Ballymacash Rangers boss sheds an amazing 11 stone
When you picture a football manager, you imagine a fit and healthy man, enthusiastically running along the sidelines yelling at his players. But that wasn’t always the case for Ballymacash Rangers manager Lee Forsythe.
The 37-year-old, who took over the reins at the Lisburn club last November, tipped the scales at over 25 stone and struggled on match day with headaches and dizzy spells.
All of that has changed now however, as Lee has shed an amazing 11 stone in just eight months, meaning he now has plenty of energy to lead the Lisburn team from the sidelines.
“I had always been big but when I got to my 20s I put on probably a stone every year,” explained Lee.
“In the last 10 years I was well into the 20-stones. The weight crept on and by the time lockdown came last year I was at least 25 stone. I say a minimum of 25 stone because the scales in my mum and dad’s house only went up to 25 stone. It took me 10 days of dieting before it would even register on the scales.
“It got to the point I couldn’t shop in stores, I couldn’t get clothes to fit me.”
While many people struggled with the isolation during lockdown during the last year, Lee put the months to good use and decided the time was right to focus on himself and weight loss.
It was a video of a training session with Ballymacash Rangers that gave Lee the wake up call he needed to finally take action.
“A guy at Ballymacash records matches and training sessions,” explained Lee. “I watched it back to see the players and what they were doing on the pitch but I saw myself on the video and it was embarrassing. I was waddling across the pitch and I was struggling to pick up a cone.
“I never really looked at myself too much and it was a real eye opener. I knew I had to do something about it.”
Lee had struggled with diets in the past and admitted he started a diet every Monday and it inevitably failed by the Tuesday. But this time was different. Lee took matters into his own hands and made his own decisions about food and exercise.
“For me, lockdown allowed me to work from home and it gave me the time to plan my meals and to cook fresh meals,” he explained.
“It’s great to have done it but I really haven’t done anything major. It has all been small changes every day and being consistent,
“People are asking me what’s my secret but I just ate sensibly, went out walking and did it every day. I started walking and had to sit down every few minutes. I built it up slowly and now I can run 5K.
“I avoided high carb foods like pasta and potatoes, ate more protein and kept my calories to 2000 a day.
“I saw the scales were dropping every day and that kept me going. It’s all about fewer calories and more work.
“There was no crazy science behind it, no expensive gym memberships or supplements.
“I have thrown away all of my old clothes and I am enjoying shopping in ‘normal’ shops. Going into Next and picking up a shirt is absolutely alien to me.
“I was on blood pressure medication for years and the dosage was just slowly increasing. I was on two separate blood pressure tablets and now I am off everything.”
Lee is feeling much better since shedding the weight and is a bundle of energy at the Ballymacash sidelines.
“I feel far stronger and far fitter. Now I can shout and bounce around the sideline no problem.”
Lee admits that he has always had a difficult relationship with food and says there is not enough support for people who struggle with an addiction to food.
“For me food is an addiction. I have a terrible relationship with food. It’s a borderline eating disorder.
“When you have a drug or alcohol addiction there’s a lot of help out there but when you are fat, people mock you and laugh at you.
“I have a thick skin and have no problem taking criticism but there is not enough support for people who struggle with food.
“I have been getting messages from people from all over the world, people who are broken, really pleading for help. I have had well over 100 messages from people who are desperate for help.”
By eating sensibly and walking every day, Lee has shed an incredible 11 stone in just eight months. But now the goal is to maintain the weightloss.
“It is a challenge for me now that things are retuning to normal,” he admits. “I worry now about maintaining my weight.
“Now that I’ve got to a weight I want to stay at, I don’t want to pile it all on again.
“I still feel like a fat guy. I have started eating more at the weekend, I have a Chinese, crisps or chocolate, and then on Monday I go back on the diet again. I have gotten into a routine over the last five or six weeks and it is going okay at the minute. It is hard but I’m hanging on.
“I think I will always have a bad relationship with food and I think it is something that will follow me my whole life. When I am stressed or worried I go to food. That is definitely my coping mechanism.”
Lee is delighted with his weight loss achievement and is keen to share his journey. “It has been amazing. I haven’t had any grand plans, it has just been one day at a time. Lockdown definitely gave me the time to look at things and I was locked away from temptations so I was able to focus on myself.
“There have been lots of positives but to be honest I would rather just win a football match!”