In this episode I interview executive coach, transformation specialist and international speaker Chris Tibbetts. Massively overweight and faced with the prospect of just six months to live, he turned his life around and went on to lose over 100kg – transforming his life expectancy in the process. Ten years on, he now helps others to be in the best shape both physically and mentally. This is a raw and honset account of the ebbs and flows of a battle with emotional eating, and an inspiration for listeners facing into seemingly impossible odds.
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Chris Tibbetts 0:00
“You’re going to have to make some serious changes to your life otherwise you’re not going to see your 50th birthday.” I was, “Alright”, I think it was 10 years away. Typical doctor, being overdramatic. I said, “Okay doc, no problem.” So I then came back three days later and this was the start of my Unlock Moment Gary. I walked in. And normally you have to enter this data on the form and the receptionists don’t know who you are. And you tried to speak to know, they’re obviously very busy, and very professional. I walked in and she says, “Ah yes, Mr. Tibbets.” I said, “Yes?” She says, “The doctor’s waiting for you, and he’s in consultation room one or zero, he’s on the ground floor, it’s on the ground floor.” I think, That’s not his normal room. And he’s waiting for me? A doctor has never, ever been waiting for me for an appointment. You’ll know Gary, doctors are never waiting for you. And receptionists never greet you and shepherd you into the room. So again, Right, this is odd. So I walk in and basically he says, “Take a seat.” He said, “You know our last conversation?” I said, “Yes doc?” He says, he said, “You’ve got, I give you sort of ten years to change your life?” he says. “Yep.” He says, “I give you six months,” he says, “If you don’t make radical changes, you’ll be dead, you won’t see your 40th birthday. In fact, you could die at any point now.”
Gary Crotaz 1:29
My name’s Dr. Gary Crotaz. And I’m a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I’m in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound that they remember vividly where they were, who they were with, what they were thinking when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I’ll be meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things or brought about significant change in their life, and you will be meeting them with me. We’ll be finding out what inspired them, how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello dear listener, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. In today’s very special interview, I’m joined by executive coach, transformation specialist and international speaker, Chris Tibbetts, who has lost over 100kg, that’s 220 pounds, battling an overeating disorder and mental health issues. He now helps others to be in the best shape, both physically and mentally. Chris and I met many years ago before he embarked on his journey of change. And then re-connected a couple of years ago when he told me all about what’s happened since – I was blown away. Physical wellness and mental resilience are topics I’m passionate about. And I don’t know many people who bring them to life with as much honesty and authenticity. Chris, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Unlock Moment.
Chris Tibbetts 3:10
Thank you very much for having me, Gary. Yes, I do remember working those many long hours together all those years ago. And yes, and then reconnecting recently, it was just great and thank you for inviting me on the podcast.
Gary Crotaz 3:25
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being here. So to get us started, tell, tell me a little bit about what you were like when you were growing up? And what was the, what was the journey for how your weight started first to get out of control?
