In a recent episode of the transformation series Brand New Me, Matt Briggs shared how he began to put on weight as a teenager when his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and continued to use food as a coping mechanism after she passed away. “Food for me is a comfort,” he says. “The emotional eating was always paramount to me.”
The overeating continued until Matt weighed more than 430 pounds. Buying clothes became increasingly difficult, he had to have shirts custom-made for his job, and he felt so self-conscious about his appearance that he didn’t date. “I didn’t think, at that size, anyone would find me attractive,” he says.
That all changed, however, when he saw a family photo one Christmas, and got some perspective. “I wasn’t delusional, I knew I was bigger than other people,” he says, “but to actually see a photo of me next to my dad, and to realize I was over twice his size, was the wake-up.”
He joined his local Slimming World group, and lost 12 pounds in the first month. He committed to changing his diet, and incorporating more physical activity into his everyday life.
“My first step was parking a mile away from work, and walking in,” he says. “Exercising is important to me now, I’ve seen the benefit of it helping me shape and tone my body, building muscle tone… I love doing exercise; it keeps me in a positive frame of mind, and I can see the difference it makes to my body.”
Having struggled over the last year to keep up with his workouts due to the pandemic, Matt is excited to get back into his training now that the gyms have reopened as the UK comes out of lockdown—although he admits that this new life still requires some getting used to. “It does take a long time for your head to catch up, you’re so used to seeing the older version of you,” he says. “I caught a reflection of someone in a shop window, and thought ‘oh that’s what I’d like to look like,’ and turned, and it was me!”
Matt lost a total of 245 pounds in 18 months, and is currently sustaining his weight at 231 pounds. He now uses his own experiences to help other people who are on their own weight loss journeys, and to show them how much is possible. “Since losing weight I have gone onto find my partner,” he says. “I’ve been able to run marathons, raise money for multiple sclerosis, and do things I never thought I’d be able to do.”
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