The year that changed my life

The year that changed my life

So I got asked for a quick “snap shot” of a letter explaining my past and how I got to where I am today… I could talk about this forever so I apologise for the length but here you go… 😊

As you may or may not know, in late September 2010 when I was 26, I was on a work trip over in WA, wine tasting and sampling at The Perth Royal Show. One morning there, my ankles blew up unexpectedly and I was unable to put on my shoes… I was in immediate excruciating pain and I was a little concerned but I continued to do what I did best- work hard through the day, ignored the issue, and then drink thru the pain at night- we would laugh it off and I would just suck it up and continue to party… This continued for 4-5days not once thinking that this could be the start of something enormous…

The flight home was seriously painful- I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit- no hiding from the pain and , adding to this, no one knew why my ankles were so huge nor why they had changed to a bright salmon colour…
By the time I got home to Sydney and hobbled up to Miranda Medical Centre, the doctor hit me with the diagnosis… It was gout. A result of excess red wine consumption over the years, plus seafood, tomatoes and red meats- a disease usually reserved for middle-late aged people, certainly not a 26yr old. In addition to this, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and obesity (132.4kg) and was told that I was a “walking stroke waiting to happen”. The doc suggested that unless I quit the smokes and alcohol then I would not be around to reach 40… This hit me pretty hard. But it was not quite what changed everything around for me… There was more;

In 1984 I was born at 27weeks, 3months prematurely- I suffered a collapsed lung and received heart surgery and was once published in media as “a baby who survived against all odds”. The doctor at delivery had explained to my dad that I had perished but was soon proven wrong.

It was soon after the doctors diagnosis in 2010, that I came across The Miracle Babies Foundation, a foundation that looked after premature babies and their families. Reading about this definitely pulled the heart strings and an overwhelming sense of guilt set in- I knew I had to change my ways! I owed it to my family, myself and to all the other premmie babies out there who weren’t as lucky as I was..

I spent the next few months researching weightloss and recipes, tactics and exercises- I bought scales and books- I got everything as planned as I possibly could be so that my 27th bday (April 29 2011) would be my absolute last weekend of essentially killing myself… I’m a very planned person and had come to the conclusion that preparing myself as best I could, would be the best way to limit the number of excuses that could have me wavering.

May 2 2011- I begun. I had concluded that the easiest way to quit smoking was to stop drinking. The easiest way to eat more was to incorporate exercise and to not drink any calories. And that the easiest way to do all of this was to mark off baby steps along the way. Every day without fail.

It was hard. I’m not going to lie. I cried at times. I felt alone and felt that the world was against me. Family helped a lot- I couldn’t have done it without them. But it was not easy.
I missed bucks parties, I missed birthday parties, I missed free wine tasting events, my sisters bday! It devastated me. I had completely isolated myself from the world but knew that I had to. After all- a few months of isolation in order to turn my life around seemed fair. I lost friends (well people I thought were friends), I had hate mail sent to me, I put my job at risk (managing a wine tasting kiosk doesn’t look good if you refuse to taste wine!) but everything else was looking up. I was losing weight consistently, I wasn’t drinking or smoking and my “$10000 cc debt” was getting paid off quickly due to all my excess cash! 🙂
I chose to hang around ONLY those that were supportive and positive and chose to lose some friends who were bringing me down and getting in the way of my goal to be happy and healthy.
Slowly but surely I felt more comfortable in my body. People stopped asking me “why” I was doing what I was doing and started asking me “how the hell” was I doing it! It was an amazing feeling. People from my past were emailing me congratulatory messages. People around the work place continued their praises. And I felt a million bucks!!
I dropped 53kg in around 6 months. I didn’t touch a cigarette and only on two occasions (after the Sutherland to surf 11km run, and my first half marathon) did I have a glass of wine or a beer. Did I feel like I had “missed out”? Did I still feel alone and sad? Were there any more tears?Absolutely not!! This was the greatest I’d felt in my life and pride would ooze out of me!

I have now raised around $8000 over the three years for the Miracle Babies Foundation by running marathons and ultramarathons and participating in crazy made-up challenges like running 21 half marathons over 21 consecutive days! I love it!

I now run my own personal training business, I continue to run for the sheer joy of it and along the way found an amazing girl. An awesome athlete in her own right! Life started to happen when I made the change. Real happiness started. Things could not be better and I owe it all to making the decision to put my head down and get a job done. To dedicate myself to a specific goal and to not letting excuses get in the way.
As I said- there were a lot of tears and a lot of heart ache but I now know what true happiness is and I can’t stress enough how worth it it all is.
It sure as hell wasn’t easy but little goals that I could tick off every day certainly added up to something substantial over time. You just have to stay consistent. Be honest and true with yourself and one day soon, you, too, will experience true happiness.
Good luck and feel free to contact me for whatever reason whenever you like!

– Adam Keighran

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