MY STORY IN SHORT
I WEIGHED 22 STONE AND WAS REALLY UNHAPPY WITH LIFE. I HAD LITTLE CONFIDENCE BUT FOUND A SPORT WHICH I ENJOYED IMMENSELY, I DIDNT REALISE I HAD POTENTIAL SO CARRIED ON GAINING WEIGHT, ONLY PLAYING ONCE A WEEK. EVENTUALLY I SAW I WAS LOSING WEIGHT BUT ALSO AT THE SAME TIME MY TABLE TENNIS WAS ALWAYS IMPROVING. I FAST WENT FROM 30% IN THE C DIVISION IN MY LOCAL LEAGUE TO 60% IN THE PREMIER DIVISION OF 3 LOCAL LEAGUES.
THIS HAS GIVEN ME, NOT ONLY THE CONFIDENCE TO DO MORE WITH TABLE TENNIS, BUT GENERAL LIFE TOO, SHOWING MYSELF THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, SHOULD YOU HAVE THE WILLPOWER AND ARE ABLE TO REALLY DEDICATE YOUR TIME TO THE WHOLE CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE. IT WAS AN UP HILL STRUGGLE, ONE IN WHICH IM STILL TO THIS DAY IMPROVING. IM HOPING TO LOSE ANOTHER 15KG AND GET DOWN TO 70KG, BUT SINCE WRITING THIS POST 3 DAYS AGO, I HAVE SINCE LOST 2KG, SO 13KG MORE TO GO!!
THE POINT OF MY POST IS NOT FOR RECOGNITION BUT SIMPLY TO POINT OUT THAT IT CAN BE DONE. IF YOU LOVE THE SPORT, YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE IMPROVEMENTS WEIGHT LOSS WILL MAKE. THE FEELING OF WORTH MEANT ALOT TO ME AND I STARTED TO BE RECOGNISED BY THE TOP PLAYERS AND TAKEN SERIOUSLY, IT MEANT ALOT TO ME TAKING MY FIRST BIG WIN. JUST REMEMBER THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO IMPROVE, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT......
THANK YOU FOR READING, IF YOU WISH TO READ THE FULL STORY THEN BY ALL MEANS READ ON......
A little bit about me. My name is Joe Britnell, I'm from England and I'm currently 23 years old. I'm a fully qualified chef and I am fanatical about table tennis, I live and breath the sport! I started playing November 5[SUP]th[/SUP] 2005 (an easy date to remember). Checking back through my diaries has proved this date to be correct too. I remember it like it was yesterday. It has brought me on such an amazing journey, one in which I would like to share with my children one day, but for now, I'm sharing it with you guys.
MY TABLE TENNIS
In may 2010 I hit my peak weight of just under 22 stone (136.6kg) I was morbidly obese and with it, lacked confidence even with the table tennis, I was a C division player in my local league in Dover, Kent only achieving 50% on a good season as naturally I was extremely unhappy with that! I decided it would be beneficial to start exercising more,within weeks I noticed improvement, both physically and mentally and also the gradual increase in standard of my table tennis. Naturally after seeing the benefits, I made the choice to cut my calorie intake, which while were on the subject was awful, I will write a daily intake before and after at the end of this document.
The gradual increase in exercise and generally cleaning up my diet saw me losing 2 stone within the first year alone and I felt incredible! The attention that occurred because of it was immense, where ever I went, I got compliments, and for someone who never got them, It was truly a beautiful feeling. Filled me with the utmost joy and fulfilment. I started going out with friends more and getting active by just walking around with them because I had that bit extra confidence and motivation.
The next year went passed and I found myself a practice partner willing to play every day which was great for the exercise factor, but not for my game as we had more fun than dedicated practice, that said, I still improved but simply only because of the fitness. And again in 2012 I lost a further 2 stone, so by this point I was already down to around 17 ½ stone. That was by then the lowest weight id been since I was 14.
