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First off, People always want to know, HOW CAN I LOSE WEIGHT. It’s it pretty simple, not easy, but simple, before I start my tale, I want you to consider this:
The best way to lose weight is, more cals out than in. So run/cycle/swim whatever you enjoy most !
Yep it’s that simple (in theory!). See HERE for some weight loss tips:
Welcome. On this page you will find details of my journey so far, taking me from 39 stone 13 pounds to where I am today, Summer 2012 at around 13 stone. You will find a heart-warming, tear-jerking, inspiring account of how I have gone from a no-hoper, dead man walking, to someone who cycles up to 40 miles a day, does 100k charity rides and has even started RUNNING !
My name is Gary Brennan. You may know me as The Amazing Shrinking Gaz, The 39-Stone Cyclist, or just “the fat lad on a bike”.
When I was 18 years old. I used to play football every other day and cycled every day – I wasn’t skinny, but I was fit.
Then, somehow and to this day I really don’t know how, or what happened but I “Woke up” around 8 years later,
I was 39 stone 13 pounds,
Wearing an 8XL (XXXXXXXXL) Top,
With A 68” Waist,
My RESTING heart rate was around 130BPM, I had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and was “Living” ….NO….. I was existing on Borrowed time
Time To Wake Up
In January 2008 I weighed in at a mind- and waist- busting 39 stone and 13 pounds. A few months before my GP had suggested to me that I consider a gastric by-pass. I was shocked – I thought to myself “but they are for really fat people, why on earth would he suggest that to me”.
I was at his surgery for many health-related issues and realizing my dire situation, My GP thought he would make the suggestion to help me. I left and thought nothing of his words. It was around three days later that, while struggling to walk from my living room to my kitchen that It hit me, like a brick in the face….. “Actually I am REALLY fat” and with that, my ‘light-bulb’ flicked on, my life would never be the same again, EVERYTHING was about to get turned on it head.
I was approved for the Gastric By-Pass surgery that my GP had suggested in April, The surgeon said “There is little point in offering you a Gastric Band, or anything else, your situation is far too dire for that”
I had a Holiday booked at the end of September that year, the hospital and surgeon told me that it would not be done until at least October 2008 and to enjoy my last holiday as someone who is obese because my future is about to get better…..
I decided that I needed to change before the operation and attempted to get a little stronger for the operation.
I purchased a Giant Yukon 08 MTB, I decided that I wanted to cycle to work, it was 6.5 miles away from where I live, and there is also a nasty hill that I had to ride on both journeys, there was no way I would be able to do that, it was something I was going to have to build up to
From January to April I had lost around four-and-a-half stone and while I was impressed with my efforts it did mean that I was going to attempt to cycle weighing-in at over 34 stone. It was June 2008, 6pm; I had finished work, the sun was shining.
My time was now.
I got my bike and headed outside. I looked and felt like a total idiot, but nothing was going to stop me.
I had been watching NBC’s The Biggest Loser, seeing people weighing up to 29 stone doing punishing exercise. I was inspired by Mark Kruger and Roger Schultz who were both finalists, and who’d shown me in each episode how you not only need to change physically but also mentally. The reality, however, was that both Mark and Roger were 200 pounds lighter than me at their heaviest ! – shouldn’t it have been me that was on the show? The Biggest Loser is something I will always credit for helping save my life. If I hadn’t seen with my own eyes what could be done, then I’m not sure I would have even attempted it.
I cycled the half-mile to my local train station. I was wheezing, my arms hurt holding up my weight, my legs hurt pushing my weight along. I was soaking in sweat, like someone who had just run over 30 miles – but I had done it! I had made it to the half-way point. I took in an energy gel, about 500ml of water and had a ten-minute sit-down. I was then ready to set off again and get home. Boy was it hard. By the time I was home I thought to myself “I can’t do this” – I couldn’t breath, I was coughing and wheezing, tired and sore but I had cycled one mile. This was a REAL wake-up call for me; I had done well in losing over four stone but the reality that it was just a fraction of what I needed to do to survive this. With that I had a much needed half-hour sleep on the sofa….
