as he got fitter. Soon he was spending 2 hours at a time at the gym – he was determined to turn his health around.

It took him 2 months to start noticing a difference. It wasn’t until he went to buy a new shirt and realised he could now fit a size XL instead of XXL that he weighed himself. He had lost 25-30kgs in just 6 weeks.

It wasn’t just a new gym habit that had him losing the weight, but he also radically changed his diet. He cut out sugary snacks and soft drinks, replacing them with green tea and loads of water. And he changed the way he cooked. Back at university, George considered his diet OK, and considered himself a good cook. Looking back now, it dawned on him that although he was cooking a lot of meals from scratch, he was cooking high fat/high carb foods, and far too much of it.

He scoured the internet for healthy recipes and ideas. At first he cut out most carbs, increased the amount of fresh vegetables and proteins he was eating and cut his portion sizes down. He had read somewhere that to check you were eating a healthy meal – that you visually segment the plate into 6 parts. Half should be fresh vegetables, 2/6 protein and 1/6 a healthy carb (like kumara or brown rice), so that’s what he started to do. At the same time he also cut out dairy, he stopped eating cheese/yoghurts/butter altogether and replaced milk with various nut milks. He found snacking on protein like boiled eggs, a handful of almonds, edamame beans or tuna/avocado on a Ryvita cracker satisfied his hunger cravings between meals. He also bought a Nutri Ninja and regularly made healthy smoothies and juices for that mid morning or afternoon snack.

As well as weight loss, he found that changing what he ate was great for his skin. “I used to have red blotchiness all over my face and body and it’s completely gone. On more than one occasion at my current work and also my family back home, they’ve asked if I moisturise and I genuinely don’t, I just drink A LOT of herbal teas and water.”

Today, weighing 78kg George is literally half the man he used to be. His radical changes don’t stop there. This November he completed the Auckland half-marathon in 1hr 36minutes – something he never imagined he would do. He used the event to raise $2,400 for the CURE KIDS charity. Good on ya George.

before and after