2013 was a great year for, I found myself a great practice partner willing to play as much as he could and dedicate his time to my game, we had played before but this was different, he dedicated his time to my game, made suggestions, got me motivated, but not only that, he was there for any other problems I faced, I truly appreciate his efforts. So much so I try hard to beat him in matches and have been successful recently, sorry Alan! It was also here where I set myself goals on who to beat consistently, set those goals high and found week in week out I was exceeded the goals and had to set new goals on a monthly basis! So with this I gained even more confidence in myself and was able to lose 3 stone bringing me down to just over 14 stone, which was the lowest weight id been since I was 12 years of age! What followed would be the turning point in not only my table tennis career but also to my general fitness.
2014 was even better than 2013 in many ways, I gained more knowledge of the game. Going into every match as an underdog was good, it meant nothing was expected of me and I just went on and played the best I could, I enjoyed it! I had an offer for my first premier league place in the Dover league and snapped it up! First match of the season, literally the first match too, and I played a guy called Mike Howard (awkward hard-bat blocker-good serve and receive), I somehow managed to out power and over come him 3-1 and I instantly remember texting everyone about it, it meant a lot to me to beat the current reigning Dover champion! A win I hold dear. The rest of the year was relatively successful too. And again I lost more weight, another stone, bringing me down to 13.5 stone.
With the 2015 season still in action and the local tournaments just coming around, I felt in good form and good spirit to perform well, which I did in the Folkestone tournament, losing in the quarter final, which gave me a really good stepping stone for Dover. Sunday 22[SUP]nd[/SUP] March 2015 had another table tennis career defining moment in it for me. A first round loss to someone I usually beat 3-0 and since have slaughtered, nevertheless a loss that haunts me. I walked off court in tears. A consolation for me was to see my friend Alan win the men's singles. After the tournament season, I decided to really hit the exercise hard.....TOO HARD! I was consuming 500 calories a day and exercising 7 hours a day and was burning a maximum of 3500 calories. I starved myself and looked extremely ill with it. I managed to get my body weight down to73KG (11.5 stone) then hit the gym to tone up the lose fat. After that I got an injury at the end of 2015 that I currently still have and has kept me from doing as much exercise.
2016 started off well, but I found food to be too tempting again and my diet become extremely bad. I was essentially binge eating! Having taken advice from certain individuals and taking from their experience and dedication, I have now regained my confidence and mojo. And now embark on a new quest which is catch up to where I was previously with the weight and there after I hope to maintain my body, keep healthy and play as much table tennis as I possibly can!
BEFORE LOSING WEIGHT: PRE MAY 2010
BREAKFAST: 2 chicken and mushroom pies
LUNCH: 2 sandwiches, half a cheese and onion quiche, a large scotch egg and a yoghurt.
DINNER: a main meal of whatever was being cooked which usually incorporated chips.
SNACKS: chocolate, biscuits, crisps and whatever I could get my hands on in the cupboards.
not only was I eating all the wrong things and not exercising, I was also eating very large quantities and consuming in excess of 6000 a day and I would barely move from my room.
BETWEEN 2010 AND NOW
My diet changed gradually over the space of the 6 years and ended up the way it is currently, but it was by no means a short, sharp decision and a quick change. I did however go on to make that mistake in 2015 as explained above. The key to weight loss is breaking the habit or addiction if you would prefer. And yes eating is an addiction, as far as I'm concerned. We are never entirely sure what we are eating so I find it relatively easy to become addicted to certain foods, none of which are good for your body, which begs the question, do they use some form of chemical to get you addicted? The answer is yes I would suggest! And from experience I know some Chinese takeaway use an E number called Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG) in some of their food. Its one to research if your kids have any form of mental illness, anyway I digress.....
AFTER LOSING WEIGHT:CURRENTLY
AFTER LOSING WEIGHT:CURRENTLY
BREAKFAST: Depending on if I'm fasting or not, but if I have breakfast, its usually a light bite to eat. Something with a bit of fat value, so a few healthy nuts, raisins and maybe mixed in with some bran flakes, no sugar, and I use soya milk for a bit extra fat content.