Chris Tibbetts 3:37
I’ve done a lot of work on myself, as you’d understand. And I’ve managed to trace my beginning of my eating disorder back to probably about nine years old. And this is going to sound a really sad story, but it’s not. My brother had a road traffic accident and he broke his neck and ended up with a spinal injury. And almost overnight, obviously my mum and dad’s focus had to be on his wellbeing. So I was very kindly put into the care of my brother’s best friends, our family friends, and for sort of six months I lived with them. Now, the, this, the woman, Barbara, the most amazing, caring, loving woman in the world. But her way of dealing with things was food. So if you were happy, she’d bake. If you were sad, she’d cook. And that was the thing. So again, I had this very traumatic incident. And the linkage was food. And she’s a very wonderful, loving woman. Typical, she’s about five foot nothing, always wore a pinny and a housecoat. Typical sort of late 70s, early 80s housewife as you’d describe it, but she was amazing. But she also had some habits, that you always cleared your plates. You always did this. But, so I understood it from then. Then obviously with my brother having his accident and my parents’ focus being on them, again I have no, there’s no bad, there’s no nothing, challenge there. But I found comfort in the bakery. So I’d go to the woman in the bakery to get a connection, to get adult connection, to get, you know, solace. And the cakes were good. Or I’d go to a fish and chip shop. So, but when you’re 10, 11, it doesn’t really matter because I was out all day playing, I was busy burning calories, it wasn’t a problem. But I can look back now and see that there was a connection, I only, I found connection and love and support in food. And I sought it with people. Then as I grew up, I played a lot of sport, had a very healthy appetite. My biggest challenge with weight came when I was 17. And I got injured, I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in my knee. And almost overnight, I’d gone from playing rugby five times a week, training three times a week, going to the gym, to not be able to anything. But at 17, I also found alcohol, I found food. So I was still consuming everything I was doing before, but I had no outlet for it. So surprise, surprise, I started to put weight on. And then I got recovered, got a bit healthier, but I never had that drive to do sport I used to have. So I’d put a bit of weight on, obviously by moving a bit more I lost weight. Then I moved away. And then throughout my life, I met my first wife, who was a feeder. I put weight on, then every time we had a child, I sort of lost week, cos I thought I had that, Oh I’ve got to be a dad now, I’ve got to be healthy, and I lose weight for that. And throughout my sort of 30s, I would yo-yo diet between, every time I had a child I put weight on, lose weight. But I was always big. And that was it really, it’s all sort of, you know, I got to sort of 30s, I just yo-yo’ed. I would lose weight, put it on, lose weight, put it on.
Gary Crotaz 7:08
And describe where you were at when you were at your heaviest.
Chris Tibbetts 7:12
So once I, I suppose I lost my last load, last significant amount of weight probably in the early 2000s when we had my daughter. Lost weight for that, and I did really well. And then over time I started to put weight back on. And then throughout my 30s I left a, I went to work for myself. And it’s the corporate world, obviously started working on projects with the likes of yourself, Gary. And I had the combined, combination of travel, stress and boundless amounts of money to buy food whenever I wanted to buy food. And that was my sort of response was, I would comfort eat, I’d stress eat, you know, it was, sort of gave me sort of protection. And comfort. At that point my marriage was sort of deteriorating as well. And I was in a very sort of toxic relationship. So actually, food then became even more of a sort of comfort for me. And I never saw myself, you know, as big as I thought I was.
Gary Crotaz 8:16
And how heavy were you at your peak?
Chris Tibbetts 8:18
At my peak I tipped the scales at 34 stone, 210 kilos. Yeah. Plus, maybe it was. It was a lot.
Gary Crotaz 8:34
210 kilos. That’s, that’s 460 pounds. That’s a body mass, body mass index over 50, I think you were.
Chris Tibbetts 8:40
Oh, yeah, easily. Yeah, easily.
Gary Crotaz 8:44
And that was impacting, I mean obviously, from a weight perspective that was impacting your health. How did it feel for you to be that weight? What were the issues that you were dealing with?
Chris Tibbetts 8:55
It’s, when I look back, or at the time I was kidding myself, I used to sort of like say, Well, I play golf every day. So I’m okay. I’m sort of, but everything was difficult. You know, getting clothes was difficult. Getting in and out of cars was difficult. Travelling on trains was difficult. Flying, you know, was, you know, if I flew Ryanair or EasyJet, I had to buy two seats, because there’s no way I’d fit in a normal seat. So yeah, everything was just harder. You know, but to me, it was almost like my weight was a suit of armour. It was to protect me from my terrible marriage and also to protect myself from any sort of, gave me sort of a sense of bravado, a sense of, you know, fill the room, I was a big, you know, could be a big character. And it’s like, so it’s just a protective need. But in terms of health, I was just, just struggling, just getting by I think, and it wasn’t until I went on holiday, well, when my business trip to Dubai and I had sort of breathing difficulties and all the other things that then made me think, ooh, perhaps, perhaps I need to get myself sorted. But I used to kid myself I’m okay. I never saw myself as the person the size I was.
