When one ordinary day, Steve’s nine-year-old daughter hugged him and was able to touch her fingers together behind his back for the first time in her life, he knew he had found exactly what he needed. Four weeks into his first Round of the 12 Week Body Transformation and his life had begun to change as radically as the number he was seeing on the scales.
Steve and his fiancé Jess have both transformed their lifestyle with 12WBT.
Just weeks earlier, the father of four was spending $500 a week on food, waking up at 3am to binge, and struggling with an eating disorder. “I used to buy a family bucket of KFC and sit in the car park, gorge myself on it and then go home, have dinner and throw up,” he reveals.
“Every single emotion I had, I’d deal with it with food. I binged and purged. I was bulimic, but I’ve only really told people about it recently. As a guy, it’s especially hard to talk about, because I felt that having an eating disorder was a weakness.”
Tears To Triumph
Steve on a momentous day – the first time he could fit through the turnstile at the gym and not have to go through the gate.
Not only was the disability support worker struggling with food, he found he couldn’t even walk the kilometre required in the 12WBT Fitness Test. “I had to stop, and then I just cried. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to deactivate my account,” he recalls.
“But then I thought, no, there must be other people out there who feel like this. I jumped on the Men’s Locker Room 12WBT Forum and wrote exactly how I was feeling while I was bawling my eyes out sitting on the side of the road. And within an hour there were hundreds of people there encouraging me and sharing their own stories.”
The 12WBT Forums, Steve says, have been critical to his success – and the fact that he can now run three and half kilometres. “I would have given up without the Forums,” he says. “And now I want to give back and help people who are where I was. It’s our job as a community to back people up. If I, at 153 kilos, can get off my arse and do it, anyone can.”
In just seven months and two and a half Rounds, Steve has lost 54 kilos, weighs 99 kg and has completely turned his life around.
Facing His Emotions
Like many people who sign up to 12WBT, Steve found the program via word-of-mouth. “A friend told me about the program, and I went into it just thinking I’d give it a go, and if I lost 10 kilos it would be great,” he remembers. “It came down to following the program letter for letter and starting a routine. Doing that made me face my emotions because I couldn’t use food as a crutch any more.”
While Steve acknowledges that 12WBT is “hard work”, the only emotions that stick around these days are ones of happiness and pride.
“My little brother is really fit and when he came around last weekend, he noticed I’d shrunk in the past three weeks. He said he was inspired by me! That blew me away,” he says. “The best thing has been seeing the pride in my family’s eyes when they talk about me.”
Bigger Goals Ahead
Steve and Michelle Bridges at the Round 4 2012 finale party in Brisbane after he picked up the award for Most Inspirational 12WBT member.
Now that Steve has surprised himself with his success, he’s thinking longer term. “By my wedding in July, I’d like to be between 10 and 15 per cent body fat – especially now that I’m seeing muscle definition that hasn’t been there since high school. Then I want to do a personal training course and work with young men. I never, ever, thought I’d say that.”
And when those old demons surface, Steve has found a way to deal with them. “I always used to have to have some kind of food in my hand,” he says. “I don’t feel that as much any more, but I always have a bottle of water with me if I do get that urge. I even have a dumbbell at one of the homes I work in, and if I start to feel anxious, I go and do some exercises with it to distract me. I’ve found a way to manage those feelings, instead of letting them take hold.”
This way of thinking and behaving is all part of the newfound responsibility Steve has discovered for creating the life of his dreams. “I’ve learnt to own the fact that this is my life and it’s what I make of it,” he says. “Before, I was happy to just have my little life. Now I want to leave a legacy.”
Steve’s Top 12WBT Tips
- Just Frickin’ Do It (JFDI)
JFDI has got me through so much. Yes, there are times when I don’t want to exercise, but that’s too bad: Just Frickin’ Do It. It’s not easy. You put your body through hell to get where you were before the program, so you have to put your body through hell to get to where you want to be, and it will thank you later.
- Talk to Yourself!
In my head and out loud, I encourage myself and talk myself through a tough workout. My motto is: I’m not finished when I’m tired, I’m finished when I’m done.
- Planning is Everything
I like to make a new inspiration board every couple of weeks, so I know exactly what I’m aiming for – and then I create a plan for how to get there. I’m now very goal-oriented, but a goal without a plan is just a wish.
- Think Outside the Exercise Box
I created the Locker Room Challenge in the 12WBT Forums: 100 sit ups, 100 push ups and 25 burpees – every night. It’s ridiculous but the smartest thing I’ve done, because it’s changed the way I work out and so many people have become involved and support each other.
If you’re a guy who wants to trim down and shape up, join others who are following the same journey and sign up for the 12 Week Body Transformation.