Over the coming days I forced myself to up my mileage and I was at the stage after a week that I could cycle to the train station, and then cycle from the train station near work.
I was doing two-and-a-half miles a day and starting to gain confidence. Within six weeks I was getting on and off the train two stops before I needed to, and then on August Bank Holiday 2008 I decided I was going to cycle to work, the whole way. It was a Bank Holiday, I didn’t need to, but I was ready…
I made it the 6.5 miles in 43 minutes, I felt fresh, strong and ready to do more, I decided to take the train home and save myself for the “Real” Commute the next day.
Over the next 3 weeks I cycled to work every day, but took the train home, the homeward leg was harder as it’s a gradual uphill with a kicker of a hill at the very end.
No Operation !
After my holiday I received the news I was expecting and yet dreading at the same time. I no longer qualified for the by-pass, due to losing so much weight. I was thrilled, yet at the same time scared. I had lost eight stone from April to October – I had shown that I COULD do it. The next day was a freezing cold and wet morning, one I am never going to forget. I thought to myself “I am on my own now, it’s all me”. Then from nowhere a good friend drove past. It was Christy, the one was pushed me to cycle in the first place. He waved and encouraged me on, and with that, the rain, the wind and the freezing temperature no longer mattered, it was time I finished what I had started….
Be Proud Awards 2009
In November 2009 I was notified that I had been nominated in the Manchester City Council “Be Proud” Awards, I had been nominated for Sporting Achievement.
A few days before Christmas there was a gala ceremony for all the nominees, it was hosted by (amongst others) Gordon Burns.
I found out that I was nominated along side a under 11 football club and someone who was getting kids into angling and off the streets.
I really wasn’t sure what would happen, but I really didn’t think I could beat a kids football team.
It was with great shock then that Gordon Burns read out my name as the winner of the category, months of hard work had been rewarded with the winning of the 2009 Sporting Achievement Award, I was in shock, my table erupted, but I sat there for a couple of seconds……stunned….This had been my most memorable moment of 2009, how could I top this.
End of 09
I was cycling longer, harder and faster than ever before. It got to the winter and it was time to put my road-bike away and get on my hybrid. The snow and ice were a challenge but I had cycled in them last winter, only last time I was on an MTB. Nothing could go wrong – I was too focused and on the ball. Until…
Accident and Weight Gain
It was the first week in January 2010. I had gained a few pounds due to being off over Xmas and relaxing a little, nothing major, it was Xmas after all; I had it under control. It was on the last day of the week, the snow and ice were hard going but hadn’t caused me many issues. I had navigated all the side streets, untreated roads and was on the final stretch, a two-lane main road. I was slowing to 18 mph for the traffic lights when “bang”. It all went dark.
The next I knew I was waking up, laying on the road, freezing cold and in a fair old bit of pain. It seems I hit a patch of ice (on a treated road) and went over the handlebars and knocked myself out. My injuries, while not serious, were enough to keep me off the bike for four weeks. I struggled mentally to get back into the game, and gained two stone. My confidence was shot, my fitness was shot, my diet was shot, I was slipping back into my old ways – I had no idea what to do, I was spiraling out of control and I didn’t know what to do or how to stop it…..Once Again My Future Looked Bleak
LIVESTRONG ! We Can All Overcome Obesity !
Over the next four weeks I didn’t do extra miles – my body and mind were not ready. But then, almost overnight, the fire that I had been plugging away to reignite had been rekindled and it happened almost without me knowing – a throwaway comment and I was back. I said “Eddie Izzard has run a marathon a day; maybe I should commute a marathon a day.” With that I went from 250 miles in February to a little under 500 miles in March, then April, then the same again in May. I WAS BACK!
By June June 2010 I was a few pounds away from being 19 stone and 50% lighter than I was. It’s taken time, hard work, mental strength but I could see, in the very far-away distance, my “Never-ending” finish line. I say never-ending as many people who have been morbidly obese lose the weight, get to their goal and then think “Right I’m here, now I can relax” and end up putting all the weight (and more) back on.
I know I can’t do that. If I regain my weight, plus more, then I will end up at over 45 stone (630 pounds) and let’s be realistic, that would KILL ME!
