A Tale Of Two Steves

Steve Lloyd's inspirational tale of weight loss and running. From 31 to 16 stone in four years!

Posted: 11 February 2004
by Daniel Benson

Four years ago, Steve Lloyd - January's new member of the month - weighed 31 stone and 3 pounds. Needless to say he was unfit, his diet unhealthy to the extreme. He’s now down to 16 stone and as the pictures show, the transformation has been exceptional.

"I can't put a finger on what really started me off on my yellow brick road," claims Steve. "So many things come to mind ... the disgusted stares, the sarcastic (and quite hurtful) comments, the ill health (although I very rarely saw a doctor), the constant back pain... the list is positively endless."

After setting himself the goal of losing weight, Steve joined a slimming club. He set realistic targets, and above all, made sure that he stuck to them.

"I found it easier to break up my weight loss aims into more manageable mini-targets. That way you're not focussing on the big picture, just a small section of the jigsaw."

Hitting The Road
Last May, Steve joined a gym, with the aim of getting fitter and progressing his weight loss even further. He’d typically spend his time on the treadmills and rowing machines, and used weights.

"I then started to run. It was cheap, easy and anyone could do it. I just fell into it, really! I had to make some conscious decisions to change, but I’m enjoying myself a lot more. I’ve got so much energy I don’t know what to do with it."

Of course, Steve took things steady to begin with, going out and doing some short walk-run sessions. He’s currently on a programme that will get him ready for the Great North Run in September.

"I’m exercising about three or four times a week, either in the gym or out on the road getting ready for my big goal. I’m running three and a half miles at a time, each week adding a bit more distance to my programme. The Lincoln 10K (April) is my first race and it will give me a great indication as to how things are going."

Internet Buddies
A frequent browser of the web, Steve joined the website simply to find out more information about training and to seek some friendly advice from others. He’s a regular in the forums (every day, actually).

"The information on health issues, training and injuries is great. But I spend most of my time in the forums. They’re addictive! The encouragement that you can get from others is what really helps to spur you on. It makes a massive difference."

Looking To The Future
But in true Runner’s World fashion, Steve won’t be resting on his laurels for too long. After his half-marathon in September, he's aiming even higher for 2005.

"Once I lost all that weight, I treated myself to a holiday, as a way of a reward. I’ll be doing the same after the GNR. After that it’ll be back in training, preparing for my next goal. A marathon!"

See Steve's page on this site, including his forum posts.

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Discuss this article

Well done Steve a fantastic acheivement to date,losing all that weight.With your determination you should have no problem completing the 10k and the GNR, GOOD LUCK.
Posted: 15/02/2004 at 21:40

Well done steve. That is amazing. I wish I had some of your determination. Being a student I find it very difficult to balance my training with my social life! Well done again!!!
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 13:33

Hi there Steve - just to prove I 've sussed the nickname bit - just got the picture to suss now. Just how tall are you by the way??
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 16:43

Steve I could not believe it, you look fantastic, a big achievement. Very well done and good luck for your first race.
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 18:08

Steve, you are an inspiration to us all. congrats, and see you up north in September.
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 18:14

Awesome achievement. Wish a few people I know could do it!
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 20:46

Ooooh - a thread all about me? Can I ever live this down do you think? My head is already so big that it can't get through the door without a struggle.

I've had so much e-mail over the weekend since the article appeared from loads of different people and all of it very complementary. It makes me feel as though I've done the right thing for once in my life.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. Just hope I can live up to them and complete the GNR 2004 with a respectable time!

Never ever thought I would be an inspiration to anyone.

And in answer to Pocahontas - am 6' 4".

Thanks again.
Posted: 16/02/2004 at 22:13

Steve - yours is truly an amazing story and it will be an inspiration to many & for a long time I am sure.

Posted: 16/02/2004 at 22:30

Well done Steve, excellent result. Hope the running all goes well for you and welcome to the crazy world of running.


Posted: 17/02/2004 at 17:37

Can i add to the congratulations

Steve that weight loss is truly awesome
And i'm sure you will do well @ GNR 2004


Posted: 17/02/2004 at 17:42

Wow, Steve, you are an inspiration to anyone trying to achieve any kind of goal! I'm sure you will love your first race, and the GNR - I predict you will be hooked on running for life!
Posted: 17/02/2004 at 18:03

Fan-bloody-tastic, mate! Well done you, and good luck for the GNR!
Posted: 18/02/2004 at 12:55

You're a whole new man, and good looking too.
What other talents are you hiding??

You should have a roadshow sponsored by the NHS as an example to us all.

Well done you.
Posted: 18/02/2004 at 22:03


You are amazing I have so much admiration of you.

Ive lost a lot of weight in my life (21st - 14st in 4 years) but nothing like your achievement.

