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You'd never guess it to look at him now but James Fry was battling alcohol addiction, drug abuse and a generally excessive lifestyle just two years ago.
It all took its toll on James' body and he saw his weight climbing up and up. He slowly became crushed by insecurity and battled with anxiety; his physical health wasn't much better.
James was knocking back around 50 units every single day, which is the equivalent of 25 pints of average strength lager, or around 4,000 calories. Government guidelines advise men to drink no more than 14 units a week.
He told TheLADbible: "My life before I started getting fit wasn't great. My daily routine consisted of waking up drenched in urine before throwing up, violently shaking and having anxiety attacks until I choked back enough alcohol to stem the tide.
"I barely left the room I stayed in. I was completely isolated from anyone and anything.
Credit: James Fry
"It wasn't just the physical side of things. I was a pretty vile human being before finding sobriety and losing the weight. In turn that fuelled a deeply negative self-image and a hatred for myself so strong.
"I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I despised what looked back. I was full of false bravado and faux arrogance. It was as paper thin as my entire personality."
Then, on the 15 July 2014, James had a harsh wake-up call when he was rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pain and vomiting blood.
He knew something had to change; beating his addiction became his main priority and he tied this in with improving his overall health and fitness.
While at hospital he discovered his average resting heart rate was over 100 beats per minute. An average heart rate for someone James' age would be nearer 70 bpm, while added to this was the fact that his blood pressure was through the roof and his cholesterol levels were 21, when a desirable level is five or below. A simple task such as walking up a flight of stairs left him struggling for breath.
He said: "I was terrified of death yet I begged for it daily. I ate practically nothing for the last few months before I was hospitalised.
"When I nearly lost my life, I realised that not only did I wish to keep my life but that I wanted to live a better one. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.
"Whereas before I would tear people down, I sought to build them up. Where before I destroyed my body, I sought to nurture it. Where before I caused chaos anywhere I went, I hoped to bring some serenity."
Credit: James Fry
Once he left hospital he began his detox. Cutting out alcohol and drugs was a great start but James knew that to make a long-lasting change to his health he had to switch his diet, his way of thinking and his lifestyle.
Leaving hospital, James weighed around 18 stone 12 pounds (120kg) and was almost 50 percent body fat. James began regularly going the gym and got a grip on his eating. The weight initially came off easily, though as with many others who have a lot of weight to lose, James hit 'the wall' and found himself stuck at a certain weight for a long time. He found that going back and reassessing his motivations and the reasons why he wanted to get fit helped.
Credit: James Fry
"I asked myself why I was doing it, decided I needed to redouble my efforts and had an overhaul of my eating regime. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't huge sweeping change, it was minor elements a month or so at a time to see what worked and what didn't," he told us.
Impressively, James managed to get in shape without using a personal trainer or consulting a nutritionist.
"I read and read and read," he said. "I believe in research and then experimentation. It's taken trial and error to find my way and I am glad it has. In the end, I came up with a nutrition plan that absolutely works for me and hasn't stopped working even down into the lower reaches of body fat. That's important you know, finding what works for you."
James put together this inspirational video to show his incredible transformation.
Credit: James Fry/YouTube
But James' journey isn't over yet. He still calls himself a 'work in progress' but he now believes that anything is possible. With losing weight and gaining muscle, James has found that his health has drastically improved. His average resting heart rate is in the 40s and he now weighs around 12-and-a-half stone (79kg) and has just 15.8 percent body fat.
He still wants to get fitter, and hopes to drop his body fat percentage into a single digit this year. I don't know about you, but I reckon he will do it.
Massive well done, James.
We want to hear your stories. Has fitness and wellbeing changed your life? Had it helped you overcome obesity, drugs, mental issues or been a defining factor in your life. Let us know about it. [email protected]
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