So there is never going to be a finish line, no patting myself on the back. I have made my changes, I have saved my life but if I ever slip back into my old habits it will all be for nothing. I must keep the focus I have, and channel every emotion I go though directly into my pedals.
Current Health Issues
If you recall, back at the start I mentioned high blood-pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and so on. Here are some numbers for you all. My blood sugars used to be 35mmol on an average day (7 or 8mmol being classed as ‘normal). I’d say within 12 months of cycling I was down to around 10mmol on average (now running off to get tester) and as of this morning I am 5mmol (normal for early mornings).
My GP said it was all weight-related, and around nine months ago told me he was happy to no longer call me ‘diabetic’ – he suggested I get tested every now and again (hence the home test kit). High blood-pressure: I don’t have the numbers to hand but that is also back to normal, and no medication.
To give you an idea of why my health was not only so bad but also how it’s turned around, my BMI (Body Mass Index, which we all know is flawed but it’s the best we have for now) is 24 (2012) – It was 69.7 when I was at my highest weight (these numbers blow me away!) I have weighed in at 184lbs today, down from a “High” of 560lbs or I am now 32% of the man I used to be, thus meaning I have lost ALOMOST 70% of my body weight.
Those numbers blow MY mind and I was living it – to say I am lucky to be alive is an understatement.
Anyone Can Do What I Did
I am a normal everyday person;
I am no better than anyone else.
I am not special,
so if you are reading this and thinking “I can’t do that” then you’re wrong.
I used to look at others and think the same.
We are all equal – if I can do it, anyone can.
All you need to succeed is the will and desire I found when cycling!
But then, over my shoulder is this
Only 5% of people who are morbidly obese will stay slim after non-surgical weight loss.
Shit !!!!!!! is that going to be me ?
ONLY 5% , that leaves a pretty tiny window for error here considering its such a huge journey, but you know what ? the percentage odds on anyone LOSING 27 stone must have been HUGE , bigger, I’m sure than 95%, so I dont care if
Only 5% of people who are morbidly obese will stay slim after non-surgical weight loss.
Because that doesn’t affect me , why ? because I AM NOT GOING BACK THERE, NEVER EVER NEVER !!!!!!!!!
Gaz, The Pride of Tameside 2011:
Physical Achiever of the year, Gary Brennan (Thats ME !)
Gary Brennan , Me and My Fat Friend
The Hear & Now
So I sit here, after a long and difficult journey, that had many ups and downs along the way, 70% lighter than I used to be, being just 30% of the man I was and I ponder where I can go from here, I have been at my goal weight for almost 12 months, with little to no fluctuation in my weight.
In 2012 I rode the Manchester to Blackpool alone, Time Trial style, for the first year ever I didn’t have a team with me, helping me out, making it less effort so that a quicker time was achievable, and I managed to get an average of almost 20mph over the 100km course, despite riding alone for 99% of it, fighting into the wind, having no one to pace me uphill or push me when I got tired , it was actually very enjoyable, while I do wish I had gotten under 3 hours, I am more than happy with the time (3 Hours 10).
I do have some big projects on the cards for late 2012/early 2013 but after them ? well I hope they lead to bigger and better things but ultimately, with the figure of only 5% of people who were morbidly obese will keep the weight off after non-surgical weight loss looming large behind me, being a constant “whip” that keeps me pushing on, I have to evaluate what comes next.
From a personal point of view, I have achieved much more than I EVER could have dreamed of 3 and a half years ago.
But obesity isn’t something that affects only me, so I have decided that, god willing, I will try and help out all those out there who are morbidly obese and want help in losing weight WITHOUT the Magic Bullet of weight loss surgery. I intend to take my message to the UK, Europe, USA and the U.A.E. in a series of Conferences and Road Shows , if you are interested in booking me to speak at an event, then please leave your details here (they wont be published , don’t worry) and I’ll be in touch.
This page is just a SMALL amount about how my life has changed, I dont even cover the AMAZING mental benifits of going from a 40 stone slob to a 13 stone cyclist, Rollercoasters, Track cycling, New Jobs , Contact Lense, Strava, Bike Building, Turbo Training……etc etc but i’ll save all that for the book :0)