Former Liverpool professional player Neil Ruddock has spent decades battling the scales. Now, he says it’s time to end the stigma of excess weight
If anyone knows how frustrating the stigma surrounding excess weight can be, it’s Neil “Razor” Ruddock. “I would have 70,000 people rave about how fat I am,” he recalls his days as a centre-back for England. “But they didn’t know how hard I worked – or how hungry I was all the time.”
Neil was 18 years old when he first tried to lose weight. “I really struggled with it,” he said. “Before weight training, I would be in the sauna just to lose a few pounds, or the trainers would send me to work out with a black sack. But as soon as I drink one, I’ll order them all back. I’m just dehydrated. Without education. “
It was a battle that would continue throughout Neil’s footballing career. “My teammates can eat twice as much as me and not load an ounce. People think I’m eating at home or not working out hard enough.”
Unhelpful criticism only makes things harder. “The advice to ‘stay away and get some exercise’ didn’t work for me,” says Neil. “When I was competing, I was only a few pounds heavier than I was supposed to be, and when you’re always running, it’s hard to lose.
“Then, when I stopped playing professionally in 2003, I spent two years eating and drinking whatever I wanted. I thought I deserved it after decades of hard work, but I only finished 5th.”
Not long after, Neil was on a rollercoaster ride of the diet. “I tried them all,” he said. “Low carb, low fat, milkshakes, juices… I even made my own diet – cold diet! It’s miserable.
“I lost 40lb on one regimen, but doubled it as soon as I started eating normally again. It’s not sustainable, but I don’t want to ask for advice.”
Neil is no longer alone. Obesity rates in the UK have almost doubled since 1993, with one in four adults living with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. But men are often reluctant to talk about weight and body issues.
Neil said: “My weight is an issue that cannot be ignored. “I wouldn’t talk to my doctor or friends – that would be a sign of weakness. I bought the women’s diet magazine because I couldn’t ask for help. “
It was a fear related to heart health that gave Neil the wake-up call he needed to do something about his weight. And the Break Free campaign helped him free himself from all stigma: “The biggest weight on my shoulders is learning that it’s not my fault, I’m not lazy and I don’t have to be ashamed. .
“I used to think that I was mentally weak and had no will. But there are more than 100 factors that can cause people to gain weight and not be able to lose it. The problem is not the will, but how the human body has developed. That’s why it’s wrong to stigmatize people.
“I learned that because of what was going on in my head, I was programmed to find the fattest thing in the fridge. Now my refrigerator is like a field; it’s full of green! “
“There is help out there – you just have to start talking: to your friends, family, doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
“I’m still learning, but I’m getting there – it’s important for people to realize it’s not their fault and they’re not alone.”
Can a break checklist help you?
Sports scientist and personal trainer Luke Worthington explains: “The five-point break checklist helps you assess whether your weight is or could become a health concern. . If some things seem right to you, we want you to know that help is available.
“The last point is perhaps the most important. Many people feel uncomfortable or judged. It affects their health and will make them less likely to want to go to the gym or use the locker room, but they are the people who may really need exercise in their lives.
“But there is no need to be embarrassed or feel self-conscious about asking for help. Simply visit the Break Free website, which has tips, advice and information that can help you take control of your health today. ”
- REMOVEMI near or above 30, or carrying excess weight around the abdomen?
- CHEAPweight gain, even after dieting?
- EWeight-related health worries beyond experience for many years?
- ONEDo others make assumptions about your lifestyle?
- KYAppreciated by your size judgment?
If you tick some of these, talk to your GP, nurse or pharmacist about your weight or visit breakfreecampaign.com for help, tips and advice.
To learn more, visit Breakfreecampaign.com
This article was initiated, funded and reviewed by Novo Nordisk. The Break Free campaign has been created and funded by Novo Nordisk to raise obesity awareness among the UK public. All campaign ambassadors, including Neil Ruddock and Luke Worthington, were paid by Novo Nordisk for their participation in the campaign. The opinions expressed in this article are those of Neil Ruddock and Luke Worthington, based on their personal experiences. UK22OB00043, date preparation: February 2022.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/the-biggest-weight-shoulders-learning-26120602 'The biggest weight on my shoulders is learning that it's not my fault' - the footballer opens up after years of secret shame