Gary Crotaz 10:05
And we’re here to talk about the this idea of an Unlock Moment, a moment of remarkable clarity when you suddenly figured out the path ahead. Tell me about that meeting with a doctor.
Chris Tibbetts 10:17
Yeah, so we’ve been on a trip to Dubai, a business trip, and a sort of golfing trip. And because there’d been a problem with the hotels, my business partner and myself had to share room for a night. And in that night, you know, woke up the next morning, and he just stared at me and said, I’m never doing that again. I was like, Why? He says, Well, he says the noise you made was just, was horrific. I says, What, I don’t use snore. He said, No it wasn’t snoring, it was almost like a noise from sort of like, a zombie movie. This constant sort of deep rumbling of breathing, he says, but the problem is, you know, if that wasn’t bad enough, when you weren’t making that noise, you weren’t breathing! And I thought you were dead about three times because you just weren’t breathing! And I was like, Okay, you know, sort of bit of a shock, especially when someone close to you says that to you. So I came back from the trip, I thought, well, I’m 39, I’m coming up to 40, perhaps I should get myself checked out. And basically went to go and see the GP, who’s a good friend of mine, we played rugby together, and walked into see him. And he’s looked at me and he says, Hi Tibbsy, you’re looking well, which is obviously a doctor’s euphemism for You’ve put weight on. And I said, Oh, I explained the story. He says, Oh well, let’s go see what the damage you’ve done to yourself is. I said, Okay then. And so he said, So just step on the scales. So I stepped on them. And basically, they were those Salter ones that go around to I think 26 or 28 stone. I stood on it, the dial went round, and then didn’t move. So I basically broke the scales. And he looked at me and he says, Did you know they’re brand new? And do you know how expensive they are? I was like, Well, alright doc, sorry! He says, Right, okay. Well, it says we’ve obviously got a problem there. And then there was a seat, the normal, traditional doctor’s seat. He says, Take a seat. And I couldn’t get into it, I was sort of like trying to wedge myself into it. He was like going, I think you just need to go and, we need to run some tests. He says, Look, you know, looking at the size of you, looking at that, he says, you know, let’s go and get some blood tests and give you some things, and he says and then when you’re at the hospital, they’ve got a seat you can sit on and we can get an accurate weight for you. I went, Okay, no problem. He says, So come back and see me in a week and we’ll see what what the damage is. So I sort of came back the following week, saw him and he said, Take a seat. No joviality, just take a seat, so I took a seat. This time, it was a slightly wider one. The old Jeremy Kyle Show, they used to have slightly wider seats for the larger characters. So I had a wider seat so I could sit down. And he said, Right, we haven’t got all your tests results in, but he says, The first initial markers are, you know, you’re borderline diabetic, you’ve got high blood pressure, you’ve got high cholesterol. He says, You’ve got this marker, this marker, you know, Basically, he goes, It’s a miracle that you’re still walking. He says, But, he says, you know, you’ve got something that you should have all of these challenges, he says, but I’ve sent some more tests away for some more analysis because some we weren’t sure with. I said, Okay, no problem. He says, You can come back, they’ll be back in a couple of days, make an appointment for three days’ time. He says, But, I said, I’m looking at you, I’m looking at you now. He says, Look, if you, you’re going to have to make some serious changes to your life otherwise you’re not going to see your 50th birthday. I think, That’s 10 years away. Typical doctor, being overdramatic. I said, Okay doc, no problem. So I then came back three days later, and this was the start of my Unlock Moment Gary. I walked in. And normally you have to enter this data on the form and the receptionists don’t know who you are. And you try to speak to them, you know, they’re obviously very busy and very professional. I walked in, and they said, Ah yes, Mr. Tibbetts! I said, Yes? She says, The doctor’s waiting for you. And he’s in consultation room one, or zero, it’s on the ground floor, it’s on the ground floor. I think, That’s not his normal room? And he’s waiting for me? A doctor has never, ever been waiting for me for an appointment. You’ll know Gary, doctors are never waiting for you! And the receptionists never greet you and shepherd you into the room. So again, ooh, this is a bit odd. So I walk in. And basically he says, take a seat. He said, You know our last conversation? I said, Yes doc? He says, You’ve got, I give you sort of like 10 years to change your life? He says, I give you six months. He says, If