In 2008 I was 200 kilos.
My name is Lance Garbutt and this is the story of how I found myself in that place, claimed back my life and the lifestyle I now live. I am 31-years old, living the life of a bucket lister and enjoying every moment of it but it wasn’t always this way.
My inspiration to live a bucket-list lifestyle came after I realised how much money I had saved after I stopped spending it on things that were not serving me. I wondered what possibilities the world could offer to help me enjoy my life. Virtually most of my life had been spent as a video gamer and paying no attention to the outside world.
What I liked about gaming was the opportunity it gave me to sit down and pull apart ideas and brainstorm things. The problem was everyone else was out there with real humans. One day a thought came up that I couldn’t stop dwelling on. What if one day I suddenly died and at the funeral no-one had anything to say about me, other than that I was a guy 'who played video games'. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be a man that left a legacy of a greater life, someone people would say had truly lived for every moment, inspired many people and helped a lot of others.
A robbery I experienced in my late teens plus long work hours had led me to shut myself away and get lost in gaming as some form of escapism. As the stress built up within, I developed acute stress disorder and then I escalated into depression. It made it impossible for me to work. My body was stuck in the robbery and the stress and fear of something like this happening again was too strong for me to cope being out in the world. So I stayed home on medication for over a year during which time my life morphed into that of a couch-surfer, eyes glued to the screen, drinking large amounts of soft drinks and scoffing takeaways. No one else existed around me. I lived in my own world.
That wake up call of thinking I could die this way with nothing to show for my life, got me to address the soft drink addiction. I was putting 30 to 40 litres of coke a week into my body and it was time for that to change. My father had just been diagnosed with diabetes and that got me wondering what my body was like on the inside. I had my blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol and vitamin levels checked. I needed to find out as much as I possibly could about where my body was at to propel me into taking action towards a better state of health.
Learning that my blood pressure was 162/132 made me come home and tip out all the bottles of coke. I was determined to make a change in my life and I needed that determination as coming off the sugar addiction gave me massive headaches for three weeks. I now know that sugary soft drinks are as addictive to the brain as cocaine.
Within a month, my blood pressure dropped dramatically. Nowadays my blood pressure is a lot better, down to 120/72, as I push my body to continue reaching new milestones towards a healthier lifestyle. From a guy who hadn’t touched a vegetable until the age of 27, I began to learn a lot about the importance of eating natural healthy food.
My lifestyle changed gradually: first soft drinks went for good. I have only drunk water for the past 5 years. I adapted to eating healhily, bringing more fruit and vegetables into my diet and reducing the amount of food intake and then I began exercising. I started walking, then jogging and soon after running. You don’t have to be the fittest person in the world, you don’t have to have the perfect body, you just have to start and that’s enough. A lot of people who start from a place of not having done any exercise, or who are overweight think that there is no point starting as they will be judged by others if they start running their body in public. I want you to remember that by getting out there you’re doing more than the people sitting on the couch at home and it doesn’t matter if you come last in a charity run – just do it! The rewards you get and the endorphins you feel from exercising are worth it! Exercise is one of the best treatments for depression.
There have been a lot of personal challenges and roadblocks I have faced while pushing my body to live healthier. You can go from feeling strong and amazing through to feeling angry and upset, frustrated and struggling all in one day as you take your body past its comfort zone, to places way outside its reach. The key is to be kind to yourself on the journey. Some days are better than others.
Getting off the couch and focusing on living a life checking off my bucket list has been amazing for me. I have 15,000 things on that list I would like to achieve and in the last 5 or so years I have completed some 3,000 of them. From all the money I saved from not spending it on unhealthy food, I have been able to have incredible adventures. These are just a few of the things I have done in the last few years, I have ridden a helicopter and landed at the top of the Peaks of both glaciers in Southern New Zealand, become an author and written a book, I have run an all night ultra-marathon of 55 kilometres in 12 hours and will be doing another one of those soon. I’ve given out free hugs in the main street of Melbourne, run face forward abseiling down an 8-story building, traversed caverns and pushed my body through caves the size of a steering wheel.
I have parasailed high above the Sydney harbour, gone jet-packing in Penrith, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the top of a Crows Nest of a huge ship and put up the sails. I have explored so many countries in Europe and Asia. I have walked the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, swum with dolphins, and had animal encounters with tigers, lions, bears and even a komodo dragon.
Living my life outside of the world of video games has got me to see the beauty in the world and in other people. A lot of people are interested in my story and I like engaging with the world. I met my wife Nicole after I began this bucket list journey. I knew we were onto something when she told me that she hated snakes, but still agreed to go on a date with me where we would be holding a great python. She continues to support me in my journey and joins me on my adventures.
My weight loss has been dramatic from 200kg down to 140kg. I have not only lost kilograms, but so much emotional baggage as well. I have stayed around 140kg for a while now but I am choosing not to get discouraged by that. This life project will take all the time it needs. Weight loss is a goal for many people and all the feelings that you can suffer with from being overweight won’t vanish overnight with a new body, but from learning self worth through diet, exercise and perseverance. What I have found is that attitude definitely takes a turn for the better when you move your body and go out and meet life.
To check out more about Lance and his bucket list click here