Working hard the past four years to ‘become a better version of’ himself, a man has shown off his incredible transformation online.
28-year-old Scott Leonard from Horsham, West Sussex, found himself depressed, lacking confidence and not in a good place when he came out of a ‘bad relationship’ in 2011.
Frustrated with himself for having zero confidence and fed up of binge eating for comfort and piling on weight, Scott decided something needed to be done.
Chatting to his colleagues at work, Scott was encouraged to join a gym in 2012 and although he admits it took time, he grew to enjoy exercise and change his outlook on life.
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD, Scott also made significant changes to his diet to shift the pounds.
I needed to change and work friends at the time said they were going to join the gym and made a bet in which the last man still attending wins. They suggested I take part so I figured why not give it a shot.
It took a while at first but I slowly started to enjoy the new environment I’d put myself in, it took my mind off things and gave me a new social group.
Mostly I did large volumes of cardio with a little bit of light weights. I had very little strength but mostly wanted to shift the weight.
I also eliminated large amounts of junk food and binge eating. I previously loved crisps and would happily eat my way through a multipack just as a snack.
These lifestyle changes immediately made an impact helping Scott lose an astonishing eight stone over four years.
At his heaviest in 2012 he weighed nearly 19 stone but in 2016, reaching his ‘physical peak’, Scott weighed 11 stone nine pounds.
He confesses though the journey wasn’t easy at times:
Some of the most difficult parts early on were keeping up my motivation by not seeing instantaneous physical improvements as well as fear of embarrassment of both myself and my figure in the gym.
Giving up junk foods and making changes to my diet were also extremely hard to begin with as I’d taken to comfort eating which became a vicious cycle of its own.
Eventually the weight shifted but I’d just become ‘skinny-fat’ which I was not happy with either and so I started teaching myself more about lifting weights and nutrition.
After his friends at the gym taught him some more routines, Scott started building muscle – he now maintains a weight of around 12 stone six pounds.
Learning more about food,’big foodie’ Scott looked into diets which allowed him to eat some junk food and enjoy occasional meals out.
For Scott, the odd treat helped keep him going during his weight loss journey.
Reflecting back, Scott believes watching what he eats made the most impact:
I’d say the changes I made in my diet and nutrition made the biggest impacts.
Not only did they improve my health greatly, but they made me feel healthier. I felt better about myself for making these changes and as a consequence it made me more positive, fuelling my hunger for change.
I still come across old acquaintances who don’t recognise me which always leads to a fun chat.
The journey to me is one of the best decisions I’ve made. It helped me to learn more about myself, make some great friends and showed me that many things are possible if you put in the work.
When we asked Scott what advice he would give to others who want to lose weight, he emphasised how important the support of others is.
Remove yourself from toxic situations and people and instead surround yourself with those who will support and encourage you.
Don’t be disheartened by slow progress, you can’t target fat loss and wherever you are largest will most likely be the last place you see reach your desired size.
Finally, never be afraid to ask for help, there are groups and communities of people out there willing to give advise and help for free.
Congratulations on your transformation, Scott!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.