NAME: ANDRE CAMPBELL
HOME: GOLD COAST, QLD
JOB: IT SUPPORT
HEIGHT: 183 CENTIMETRES
Born into a family of big eaters, Campbell started piling on weight from the age of eight, blithely chowing down on large portions of fatty foods. “I knew I was getting bigger, but I avoided looking in the mirror and I didn’t weigh myself,” he says.
Instead, he avoided going out and hid himself under baggy clothing. Stuck on a fast track that led inexorably towards obesity and diabetes, Campbell was effectively eating away at his youth.
In 2007, at the urging of his mum, Campbell went for a check-up. To his horror, the needle on the doctor’s scales reached its maximum of 170 kilograms and kept going until it hit the 10kg marker again. The doc suggested that Campbell be weighed on a vet’s scale, but he refused. It didn’t really matter: he was morbidly obese in anyone’s language.
Campbell was jolted into action, but his initial attempts at weight loss were thwarted when the owner of his local gym said he was too heavy for the machines. “He thought I’d break them,” recalls Campbell.
Close to giving up, he decided to start walking under the cover of darkness. “I was embarrassed to exercise in public,” he admits.
Out on the night streets, the weight started to come off and Campbell’s confidence grew. He began walking during the day for up to an hour. Six months after being rejected, he returned to the gym and was allowed to use the cardio machines. As the cardio workouts burnt away more fat, Campbell started doing weights.
Three years on and Campbell has lost a whopping 78kg, in the process slashing fat from his diet. High-quality protein and carbs now fuel his workouts and fire his metabolism. He cycles up to 15 kilometres a day and can knock out a respectable six chin-ups in good form.
Despite all the hard work, though, Campbell faces a further challenge: losing so much weight has left him with rolls of excess skin. “Every few months, I’ll look at it and it’ll get me down,” he says. “It still feels like I’m overweight.” He now aims to get his weight “down to double digits” and is saving to have surgery to remove the excess skin. If he can do that, he may then be in a position to achieve his dream and take his shirt off in public. “It symbolises where I want to be,” he says.
Want it bad. “No-one can force you to start losing weight,” says Campbell. “I was nagged by family and friends, but I just ignored them. Once it was in my head that I wanted to lose weight, that’s when I was able to stick with it and commit to it.”
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