I wish you all the luck and offer my support, good luck with GNR.
Posted: 18/02/2004 at 22:45

Ooooh Steve?

>>Flutter of eyelashes<<<<

And you live...?

Seriously, well done!!!
Posted: 18/02/2004 at 22:57

I take my hat off to you for sticking to the weight loss thing. If you can manage that, training for a half or even a marathon will be easy-peasy. Good luck but you don't need us, you have it all in you already.

Don't forget to let us know how you get on.
Posted: 23/02/2004 at 21:04

Answers to a couple of questions above :

CreakyKnees : Can cook, wash up but hate ironing :o) Oh yeah, apparently can sing (according to friends) so could sing you a lullaby as we run together :o) Not very good at dancing though! And thinking about it - bet I wouldn't be able to sing being out of breath from running :)

nicky2k : Somewhere in Scunthorpe :o) And now you're gonna tell me you don't know where that is.

And do you know what the strangest question is I've ever been asked about losing weight? "Does it hurt to lose all that weight?" I kid you not!
Posted: 23/02/2004 at 21:32

You're a star!

Where is Scunthorpe?

(Only kidding!)
Posted: 24/02/2004 at 08:55

I don't know you from Adam, but also want to congratulate you on your success and encourage you in your GNR goal. You obviously didn't do this for the recognition in RW, but deserve every bit of it nonetheless.

My mother is as overweight as you used to be and I wish more than anything that she could somehow take control of her life rather than depending on doctors and medication. Many of us have tried to encourage and help, but it seems to almost always be met with defensiveness. Can you give any insights into how you finally gained the will or motivation to do this and if and how others (like family members or friends) helped you along the way? I think RW should ask you to write an article.

Thanks for your great example and best of luck.
Posted: 24/02/2004 at 10:58

squirmy - just a quick message cos I'm at work. Can't seem to e-mail you from the link above. Drop me an e-mail at lloydsj@yahoo.com and I'll send you on any information I can think of.
Posted: 24/02/2004 at 11:07

I've responded to Squirmy but wanted others to know what I'd said - unfortunately, you're limited to no's of characters in a message so this might be over a few messages :


I don’t have a secret Will-Power potion that I can bottle up and sell on. If I did, I’d be a millionaire.

The main problem with any change that we make is that we're often doing it for the wrong reason (or person). Any change that is going to last has to come from inside of you, for your own benefit, decided upon by yourself.

I remember :

 millions of times being persuaded to 'diet' by my mum - persuaded was often interpreted as 'forced' in some cases - over the whole of my formative years. I realise now that it was out of love but at the time never saw it that way
 standing in a pub and being lectured at by a group of ‘friends’ about my weight for an hour – apparently I was going to be dead by the time I was 25 – I’m now 35 so that prediction put egg on their faces.
 getting my first job and then being given a medical to be told by the doctor that he was getting my contract changed so that if I hadn’t lost a stone in 6 weeks, I would be out.
 so many other occasions where people have made comments that, although they were meant to be for my own good, I always took for words of chastisement. They were saying them to ‘belittle’ me
 on other occasions, people being genuinely nasty about my weight
Your mothers defensiveness is something that is quite common in people who have weight issues. I remember being quite defensive whenever people talked to me about my weight issues. Hell, I got quite defensive even if diets were mentioned in general conversation. We put up many walls – a cocoon that protects us. I knew it was an issue for me but what concern of it was anyone elses.

Even now, I do get a bit defensive when people still judge what I eat "You can't eat that ... you're on a diet!". I'm not on a diet and never have been - I'm on a lifestyle that incorporates a weight management regime. I've never looked on what I've done as being a diet - it's not something that is a transitionary thing. It's something I HAVE to do for the rest of my life.

Another common theory is that big people are cheerful. I’ve had comments over the last couple of years that I’m “Not as happy as I used to be”. Again, it’s another thing that people use to hide behind. “I hurt so much inside but I’ll smile and put on a brave face”. We use these masks to put on a brave front to the world. In private, we can cry, or better still, in the rain where no one can see the tears.

No matter what people think, obesity is NOT just an issue of people eating too much. It is just as much about self-worth and how a person sees themselves in the world. Every one of us has something to contribute to society. It may be that they haven't found out what that is yet but it will come.

Apologies if this comes across as a rant - it's certainly not meant to be.

So what made me change?

A number of life-changing events had happened about 8 or 9 years ago, moving house, my mum dying 6 months after that, a close friend committing suicide a year later. These things, I think, made me turn a lot more to food as a comfort in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been big, even as a very young child I was overweight. So I can’t blame any single event for making me the way I was. Even before those events, I would have been considered by any doctor as being a ‘heart-attack waiting to happen’.

