Lloyd Herbst, 24 saved his life by becoming a Belly Off winner!

After having a heart attack at the age of twenty-three, he says ‘the biggest reward is being alive and enjoying life’…

WEIGHT BEFORE 186 WEIGHT AFTER 114
OCCUPATION Engineer
HEIGHT 1.95m
TIME TO GOAL Eight months

THE GAIN I’ve always been a hefty guy (I was over 100kg in standard five), but I deluded myself into thinking that I carried my weight well, and had found a niche being the “big guy”. I ate what I wanted when I wanted, but the real slide downhill happened at university. The convenience of fast food made it really easy to eat – I even participated in eating competitions and was extremely successful at them. I have also always loved cooking and would more often than not be over sampling my delicious food. Coupled with both serious drinking and a complete disregard for exercise, my weight and health suffered massively.

THE CHANGE At the age of 23, I had a heart attack induced by my morbid obesity. I woke up one morning and my heart was racing like never before. I drove myself to the hospital in my boxers and collapsed in the resuscitation bay of the trauma ward. I spent two days in high care and eventually my heart stabilised. My heart had enlarged due to my weight, causing the blood to swirl in my atrial chambers instead of being pumped around. The head matron and doctor both said, “My boy, if you don’t lose weight, the next one will be your last.” Those words, and the worried look on my family’s faces, told me it was time to change.

THE STRATEGY I sought the advice of a dietician who put me on a low-GI diet. I became neurotic about everything I ate. I cut out sugar and drinking completely as it may have sparked off more heart complications. Every day I would get on the spinning bike and slowly increase my distance and speed. I rode it until it fell apart, then started running. I’m now running eight to 10km a day and keeping my weight in check.

THE RESULT I’ve lost 50cm off my waist (it was 152cm) and gone down two shoe sizes!

THE REWARD My heart condition has reversed. My brother has also lost 25kg because of my regime and I am super proud of him. I am running my first half marathon this year and I’m training for the Argus. But the biggest reward is being alive and enjoying life!