‘ 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

Runner's World (UK) - - Middle Managers -

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.’

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