you don’t make radical changes, you’ll be dead, you won’t see your 40th birthday. In fact, you could die at any point, now, from the stats. He’d looked at my oxygen levels and looked at all these sort of things, he says, you know, You could die at any point. He says, So you really need to make some radical changes to your lifestyle. And I said, Right, okay. And at this point I didn’t actually think about myself, I was thinking, Oh, what about what about my mum and my brother, my business partner, my kids, my wife. It didn’t actually hit me, of that I was thinking, oh, what about everybody else? What are they going to do? How am I going to deal with this for them? And just at that point, he’s started like, writing, so I’ve got this drug, this drug, this drug, this dietician, this. I says, Look, doc, says, What can I do so I don’t have to have all these drugs? If I don’t pull it off, I don’t mind, you know, I’ll quite happily take whatever drugs. He says, Basically, in four weeks, you’re going to have to have lost basically two stone. I was like going, Hm, okay, doesn’t sound very healthy to me. But hey, you know, I said, Okay. He says, If you don’t lose, you’ve got to show a determination that you’re going to lose weight. So I went, Okay, no problem doc, I can do that. Because don’t forget, I’ve had a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. I knew all the diets out there. So I resorted to my traditional diet of cornflakes and tuna fish and mashed potato. I’m obviously at 34 stone, if you go from eating, well probably about 4 or 5,000 calories a day to about 1,500, 2,000, you’re going to lose weight. So I lost weight. Obviously, not very healthily. Came back, saw him. He says, Look, okay, you’ve shown you can do it. You’ve shown that you’ve got the determination. He says, I don’t agree with the method you’ve done so perhaps we just need to get some help. So I had some conversation with dieticians and, and other people who said, But you shown you can do this. So I started to make that change. But the biggest change I was making at this point was realising that actually, my environment wasn’t right for me. There was a lot of things that was creating my desire to eat. And that was the first time I probably started to realise it.
Gary Crotaz 17:07
And what was the transition from hearing that news that you could die at any time, to really internalising what that means for you, and you having to make change? Was that immediate? Or did it take some time for you to get your head around that?
Chris Tibbetts 17:23
I think the knowing I need to make change was almost immediate. But that the, again, when you have something like this happen, you can make these drastic changes, you can always make change. You know, it’s like, I was given a very powerful why? I think the problem was I didn’t believe it enough. I was almost like, like throughout my life, I was just going, I’ll do enough and I’ll get by. I’ll do that, you know, I’ll get rid of this problem. I’ll just throw all my effort at it. And I’ll solve the problem. It wasn’t until I started having some success, and I started losing weight and I started to feel a bit more happier about myself. And then I realised there’s a lot of contributing factors to why you know I was doing, because almost overnight Gary I became single-focused, single-minded on the fact that what I ate. I didn’t let anything interfere with me, I didn’t know anything sort of distract me. You know, wherever I went, I was, I was almost on it, I was planned, I was structured. And that was great. But I almost knew that wasn’t going to serve me for the rest of my life. It was going to do me for a period of time. And for me, the sort of second Unlock Moment was I then started working away in London, which is great because I had more control. I rented a flat, I was the only, I was the only person responsible for what I ate. And, but when I used to come home at weekends, it was almost like people were sabotaging me.
Gary Crotaz 18:48
And what was the thing that was motivating you to make this a fundamental change that was going to happen and was going to stick, in a way that hadn’t happened before when you were yo-yo’ing? What was, what changed for that?
Chris Tibbetts 19:03
I think for me this time, I’m always sort of reigniting my enjoyment of exercise, because I’d sort of, to begin with I lost weight by just walking. And then I lost enough weight, and then being in London I had access to a gym, there was a gym below each of the flats where I lived. So I could actually just have that sort of confidence of, of I want to improve myself, I want to do things, I wanted to get back to the, the sort of 17-year-old athlete again. And that, that enjoyment of training, that enjoyment of exercise and, and having a sort of passion and that sort of spurred on, that’s what’s sort of the difference in it. And, you know, almost for the first time in my life doing things for myself.