One of the things that defines how I feel about my weight now is that I know I am the only one in control of what goes into my mouth. The problem is, I always have been – but in the past I always found other things to blame.

Posted: 25/02/2004 at 15:17

Some of the health problems I was facing are what you typically hear about :

- Very short of breath a lot of the time, even after walking only 50 metres
- Walking 50 metres gave me the most horrendous back ache.
- Any bout of flu, etc, always hit me particularly hard. On one occasion I had a chest infection that lasted almost 6 months.

I’ve also had some amusing things (in retrospect) happen to me when I was overweight :

- numerous toilet seats broken
- a tubular steel chair (the kind that don’t have back legs – just one long continuous loop of steel) bending back on itself when I leant back slightly
- a pub stool breaking underneath me as I twisted around to see someone
- standing up in a barber shop after having my hair cut and the wooden floor dissappearing underneath my foot as it collapsed under the weight.

The barbers shop episode shook me quite a lot at the time but I’ve been back since and the owner now laughs with me about it. I guess I could have sued for injury (personal pride maybe?) but that would’ve just drawn more attention to something that was quite embarrassing.

About 5 years ago I moved home again into a place of my own. I was turned down for life insurance at the time of applying for a mortgage but it didn’t stop me getting the house I wanted. This is about the time that I knew I had to start getting my life together. The fact that I’d been turned down for life insurance was a bit worrying and maybe had a slight effect on what I decided to do.

Work wasn’t going particularly well either. I was renowned for being Mr Angry and I’ve been told in recent times that I was unapproachable at times because people never knew which way I would react.

The story I normally tell about the catalyst that made me see sense is one where I was having a chat with a friend in a chat room on the internet and started talking about Weight and stuff. The internet is useful because it allows you to project a persona that is totally unlike yourself. You can act out fantasies of being thin and energetic when you’re not. I’d grown to trust this friend and the conversation just happened – in all of our chats, appearance wasn’t important but on this occasion, she let slip that she used to be overweight. She’d even appeared in one of those women’s weekly magazines with a makeover.

The conversation flowed for hours after that talking about alsorts of things to do with weight and the issues we face.

At that point, I promised to her that I was going to do something to sort out my life. I did not, however, tell her how much I really weighed. See, even with the anonymity of the internet, those ‘masks’ are still there.

On reflection, the conversation did have quite an effect on me although I’d been thinking about it for some time anyway. It was just a deciding factor. I’d made a promise and it was really a promise to me. My friend was just there to hear it being said (or rather typed).

One of the main reasons for my weight condition was the very bad eating habits I’d formed throughout my life. Even more so once I’d starting living on my own. I needed some guidance so, unlike a lot of men, joined a club called Scottish Slimmers. That provided a basic book with the rules for the rest of my eating life.

I have a separate document that I’ll dig out that describes the Weight Management Plan I followed (a sort of review I wrote for another web-site about 1½ years ago) if anyone is interested.

Posted: 25/02/2004 at 15:18

What to do next for your mum?

Be warned, I think you’ll have to tread very lightly around this topic because your mum will naturally feel very vulnerable about anyone talking about weight issues. Unfortunately, it goes with the territory of being overweight. Make it clear that if she doesn’t want to heed your advice, then you still love her and respect her for who she is. You only want to help if SHE needs it.

Give her a copy of my story from the website if you want and explain how I’ve done this slowly and surely and where I am today. I did this for ME, and me alone. Anyone who gets a benefit from it is secondary to my need to be comfortable with ME as a person.

I’m sure if I really had a few weeks I could come up with a whole novel about my experiences and this message doesn’t really even touch the surface. I hope it gives you some idea of how your mum feels and why she might be ‘defensive’. My heart certainly goes out to her and I hope she can find the strength to do this for herself.

I’m sure with you and your families support, she will succeed if she wants it for herself.

Posted: 25/02/2004 at 15:18

Well done, a truly fantastic acheivement. I'm sure you will have no trouble with the races, if you can do what you have done already, then you can do anything you want.
Posted: 25/02/2004 at 16:43

Wow - you're an inspiration and it's nice to know so ordinary too!
The key really is making the decision because you want too isn't it?
Posted: 25/02/2004 at 17:06

well done voodoo. i've not come across this article before.

out of interest how did the gnr go?
Posted: 13/09/2004 at 20:45

Haven't done it yet - it's in just under 2 weeks!!!!

And then the day after I go on a well earned break in Turkey.

Never fear, the whole world will know how I did when I've done it :o)
Posted: 13/09/2004 at 21:11

Hi Voodoo,
well done for such a well written article and the posts above. hope to meet up with you at the GNR.
Posted: 13/09/2004 at 21:46

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