It takes guts to make life changes. Ask Peter FitzSimons, Australian journalist, former rugby union player and author of The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down. Peter’s book offers a refreshingly honest and open account of how he got to where he is today.
We had a chat with Peter about what life feels like 45 kg lighter, and what had to change for him to start seeing results.
What instigated your weight loss journey?
Climbing the stairs at home, I suddenly felt very old, fat and slow. It was the beginning of me thinking about getting older, and the need to get healthier.
How different do you actually feel 45 kg lighter?
It is not just feeling lighter. The main thing is I feel younger – I kid you not. I had totally forgotten that feeling of energy and strength. I used to have it as a footballer. At the age of 55, I have it again!
At the gym where I work out, there is a weekly physical challenge. This week’s one is how long it takes you to burn 40 calories on an exercise bike. I am coming second, ahead of all the trainers even, bar one! One minute, 30 seconds – blitzed ‘em! Smoked ‘em! Rolled ‘em up and poked ‘em!
Have you maintained it? Is that the most difficult part?
No, I am into it. I have moved into that phase where I feel like a slug if I don’t exercise. I feel like a slug if I have a big serving of food. It has taken me 50 years to work all this out, but I think I have got it now. I am never going back!
What had to change in your lifestyle to start seeing results?
It is all so simple. Stop the sugar. Stop the grog. Get your arse moving. Get serious about it. I had to grasp all four things at once.
“It is all so simple. Stop the sugar. Stop the grog. Get moving. Get serious about it. I had to grasp all four things at once.”
What have you learnt about yourself during this experience?
I am not old! I am still young. At the age of 55 – did I mention that? – I am growing muscles! I am getting stronger, fitter, faster, leaner and feeling younger.
For Aussie men and women, what do you think are the biggest barriers to losing, or keeping off, weight?
Get this into your melon: you don’t need to go on a diet. You need to change your diet and your lifestyle. All those namby-pamby health nuts that I used to sneer at in my 20s were right and I was wrong. In my 50s, I get it.
Being healthy has so many benefits beyond health alone. Energy and emotional equilibrium are just the start. I want a full, energetic life, and I am doing what needs to be done now. Not through pills, magic cures or magic vibrating machines, but by embracing the basics. And I love it.
Anyway, have to go. The steps on my pedometer note I am behind, so I am going to walk twice around my block to make sure I crack 10,000 steps today.
The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down is published by Penguin Books Australia, RRP $24.99 (paperback).