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Inspiring Stories: From borderline type 2 diabetic to marathon runner

Posted by Joe Wicks in Fitness, Wellbeing

At the beginning of 2018, lorry driver Andy Ruddock was depressed, overweight and borderline Type 2 diabetic. In the space of just 10 months the 50-year-old from Scunthorpe had lost six stone, banished his demons - oh and he happened to run a marathon too. We asked Andy to share his remarkable transformation story.

By Andy Ruddock. (Follow Andy on Twitter @KTMAndy)

In December 2017, I was in a bad place. I just hadn't realised it yet. 

I'd recently lost my dad, I'd packed in the job I'd been doing for 27 years, I'd had an accident and I was dealing with personal issues. Visiting my doctor for an MOT was the straw that broke the camel's back.

While I've never been a thin person, at nearly 18 and a half stone, blood tests showed I was borderline Type 2 diabetic. My GP told me I needed to think about what I was doing to my health and warned that, as my dad and uncle had died of a heart attack, if I didn't change my lifestyle and eating habits, I was heading the same way.

I left the surgery feeling like a zombie, everything in my life was collapsing. And then I took a picture of myself on my phone. It sounds dramatic but that picture changed my life. I saw how depressed and fed up and awful I looked and I thought, I don't want to be like this. I knew things had to change. 

First steps and family support 

It was around 25 years since I'd last exercised. I'd been fit in my 20s, I loved martial arts and was a kickboxing instructor but after breaking a knee I gave it up. And then my stepson and two sons came along and life got in the way. But even so, I was ashamed of how far I'd let things slip.

I spoke to my wife about making changes to my lifestyle and she was so supportive. She's always been fit and has run for years but I think even she was a bit surprised when I told her I wanted to do parkrun with her. 

But I didn't want to do it in front of other people so I got my her to take me around the 5k course on our own. After about 200 metres I felt absolutely, thoroughly sick. My lips were dry, my heart was pumping and I was exhausted but I jogged and walked the whole way with my wife supporting and talking me through it.

I couldn't believe how bad I felt but I thought, 'I'm not going to give up, I'm going to do it again.' So I went back the next day, and the next and somewhere along the line I started enjoying it. 

Finding a love of HIIT 

It was around this time that I stumbled across Joe. I was Googling ways to workout and one of the first things to pop up was The Body Coach. It was a HIIT workout on YouTube and I thought I've got to try this.

The workout was a 15-minute interval session. It left me on my knees in the living room but I enjoyed it. It reminded me of being back in my karate dojo in my kickboxing days because it exhausted me thoroughly and used so many muscles. I did an abs video straight after and I thought, yes, I like this. I like the way that's Joe's so approachable and goes through the workout with you too.

Pretty soon I was running and doing Joe's workouts nearly every day. I was feeling so much fitter but I knew I needed to look at my diet.

Getting into healthy food habits 

The more I ran and exercised the more I knew I needed to change what I was putting into my body. The food I was eating wasn't fuelling me, it was just making me fat.

I used to lead such a sedentary lifestyle and I'd come home and eat crisps, chocolate, chips, you name it. 

My inspiration for healthy food came from Joe's web page and we now have a kitchen full of his recipe books. I have always loved cooking, which was part of the reason I put weight on. I went cold turkey on snacks and fast food. I just stopped. It was hard at the time, but now, I don't miss it at all. Joe's recipes are delicious and I still find it hard to believe that this is health food, it's gorgeous.

I have a very strict diet when I'm out driving, no more greasy spoons, or burgers. I take my lunch to work with me. I don't think I've had a Cornish pasty, a sausage roll or a portion of chips for a year now. 

Subscribe to The Body Coach TV here and get new, free home HIIT workouts every week.

Consistency is key

I work unsociable hours as a lorry driver but I've made running and Body Coach HIIT workouts part of my routine. I leave for work at three in the morning but I'm back home around lunchtime and within an hour I'm changed and working out. 

My entire family get involved too. We put the TV on, stream a HIIT workout and do burpee challenges in the living room. We even run together.

My first ever run was on 15th Feb 2018 the day after Valentine's Day. It was awful. From never having run before I built up to my first official parkrun six weeks later. I did it in 26:41 and it was extremely hard but I felt great as it was my first of many PB's.

Then I started entering 5 and 10k races. Soon it was half marathons and, within 10 months I'd lost six stone, run 22 races and completed my first marathon in York, which I'm doing again this year. My wife has always run but now the boys do parkrun with us too and we entered a 10km race as a family.

You would have thought I'd won the lottery the amount I was screaming and cheering when I saw my son finishing and knocking 10 minutes off his time and my other son finishing his first ever 10km just a few minutes after. I've never felt so proud in my life.

Fitness is contagious 

I know it's corny, but I do think that inspiration and healthy living is like a cold – once you catch it, you spread it to other people. I've now helped one of my friends get into running by doing the couch to 5k with him. I post about my journey on social media and people I've never met have messaged me and I've explained how I've been running and all about The Body Coach.

I always say you don't need expensive kit or a gym membership, you can do it in your own home. Put your trainers on, put a T-shirt on, do it now. Start today. If you put it off and think, 'Oh, I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it on Monday,' you won't, life gets in the way.

Once you start to see how your body changes, you'll begin to do exactly what I'm doing now, you will inspire people. 

My confidence is back

This year I went back for my MOT at the GPs. I took another picture and the difference is amazing. I'm now 12 stone, my blood pressure was spot on, my BMI was spot on, there was no sign of Type II diabetes, and I'm smiling. My doctor didn't even recognise me.

The best thing about changing my lifestyle though, is that at some point, something clicked. I realised that my confidence was back. I forgot about the demons in my head, and said, 'actually, you can just can turn around and leave now, because I feel great.'

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Joe Wicks

About Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks is the online nutrition coach inspiring people all over the world to cook with his #Leanin15 video meals on Instagram. He is also transforming the lives of thousands of people with his tailored online nutrition plan, The 90 Day Shift, Shape & Sustain plan.

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