Gary Crotaz 19:43
And initially on that journey you were pretty successful in, in losing a significant amount of weight?
Chris Tibbetts 19:49
Yeah, I was very successful. I sort of, I think I dropped down to about 19 stone, so if you imagine 15 stone weight loss is quite impressive, and then I’m quite tall so even at sort of 19 stone, because I was working out a lot, I still, don’t get me wrong, I still had fat. But I’ve been working out. So I was a lot healthier, I was a lot better, you know, and I didn’t have as much fat. So, you know, I’d lost a significant amount of weight, but not down to what the lowest I went to. But it was a massive change. And it made me feel more confident and self-assured.
Gary Crotaz 20:24
When did it become clear that you needed to regain that control? When, when did it come clear that you that you’d lost that?
Chris Tibbetts 20:31
Again for about five years… So if you imagine in, was it 2012, 2011? They told me that… no, no. So yeah, in 2011 I was told I had sort of like six months live. In 2012 I was 40. For the next five years, I basically went from about 18 stone up to about 26 stone. I sort of had a, I had three wardrobes, I had a Thin Wardrobe, I had a Putting A Bit Of Weight On and I had my I’ve Put All My Weight Back On. So I had three wardrobes, and again, because they were there, you gradually just, Oh, these trousers are a bit tight, I’ll put these ones on. So you just sort of like didn’t really notice it so much. And it wasn’t until sort of five years into, this would have been about 2016, I left, I got headhunted and joined National Express. And then a year into that, I had a breakdown. And my food, my eating, had got completely out of control. And I was a functioning person who was, you know, dealing with stress, but I, you know, I had a meltdown. And then we’d won an award. And there was a photograph of me winning this award. And basically the photo of the guy who was on the aeroplane in 2011, who was about to die, the, that was almost like the same person who was looking at me again, that same look in the eyes, that same feeling, that same, you know, and I realised that actually I’d sunk back to those levels, the weight had come back on, I’d got out of control, and I realised I had to do something because I wasn’t going to diet or work my way out of this one. I had to address, I had a problem. And the underlying moment I went to, something crazy, I went to a Starbucks in Shrewsbury of all places, don’t ask me why I went there. I had no connection with them. I basically, I was living in Sandbach at the time, got to Crewe. I was actually, oh, go to office in Birmingham. No, I don’t want to go to Birmingham. I looked at the departures, where’s there… oh Shrewsbury, oh I’ll just go there. Don’t ask me why. Shows my mental state at the time. And went into Starbucks. And I ordered my cinnamon swirl and my caramel macchiato. And basically, I can’t tell you what happened for four hours of my life. I lost four hours completely. But next minute, I’m thinking, four hours passed. I’ve obviously drank the coffee and at the cinnamon swirl, but I’ve got, it’s a complete blank. And I thought, Right. I need to get some help. I need to just nip this in the bud and, and find out what’s going on. And I tried, you know, nutritional, I went to a clinic. But like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, I broke out of there, didn’t like that. Didn’t do, didn’t like the group therapy, didn’t like the individual therapy. I’ve used it since for other things. And it’s great, but I just didn’t do it. So a friend of mine suggested going to Overeaters Anonymous, I was like going, never heard of that. I’ve obviously heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and the others, but never heard of that. So he says, No go to it. And I went to it and whilst, whilst I don’t fully agree with all of it, it saved my life. Just by following this process, by following steps, by actually accepting that I had a problem and accepting that I needed to deal with it. And that it’s my problem. And I’ve got to own it. And I’m responsible for this. And this, by giving over to higher power, that’s going to say, to take that responsibility, was really important. But you know, this whole sense of renewal, this whole sense of apologising for actions and accepting, and, it was really important to me, because I’ve been through this process. And in the end that was my starting point in my journey.
