We’re not always completely conscious of our choices in everyday life. If we’re not paying attention to what we’re doing and what our goals are, it’s easy to fall into a routine—one that might include habits that aren’t the best for our health.
This pattern can touch every aspect of our lives, whether it’s our relationships or our careers. As the massive dieting industry shows us, our physical appearance and our health is another one of these areas. Despite our best intentions, it sometimes takes some kind of external moment for us to want to make a big change.
That’s what happened to one man who was simply attending a soccer game with his friends.
Tim Hickman is a 23-year-old man from Darlington, England and a major fan of the Darlington Football Club.
Like any young man in the area, Hickman enjoyed going out to the bar with his friends and having a good time. As many of us probably know, however, that lifestyle is not great for our health if we’re not exercising and eating well. Everything came to a head for Hickman when he and his friends decided to go to a soccer game at Edgeley Park.
When they got to the entrance, Hickman had the embarrassing realization that he wouldn’t be able to fit through the turnstiles.
As Hickman explained it, that moment made him realize that he had to do something drastic.
In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, Hickman explained what was going through his mind at the time:
“It had happened at other grounds when I’d got stuck in the turnstiles so when I saw them I thought ‘there’s no way I can fit through there’ and asked if I could use the gate instead. It’s embarrassing having to go through a big gate like that and having to ask them to open it. You laugh it off but it’s a bit tragic really.”
Ultimately, it was a picture that his friends took of him coming through the larger gate that made him decide to make a change. After a few months, Hickman decided to try losing some weight by joining a gym and eating healthier.
At his heaviest, Hickman weighed approximately 320 pounds—though that soon changed.
After 10 months of steady dieting and exercise, Hickman was able to lose more than 80 pounds.
Just as the entire weight loss journey began with a soccer game, Hickman says the change also began with a soccer-related goal in mind:
“It took a few months for me to start trying to lose weight. I was looking at the football fixtures and saw we were playing Stockport again in April . . . It was spur of the moment but I thought ‘let’s do something’. That became my aim – to be able to get through the turnstile. I wanted to give it a go.”
When that moment finally came, all of his friends were standing by with a video camera.
After plenty of build-up and encouragement, Hickman rushes through the narrow gates and makes it through easily!
On the other side, his friends laugh and embrace him, cheering him on all his progress. Like true friends, they also couldn’t miss the opportunity to throw in a bit of a joke at his expense. “He used to be obese,” they chanted, “but he’s just fat now!”
For his part, Hickman says he knew the jokes were in good fun and that his journey wasn’t over.
In addition to local newspaper coverage, Hickman’s inspiring story also made it to the Daily Mirror—and is rapidly spreading online, as well.
Above all, Hickman’s story shows that the story is much less about physical appearance or a number of pounds lost than it is about confidence, health, and self-improvement. Though he knew it would be a challenging process, Hickman reminded himself to focus on small, incremental goals—and to still allow himself some treats every now and then. At the end of it all, he said he felt “much more confident” and thanked his friends for their support, new and old:
“They have all supported me which has motivated me to keep going. It’s nice when people who you don’t know very well comment on it too.”
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So ten months ago I decided that I needed to change my life after failing to fit through this turnstile, possibly one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. -6st 5lbs later and I think I might of smashed it?!
Posted by Tim Hickman on Saturday, April 28, 2018