‘ BE REALISTIC BUT DON’T BE SCARED’
ROHAN KALLICHARAN, 42, Streatham Hill, London Weight before 18st 10lb Weight now 11st 8lb Weight lost 7st 2lb Kept it off for 3 years
HOW I LOST IT ‘I’ve lived with bipolar since my teens so I always focused on my mental health at the expense of my physical. Eventually my GP told me my weight and my lack of activity were a real concern, so I overhauled my diet, joined a gym and then signed up to run a 10K to raise money for charity, which gave me extra impetus.
Running now gives me focus, purpose and a great deal of pleasure. When I was heavier and inactive I constantly had colds, flu, you name it. I can’t remember the last time I went down with anything. Running has simply transformed my life.’
HOW I KEPT IT OFF ‘It’s a mixture of running and healthy eating, but I’m not as regimented with my diet as I was. I eat healthily, but rarely go a day without a treat. Still, running 50 miles a week gives me the freedom to eat well. Running is as important to me as ever, though I had a setback last year when I suffered a vertigo attack while running. I went over like a sack of spuds. I didn’t run for four months and as running is a big part of managing my mental and physical health, it was a difficult time. Now I’m on medication and I’m running again.
Last time I spoke to RW I’d set myself a sub-3.15 marathon target, but the vertigo set me back. When I returned to running I had no goal, but found myself enjoying it; and with the pressure off I hit a PB of 3:00:23. I can be compulsive with entering races but it keeps me focused and allows me to continue fundraising [Rohan has raised over £10,000 for the mental health charity Mind].
I’m as light as I’ve ever been and I won’t go back. Running is my biggest mechanism for balancing my mental health so that’s as much a motivation as maintaining my weight. It’s also the lifestyle – I love eating and the more I run the more I can eat! Also, my holidays are now based around running. I’ll fly somewhere on the Friday, run the marathon on the Sunday, then spend five days on holiday. ’
If you’re starting from a point like I was, 11st overweight, it’s going to be tough. To motivate yourself, set small goals, things like small amounts off weight loss, or running for a certain time without stopping. Be realistic but don’t be scared and don’t ever judge yourself by the standards of others. This is your journey, not theirs.
Running has taught me how to set goals I can achieve and that’s had an impact on the rest of my life, too. I face every challenge using my running tactics, and nothing is insurmountable.’