LUNCH: protein salad. for example a small piece of frying steak, literally 2 inches round if that, walnuts ground up on a bed of lettuce with a drizzle of sesame seed oil. Alternatively I would do a chicken and cheese salad and keep everything else the same. And I always boiled the chicken breasts!
DINNER: This can vary but because I try to eat little and often this meal may be broken up into 3 little meals. Portion control is key to losing weight I feel and spreading the meals out makes you feel fuller for longer. But usually if I'm eating cleanly to get lean, I would eat boiled everything. So a boiled chicken breast split into 3 pieces with a handful of vegetables. I may eat this within 2-4 hours from about 4pm to allow it to be digested before bed and I don't eat again after the final serving! That is truly one key factor to weight loss! Not allowing yourself that midnight treat!
SNACKS: I don't often eat snacks these days because I cant just eat one of anything, I've currently got chocolate in the fridge but I know if I have one piece then ill have the whole bar so I do tend to save it to put it in something so I get a treat but in moderation, for example, melting some down to add to my Greek yoghurt.
I have recently stopped eating foods that bloat the tummy such as bread (for the yeast content). An alternative for this are wraps. All processed carbohydrates seem to be bad for bloating. Another mistake I made was eating too much red meat, which made me feel strong but heavy. Its all about a good balance. And why not have a cheat day every so often? We are all human after all, just make sure it is once in a blue moon!
By now, you may be wondering if I have ever wanted to say no, enough is enough and back down from the challenge, the answer would be yes. I am a naturally lazy person, who doesn't want to relax all day, sip tea and eat biscuits (typically British)? So naturally I would love to do just that, however I chose not to, I chose to get up and exercise, I chose to go and play table tennis and go to the gym, why? Because I enjoy it, it makes me fitter and the feeling when the endorphins are released into your body is euphoric! There is no better feeling! There is a famous Henry Ford quote, “whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!” I truly believe in this quote and it is one of my life quotes.
I have not really had that many injuries in my table tennis career, I have been lucky thus far! (don't want to tempt fate now) I have however been injured recently. Last November I got Achilles tendinitis which was extremely painful. I'm not entirely sure it was diagnosed right as its sore, even now. But more recently from playing excessive table tennis, I managed to get repetitive strain injury (RSI) which meant the feeling in my wrist that only table tennis players would understand has been somewhat limited on bad days! I am currently in the process in getting this sorted, hopefully ill have an update soon. One in which I'm desperately hoping will be positive, so watch this space.....
I find a good way to get motivated is to listen to your favourite piece of music, especially whilst doing very light exercise, that's what makes me want to go out and do more! Another form of motivation can of course be within motivational tapes, so YouTube it and find what works for you!
The professional players on this planet are extremely talented and I try to model some of my shots on them. What I particularly admire is their footwork and how they are in place to play every single shot with power and precision. Of course, table tennis being the fast sport that it is, means you cant always be in a perfect position to play a shot which is where improvisation comes in and they are all contortionists!
I find it distressing sometimes watching the top players due to their sheer power, but that is the level of practice and the hours of dedicated training. That said I think it is good to learn and I have learnt a lot. The recovery between shots as Wang LiQin and Jun Mitzutani demonstrate well. The over the table backhand banana flick that is a trade mark of Fan Zhendong and Zhang Jike. The forehand of Ma Long and Timo Boll. The backhand of Kalinkos Kreanga, the footwork of Xu Xin and so on....
Practice cannot ever make perfect because in table tennis, the standard is ever improving and its always moving forward!
Another motivation I've had recently is the talks about the London Cup which is hopefully going to be held at the Olympic park Stratford, London. Should it go ahead, it will promote the sport of table tennis through the whole of the UK further than the addition of clubs, such as bounce.
Table tennis is thriving, but it needs promoting, this was my attempt to promote my story to let you know there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel to losing weight and anything is achievable, nothing is impossible. To conclude, in an ideal world the better option is not to gain weight. Sadly in my case that didn't happen and for a lot of people it wont, so we have to make the best of what we have, the key is to want it, be motivated and determined. Find something that gives you drive and stick with it, no exercise is bad exercise but some exercise is better than none! Keep fit and keep going, you all have my full support!