Profile Series: Thomas Moore - Slimming Down and Grinning Proud
Tom is a Project Manager, his wife works in the NHS and together they have 4 lovely children. Tom has worked in construction for 14 years and before this was an on-site carpenter so has always lived a fairly active life. However, as he moved into a project manager role within construction, his everyday life became less physical. This was the very beginning of his battle with his weight.
Tom came into his love of cycling as a youngster being inspired by former pro cyclist and Olympian Chris Boardman, he was determined to be on a bike one way or another. His family couldn't afford a road bike but he still rode on his child bike with his mates! He carried on riding throughout his childhood but as many do he stopped once life as an adult began.
Fast forward to adulthood, Tom met his wife and they built a family. Heartbreakingly, his youngest was diagnosed with a heart issue so, in June 2015 he decided to get back on his bike and ride from London to Brighton with a group of mates to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. A huge challenge of riding 54 miles on a road bike after 15 years! He managed to push through the pain and complete, raising £12,000 overall. A week before the ride, he posted on the Fat Lad At The Back forum telling people about his plans and asking the community to come and take a selfie with him if they saw him on the ride. As a true reflection of this amazing community around 10-15 people stopped for selfies with him!
After this he eased off for about 18 months, he decided to do a few sportives here and there but ultimately lost some momentum with his riding. He became really fed up with not losing weight, riding helped but he still didn't know what he could do to shred the weight and it was beginning to get him down. At 27 stone, he felt like he had no other option but to seek help from his GP. It was clear that actions needed to be pretty drastic so his GP prescribed a very specific diet for him. He was put on a 10-week diet of milk! Having all the nutrients he needed and being good for hydration, milk was deemed the best thing to prescribe by his GP. He was only allowed to consume 3 pints milk each day and sugar free jelly for the first 8 weeks and for the last 2 weeks he went down to 2 pints of milk a day alongside a 400 calorie meal. At about week 4 of the milk diet he felt like he had so much energy and so headed back out on his bike. Over the course of 7 weeks he managed to lose an incredible 7 stone!
After this dramatic weight loss, it sparked a fire of motivation inside him and had rekindled his love for being on his bike so, he decided to sign up for the 100-mile London to Surrey bike ride. He trained incredibly hard to get to 100 miles, getting up and out at 5.30am at times to make sure he got his training in. "I trained my arse off to get to it" he declared. He managed to get to the big day to put all his hard work in to action. 80 miles down and there was an accident on the track which meant he was unable to complete the last two hills and unable to complete the 100 miles he was fixated on. Although the 80 miles he'd done were an incredible achievement he couldn't quite leave it and was so determined to achieve that 100-mile badge. He was gutted! So he signed up for the tour of Cambridgeshire to get it.
Since his weight loss he has managed to inspire many people and has actually helped 6 people get on a bike and lose weight themselves, which just shows the power of his determination and spirit.
Tom expressed how staying focused on everything that he was trying to achieve was his biggest challenge throughout his journey. He faced a lot of negative comments at the start of his prescribed diet and it hit him hard but he described how it only fuelled his determination even more. He became aware of his peers' disdain at him slowing down the cycling group all the time. There were some things said that really got to him and he felt like he couldn't be part of a community anymore. He used this to motivate him even more to get out on his own. He would set himself pretty unrealistic targets on his bike, ones that people would tell him he couldn't achieve and yet, he did.
It wasn't just the negative comments that fuelled him though, being a road cyclists he always wanted to look and feel the part of the cyclists community but being the size he was he felt he could never be. Until his friend recommended Fat Lad At The Back where he found a huge community of cyclists all like him that he could be a part of. The FLAB clothing allowed him to feel comfortable to get out on his bike. He instantly felt comfortable and looked the part and that was really important for him.
"A lot of people laugh and joke about wearing Lycra but you have to feel comfortable on your bike."
What's your favourite piece of advice you've ever received/your personal mantra?
I often think about the negative comments said about me and that really drives me forward. I love to prove them wrong and use it as fuel for my achievements. I think my personal mantra would be 'winter miles = summer smiles'. The harder you work in the winter the faster and more powerful you become in the summer.
Huge thanks to Tom for opening up to us and sharing his journey with the battles of weight-loss and barriers cyclists face trying to be part of the community. Follow his journey on Instagram @tomsjourney1510.