Brian Wilson, aged 48, had been burning the candle at both ends in a global business for the last 20 years and not looking after his health. Staying in hotels and travelling frequently had played havoc on his lifestyle, caused him to put on weight and pushed his blood pressure dangerously high.
After evaluating his physical and mental health while on holiday in 2019, Brian realised that he had to make a change and decided to turn his life upside down. He handed in his notice to start his own venture and joined Noom to help fix his physical and mental health. He lost 23 per cent of his body weight and now has a brand new set of eating and exercise habits as well as a positive outlook on life.
We are looking for Doncaster people to share their pandemic mental health storie…
Brian said: “For 20 years I’d been working all hours in a large global company and not looking after myself.
I was very stressed, travelling a lot and not eating regular meals at a regular time. I certainly didn’t have enough time to exercise or even relax. As a result, my health started to deteriorate.
“After not looking after myself for so long, it got to a point when it wasn’t just a case of dietin, I needed to make fundamental changes to the way I was living.
“When I look back, the moment that made me think I must change was October 2019. I’d taken a holiday to properly switch off, but while I was away, I ended up taking a long hard look in the mirror. I wasn’t just looking at my physical appearance, but also how I was feeling mentally. I was frazzled!
“It was the light bulb moment I needed to make some changes.
“I’d been with the same company for two decades, but I’d always wanted to work for myself and set up my own venture.
“That holiday was the push I needed to make some major life changes.
“When I returned, I handed in my resignation, and while working my three months’ notice, I looked into what would work for me from a lifestyle perspective.
“I started researching programmes that would suit what I wanted to achieve, and Noom was by far the most closely aligned, not just in terms of diet and food, but also self-health and mindfulness.
“I’ve tried diets in the past and none of them worked in the long term.
“I wanted to do something that would reprogramme me and not deprive or restrict me of anything. I started using Noom at the start of March 2020 when I signed up for an eight-month programme.
“I started off weighing 18 stone, and at the end of the programme got down to 13 stone 12lb, losing 58 pounds in total or 23 per cent of my body weight.
“I’ve even managed to reverse my high blood pressure; it’s now in the optimum category, down from being dangerously high. I’m still maintaining my weight but would like to take it down further this year with all the tools Noom has taught me.
“When I started, I knew my diet was wrong and that I had to change it. I’d start work and have a coffee for breakfast, then it would easily get to 4pm before I’d have a snack just to recoup on calories. This obviously isn’t healthy for your body or your metabolism. The first thing I picked up on Noom was planning meals and having breakfast. It sounds simple, but once you have that blueprint for what each day’s food looks like, you know how much wiggle room you have and if you can have an extra coffee or a sweet treat.
“I’d previously used another weight loss tool which restricted my diet, but it wasn’t sustainable. It was all about calorie consumption and nothing on what I needed to do physically.
“I would go to the gym and do really intense cardio and weight training, but it didn’t work for me.
“What helped was just being more active generally through walking, and changing your mindset on what you view exercise to be.
“I discovered I preferred to walk than go to the gym. I began gently and increased the intensity as it became a daily habit.
“It wasn’t too long before I was walking between five and eight kilometres five days a week. If I pushed myself, I could get that to nine kilometres. It would kill me at the beginning, but it also energised me, and I was feeling all the positive effects of the endorphins.
“It was more than just eating and exercising though: Noom helped with the mindful side of things. It taught me not to beat myself up and look after myself more, and that it’s okay to have off days and feel guilty.
“As I was progressing on my journey, I was developing mechanisms to look after my mental health and not fall off the wagon again. If you have a bad day, that’s fine: just get back on it the next day. Have those days and not feel guilty.”