Like many of you, I come from Swansea which has problems with unemployment poverty, crime and drugs.
We didn’t have much money growing up and more people in my (surrounding) family went to prison than went to university – statistics eh!
I have over 50 cousins.
Family get togethers are always great fun.
Bootlegging a bit of vodka or whisky or selling a few “shell suits” was normal in our family.
Buying stuff on the cheap was a part of life, as was, asking for discounts or seeing if you knew anyone who could get whatever you needed cheaper.
(some of which I still do to this day).
Don’t get me wrong, my Mum and Dad brought us up well, spent every penny they had on us. They took me allover Britain to play rugby. Took us abroad.
When I was about the age of say 15 I was acutely aware of the lack of money so much so that if they gave out a form for a school trip, I would just put it in the bin because I knew what the response would be if I took it home
“sorry, we ain’t got it son”.
With all that said, there was always someone else who was so poor they made us look like we were loaded.
I’m not ashamed of any of this, having no money did me good in lots of ways.
Looking back I can see, the real trouble for me started after I left school and found new mates.
Don’t worry I ain’t done anything dodgy, or even got a criminal record, but in my younger days I was what you may call a “hell of a boy” or a “waster” – my mum would regularly say this one.
It was all my doing and I can’t blame my mates.
It was the usual stuff – too much partying and not enough sense to know any better.
We were all good guys, but just liked having a good time – a bit too much.
Now everyone likes a good time, but we would go out partying for days on end.
I stopped partying as I felt I had a bit of a double life.
I was a personal trainer and helped people get fit and healthy – but I was not practicing what I preached.
After about 5 years living this life, I looked like shit and felt like shit.
I hated myself.
I was weak, and shapeless.
I knew I was letting myself down and becoming someone I didn’t recognise – in my opinion a total idiot.
People wrote me off, and quite rightly so.
One christmas I decided enough was enough and I didn’t go out on New Years eve and went for a big long run on new years day, it was only 30 minutes and I was knackered!
I cut myself off from my friends and stayed in over the following months, hitting the gym and eating well.
I drifted away from the old gang over the next few years.
These days I don’t even go out, think I must have done enough drinking for a lifetime I reckon. I enjoy the odd bottle of beer on the weekend, but I’m pretty straight laced.
The message today is – never write yourself off.
You are not powerless, you can make a big turnaround, maybe even a dramatic one.
This applies to weight loss, fitness, nutrition.
It doesn’t matter where you come from or are right now, it only matters where you end up.
You can change, no matter how “messed up” you think you are or for however long you may of been like it.
Rich “Colourful Family” Clarke
PS – In this week’s podcast we discuss:
– Can you exercise with exercise induced asthma?
– Is it safe to stop taking omeprazole?
– How to get your family fit
– Why we can suffer with colds