In 2018, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes after visiting the doctor with a few concerns I had about not feeling OK within myself. At the time, I was weighing around 18 stone and had a BMI of around 35, making me clinically obese. I knew I was overweight but I didn't realise how much it was impacting on my health.
Several months later and after making some big changes to my diet, I ended up reversing the diagnosis, effectively meaning I was in remission after my HbA1c results were below the threshold which classed me as being diabetic. I still have to take these tests every year but so far, I have stayed below the threshold.
In early 2019, I co-founded Jacqd with a friend and work colleague. Our aim was to build a brand that could rival a rising star in the fitness industry, after being inspired by their success story. Due to work and family commitments, we stopped short of launching just before the end of the year and the project was effectively placed on hold.
By the end of May 2020, I was weighing 256 lbs. I was now a father of two young daughters and my wedding day was just over 4 months away. Out of fear of not being around to raise my daughters and not wanting to look like an egg on my wedding photos, I set myself a target to lose 53 lbs by October 3rd.
By August 10th, I had lost 30 lbs and was in line with my weekly target of losing 3 lbs every week. I only had 23 lbs left to lose and just over 7 weeks left to do it.
A few weeks later, I was inspired to revisit the launch of the brand and after a discussion with my co-founder, I ended up buying his share of the company, making myself the sole owner, which allowed me to have full creative control and bring my new found vision for the brand to life.
Where Jacqd was once intended as a carbon copy of a rising star, I came to realise that they did not represent who I was as an individual or my journey from fat to fit.
They represented young, amateur bodybuilders, who have likely never been overweight or even obese. People who could never understand the hard work needed to transform from being obese to healthy or the psychological pressure to conform with what society demands we should look like.
Their models are young, confident, heavily muscular and toned, and simply do not represent what the average gym user looks like. They may look like what people may aspire to be like, but the reality is that as an overweight middle aged father and working professional, I would likely never look like that and other people like me would not either, as we simply do not have the time.
With this in mind, I wanted to create a brand that represented people like me and have shared a similar journey to me. A brand that represented the average gym user who wants to work on their fitness for a healthier lifestyle and to feel better about themselves both physically and psychologically, with the absence of ego.