Stu Cook from Health 2000 sits down with Levi Joule and opens up about his own incredible transformation and gives express readers tips for how they too can make the change to a healthier lifestyle.
The moment Stu Cook knew he had to take charge of his health was the night he thought he was having a heart attack. “Obviously it wasn’t a heart attack, but I sat there clutching my chest, thinking these pains aren’t normal.”
“I said I was going to lose weight a year ago and nothing’s happened, I need to take action.”
Six months later and Stu Cook is sitting down for the interview with express 35 kilograms lighter.
Stu says that he has always been a “big guy” but that through work stress and apathy, he had really started to pack on the pounds “Stress is something we talk about in passing but don’t really understand.”
“I spent years getting out of shape, you’ve got to understand the position you are in.”
He says that the hardest part of his journey was getting into the right frame of mind and dealing with the mental challenges that can act as roadblocks. “It’s 80% mental, it’s 20% physical – you’ve got to want to make the change.” He also points out the societal attitudes that can hinder progress to achieving one’s weight loss dream, saying “We have become a reward culture, that’s the problem.” “Going to the gym and being active is a natural thing you should be doing, you shouldn’t need to be rewarding yourself for being active.”
“You can negotiate yourself out of wanting to go to gym.”
“The alarm goes off at 7 am and I’m up and out of bed because I believe that I am doing the right thing for my health.”
When it came to food, Stu says that he’s tried almost every diet under the sun. I’ve tried so many different diets and that was the thing – they were diets, I would do these diets without actually changing anything.”
Instead of embarking on yet another fad diet, he decided to do some research on the types of products he was consuming and the impact they were having on his body.
What he discovered about sugar led him to quitting the substance completely, which he credits with helping him to lose 35 kgs. “Of all the things we have come across sugar is doing the most damage and it’s not just because it’s sugar, it’s also what
it does to our body, from the addiction to the way it changes our chemical make up, so that was the first thing that I needed to look at.”
Stu says that quitting sugar was no easy process and there was a period of intense withdrawal symptoms. “The shakes, the sweats, the cravings, getting angry for no reason – it was really hard.”
I was probably in the region of 22 – 23 teaspoons of sugar a day and when you think about those sorts of levels, it’s not uncommon, that’s the scary part.”
Qutting sugar and joining the gym has really paid off for Stu – “I’ve been doing this since late January and I’ve already lost 35 kilograms and there is still some more to go. We’ll check back again in six months time and see how far I’ve got.”
Stu has some straightforward advice for those thinking of embarking on a similar journey. “Get the support, plan it and stick to it. Never try and justify your way out of it. There’s no excuse for having sugar, there’s no excuse for slipping, but if you do, don’t beat yourself up about it, say OK, this has happened, but get yourself back up and back on to it.”
Stu’s 5 Tips for Healthy Living and Maintaining a Healthy Weight
- Remove refined sugar from your diet.
- Move more – even its going for a walk at lunch time or when taking a mobile phone call.
- set a goal – be realistic but make it challenging too.
- Don’t beat yourself up – changing lifestyle habits can be hard but keep trying.
- Get support – find a friend or family member to go along on the journey with you.
Article | Levi Joule. Photo | Dan Liu