Cycling Saved My Life

As an 18 year old, Gary played football and cycled every day, he was a fit guy, but life felt like a real stuggle, by the time Gary was 27, he weighed in at 255kgs (550lbs).

Gary had low self esteem, his resting heart rate was around 130bpm and he had a 173 cm (68 inch) waist and all his clothes were XXXXXXXXL. His health was at serious risk. He had high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, suffered from sleep apnoea and to top it off, this father of two was told by his GP that he recommened gastric band surgery to get his health under control. Gary was confused, he thought, 'gastric by-pass are for really fat people', Gary had no idea what he was doing to himself.



A few days later, Gary was struggling to breath walking from the living room to kitchen, he had the dawning realisation that he was morbidly obese. Gary knew he had to do something, he wanted to live a better life and set an example for his family, it was time to get his life back on track.  In order to have the gastric bypass surgery he would need to increase his fat loss to survive the operation and so in 2008 he started on his challenge to lose weight.

He reduced his calorie intake by removing processed foods from his diet and in order to get active he turned to one of his earlier loves of cycling and due to his tight budget, he purchased a Giant Yukon bycle to cycle the 15 miles to and from work each day.  His first ride was incredibly difficult. He was so heavy that he found it difficult to support his own weight, every muscle was burning and was drenched in sweat, he hadn’t made it to work, he’d made it to the train station only 1 mile away.

On the return journey it was worse than the trip out. But he’d still made it, two whole miles was more than Gary had completed in many years and it was a fraction of his long term challenge, he was afraid and filled with self doubt, he also knew he'd need a real bike.

“Could he really do this?  Could he not only cycle 15 miles to and from work, but lose all this weight to become healthy again? “ He was embarrassed on the bike, he felt unworthy being so large and riding his bike in public puffing away, but he knew it was his personal challenge and nothing anybody said mattered, success was the only option, life was the only option. There was only one way to do this, slowly!  One step, one mile and one day at a time.  He slowly increased his mileage on the bike and continued with his plan, within three weeks he’d not only cycled all the way to work, but he’d cycled every single day, the weight started to fall off.

6 months later and Gary was given the news his weight loss of 28 kgs (61.6lbs) was so much that the gastric by-pass was no longer an option, he’d lost too much weight.

This encouragement, coupled with a nomination and winning the councils 'Be Proud' award, spurred Gary on to continue with cycling, maybe he could do this after all, he was truly inspired to continue his challenge and he’s not stopped since, but its certainly not been easy, it was time for a real bike.


In January 2010 Gary had an accident, slipping on some ice while cycling, it took him four weeks to recover. During those four weeks he began to slip back into his old habits and gained 9kgs (20lbs) before realised what was happening.
 
The cycle repeated again in later in the same year after another, this time when a van driver knocked him of his bike. Again he fell back into old habits and had to drag himself back to fitness, but through finding motivation from TV's 'The biggest loser' and from emulating Eddie Izzards marathon a day but on a bike, he continued his challenge. 

Gary’s incredible challenge has taken over 5 years from dangerously obese and unhealthhy to the new man he is today. Gary now weighs in at around 83kgs (182lbs), his diabetes no longer exists and his blood pressure and heart rate are normal and he’s competed in four 60 mile charity cycling events and he’s even talking about training for a triathlon, but he’s still taking everything one day at a time.

Gary says “it doesn't matter what your challenge is, how far or how slow it is. Just do it! Then tomorrow, do it quicker. Then the day after, go longer. Then go longer and quicker.
 
Life isn't a sprint, but a marathon.  Live life doing your best each day and you will achieve success, trust me, it's worth every second. Your life will never be the same again, if I can do it and I'm just a normal bloke, then anyone can. 

 
I believe that my story could help some way towards the goal of a healthier Britain and show some people what can be done with willpower and dedication with very little money.

Christopher Brisley