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16 March 2018

Man sheds 70kg and becomes marathon runner – you won’t believe what he looks like now

“You’ll have ups and downs. It’s perfectly normal. Look at the big picture.”

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This public servant lost 70kg and became a marathon runner after he was told he might not live to see his son grow up.

Diogo Ferreira from Brasília in Brazil once weighed 160kg.

The 36-year-old suffered from high blood pressure, prediabetes, gallstones and sleep apnoea caused by obesity.

When his doctor told Diogo he could suffer a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years, he decided to lose weight so he could see his newborn son grow up.

Weight-loss surgery helped Diogo slim down to 90kg and it was then that running came into his life.

“When you get married you change your habits,” he said.

“You stop going out so many times. You’d rather be home with you wife having dinner or hanging out with other couples at restaurants.

“At some point I was studying a lot to pass an exam to become a public servant. So I was so focused on studying that it became my life. I guess food was a way to replace other pleasures.

“I started to eat a lot, and only fast and unhealthy food. At some point you just turn on the ‘screw it’ button and stop caring about your nutrition, your health and everything related to that.”

Diogo says even though he’d achieved everything he wanted he started feeling depressed.

PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“Year after year I promised to change my life and a few months after that I was doing everything wrong again.”

Diogo didn’t exercise and ate lots of fast food, sugar and fat. But since his weight loss everything has changed.

“When my wife was pregnant I started to think what kind of father I’d be to my son. Would I be able to play with him? Run with him? Teach him to ride a bike? Would he be ashamed of me? Would he see me as his hero?”

Now he exercises six times a week, runs and lifts weights and hopes to complete an Ironman challenge.

“I feel pretty good. My health is great, I’m my son’s superhero, and I can help other people go through the same process,” he added.

Diogo says it was only after the surgery that he started taking up running. He set three goals for the next six months: complete a 5km race, a 10km race and a half-marathon – and he accomplished all of them! 

“On July 2017 I became a marathon runner and now I’m looking for a new challenge. I did my first sprint triathlon last November.”

He says he also has a better relationship with food.  

“Food is no longer a replacement for anything because I found joy in other activities.”

Diogo explained the hardest thing about losing weight was making the decision to start.

He says the most important thing to establish before you start your journey is why you want to lose weight.

PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

“Everyone has a reason.

“It must be strong enough to keep you in line throughout your transformation. It’s going to be hard and you need to focus.”

He also says it’s important to set small goals because once you achieve them you’ll feel like you’re winning.

“Celebrate the small victories – they’re important. The big goals will help you see the entire process.

“Create a support network. In my case it’s my Instagram profile (@diogoferreirafit) where I post my training routine and my diet and get support from people all around the world.”

And understand that it’s not going to be easy.

“You’ll have ups and downs. It’s perfectly normal. Look at the big picture.”

 
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