Brendan Reid: The Fat Ginger Nerd
Brendan Reid isn’t shy about starting the conversation on nutrition and lifestyle by sharing his life story. When he was born in 1978, he admits he was a big baby of nine pounds and six ounces. In the 80s he was one of the fat kids in his school. According to him, he “stood out like a sore thumb” and kids called him names.
While Brendan knew that there was something visibly wrong with him, he didn’t completely understand what it was. There was also “no shortage of advice” and he had people who wanted to help him. However, the advice was all about “eating less and moving more”. There were a lot of aerobic exercises on TV and skipping rope exercise campaigns. But none of that worked for him.
Even as a child, he made attempts to lose weight by trying to eat healthily. He shares that back then, healthy foods were those that were low in fat. He also tried playing rugby and cricket and other outdoor sports. However, he just couldn’t keep up and drifted apart from sports and eventually friends.
The first appointment with a dietitian
Brendan was 12 when he first had an appointment with a dietitian from the local hospital. He was hopeful that he would finally get the advice that he needed. The dietitian introduced him to the “healthy food pyramid”, pointing out that he was too fat because he was eating too much of the wrong food. He was advised that he had to get rid of whatever it was that was making him fat and to eat fruit, vegetables and grains instead. However, he still gained weight.
Working as a radio announcer
After school, Brendan worked for seven to eight years as a radio announcer for different stations. He thought it was the “perfect job for someone in [his] position.” Brendan was already “horribly overweight” by late high school. So he sought comfort in hiding away in a radio studio as his voice was the only thing needed. However, he eventually got into a breakfast show and his public profile slowly grew. He shares that many were then surprised and “undoubtedly disappointed” at his appearance, while they never stated it.
Over the years, his weight continually crept up and he “never lost weight at all in my life.”
Road to change
It was sometime in 2000 that Brendan heard about the Atkins diet. But he initially avoided it after hearing experts say that it was “crazy, dangerous, it’ll kill you.” A few years later, he heard about how sugary drinks were not good and decided to quit soft drinks. For the next five to six months, Brendan lost five kilos, which was “the first time in my life that [he’d] lost any weight.”
In 2015, he lost another 5 kilos and decided on joining a gym. However, Brendan was surprised when the gym owner told him that the gym wasn’t what he really needed. He instead recommended a website, the “The Real Meal Evolution”, which Brendan found similar to the Atkins diet. Initially, Brendan was upset and couldn’t reconcile the idea of the Atkins diet.
But eventually, he gave it a shot.
He searched for resources, videos and books, papers, journals – everything he could get his hands on.
Today, Brendan is still figuring out how to use his new-found freedom when it comes to life. Things as simple as shopping for clothes, travelling overseas, going to concerts and generally living a life he didn’t expect to after loosing over 50 kgs.