A Change Of Mart
One man's journey from fatness to fitness!
I'm Martin, a 52-year-old man living in a village called Oldland Common, between Bristol and Bath. Have lived here for ten years; it's the birthplace of Sir Alfred Bernard Lovell, the famous astronomer and where sportsmen Ian Holloway and Marcus Trescothick went to secondary school.
I grew up in a small village near Yeovil, Somerset living with my Mum and Gran & had a good childhood, also cared for by an older couple that lived two doors down. It was a sad day when I moved into Yeovil when I was ten and left Stoke, and the pictured Ham Hill, behind. Having got married and had a son and a daughter. I then moved to Bristol in 1999 and had twin sons before becoming a single parent in 2012. My daughter had a little boy in April 2018, making me a grandad for the first time and added a second grandson in April 2020.
Originally, the plan was for me to join the police force. I had the height (and the feet!) but not the qualifications and after enrolling onto a pre-police course at college, I then found a summer job that lasted five years and the police dream was shelved. A series of sales & account management jobs followed selling such diverse stuff as sweets, kitchens, labels, wine and advertising. I also ran a petrol station for three years too on the A30 between Sherborne and Yeovil.
Moving to Bristol, I became a courier and worked on the BBC show "Casualty" for three years as well as delivering DX mail for some blue chip companies, a role I still do now. I had a spell working for Yeovil Town FC and the last two years have seen me also become an Opta Sports in-ground analyst.
Volunteering has always been important to me and has opened doors to "proper" jobs along the way.
In 2005, my twins joined a local youth football club where they stayed for eleven years. I was in charge of the club's website and wrote articles for their website which saw me taken on at Yeovil Town FC as a media assistant. In the end, I wrote for the website for four years and the programme for ten seasons (2009-2019) including my first book (2013).
Going to games on matchdays and sitting in the press box next to the Soccer Sight commentators opened another door. When one of them left, I was taken on as a co-commentator and spent four happy years covering YTFC home games, ending in 2019. I sat two seats up from the club's Opta Sports analyst, a friend of mine too. He suggested doing Opta games for other clubs so I joined the company in 2017 and now have more than 90 games under my belt.
Sport and music just about cover it! Sport can be boiled down to football, golf and cricket. Football and cricket is of course reduced to watching these days although I do like to swing a club now and again at a local golf course. Music-wise, I have probably been to around 20-25 gigs of which five have been Manic Street Preachers. I love the Killers too and there's a fair chance there will be references to both bands on this blog over the next twelve months.
I wasn't overly fat at school, and certainly not to the point of being picked on for it. I worked on a farm for two years from the age of 14-16 which kept me fit and I then shot up in height after I left school. At the age of 19, I was fit enough to run the London Marathon in 4 hours 18 minutes and although my weight did creep up to 19 stone, by the time I "emigrated" to Bristol in 1999, I was a slightly overweight 16 stone. In May 1999, I was best man at my best mate's wedding and looked reasonably good in the pics, if I may say so myself (one of the pics is on the MY PICTURES section)
It's since then that things have gone awry. A series of sit-down jobs, either working from home or sat in a car for long periods, has done for me and along with a weak amount of willpower, has seen me put the weight on remarkably easily. I peaked earlier this year at 23 stone which is terrible, even for a man of my height (6 foot 4 inches). The aim is to get down to 14 stone 8 pounds. That will mean a loss of eight stone two pounds from where I currently am. Sounds a lot but it's basically a kilo a week (or a bag of sugar).
Clearly, the obvious one is that I have four children and two grandsons and that I'd like to see them all grow up and live happy, content lives. And it honestly is... I'm not ready to pop off just yet but I am very aware that I'm not helping to extend my life living it as I do. Yes, I don't smoke. Yes, I rarely drink. No, I've never ever taken drugs. No, I don't intend to start doing any of those things. But walking around every day of my life carrying with me the equivalent of fifty bags of sugar is not a good thing and I'm shortening my life as a result.
That said, I recently came across someone who has been on a similar journey but with different goals, different methods and a different outcome. Her story is set over several years and is a fantastic inspiration to me. I don't know her, we have mutual friends but sometimes, somebody's story just clicks in your head and off you go. If I succeed, much of it will be her igniting my passion to do something about how, and who, I am.