Gary Crotaz 24:26
And I think that’s a really powerful part of your story that this is not at the beginning of the journey. It’s not, you know, you’d made very significant practical changes to your lifestyle, you’d lost a huge amount of weight. But it wasn’t sticking. And there was a point where you recognised and started to act on the fact that there was an addiction going on and lots of other elements around, and starting to find people that can help you who, who also, you know, have experience in that space and get it. And we’ve talked about it before that the mix of people around you, both, you know, medical professionals, but also people who’ve had that experience. And I think that’s a really, that’s really important for you in terms of enabling you to switch from up and down to something that sustains over time.
Chris Tibbetts 25:19
Gary Crotaz 25:20
And what did, what did it feel like being in a room with other people who had been through, or were going through the same thing as you?
Chris Tibbetts 25:27
It was almost comforting. It was almost as sort of like, you’re not on your own anymore. And that was the biggest struggle I found is that I couldn’t explain to people my feelings because most people will say, Well, just don’t eat it. You know, my wife bless her. She’s amazing, but she’s like, but just don’t eat it. Why would you do that? If you didn’t want it? Don’t eat it. Or if you want to eat it, eat it. But it’s like, well, yeah, but that doesn’t work for me. You know, I’m, I’m wired in a different way. You know, I, if I see that, I don’t care if I’m full. I’ll eat the second pizza, I’ll eat the third pizza. Even if it’s making me ill, you know. Because I just can’t stop and getting, being in a room with people, people saying the same things. Almost you know for the first couple of meetings. I just didn’t say a word. I just listened. I was like, Oh, my God, there’s somebody saying, I’m not on my own. And there’s other people who struggled. What was interesting is, for me, which shocked me completely as a big guy as I was, the sponsor I actually hired was anorexic, she’s a recovering anorexic, I’m thinking, How on earth can you at sort of seven stone understand me at 30 stone. And it was a complete, but she did. And she understood because she said it’s about the addiction, it’s not you know, mine was I wasn’t going to eat, yours is you want to eat. But it’s still the same driving behaviours, it’s still the same process that you deal with, it’s still the same lies you’re telling. There’s just, there’s just a different way around.
Gary Crotaz 26:45
And so when you look at your, your life and your routine now and the things you have in place to, to, to be where you are now and to sustain that over time, what does that look like? What are the things that you’re doing that, that are different now from before?
Chris Tibbetts 27:03
I think, you know, one is having a sort of routine, although I did have a routine till I was ill, I’ll sort of take aside, but I still use some of the principles. So I still journal daily, it was really important for me to ask myself a series of questions in the morning, and a series of questions in the evening about, you know, what, what am I looking to achieve? How am I achieving them? Then gratitude, you know, really focus on being grateful for one being alive and grateful for the people around me and showing that and almost giving, not to expect to get anything back was the biggest thing. I want to give things. I don’t expect anything back. If you get something back, that’s great. But when you have that attitude, quite often, you get an abundance of things back to you by not expecting anything. Meditation, you know meditation is an important part of of my life now. And I spent a lot of time working with an Ishaya monk on this to understand this, to understand this stillness, this quietness, this calming my mind down. And then I use sort of breathing techniques, again, similar to that. But again, the sort of cold water, cold therapy again, is really quite important for just allowing myself to reconnect. So I’m almost taking control of my life, because I think they’re just really important to me.
Gary Crotaz 28:17
And where are you today in terms of weight and health and so on?
Chris Tibbetts 28:21
I’m probably, I’m still, I put a little bit of weight on because I stopped training, because I got injured, but you know what, I’m comfortable with that, I’m happy. You know, I’m probably just, probably about half a stone heavier than I’d like to be. But I’m not bothered by it. The thing is, I very rarely weigh myself now anymore. That’s the challenge, I just don’t weigh myself but I think when I did, I was like about, you know, because then I’ve been ill, I’ve been, had COVID, like everyone else has. And I hadn’t had the activity levels I’ve had. So that’s fine. And I know I’ll change, I can either eat less and I’ll lose weight or I can just go back to be more active. But in effect, I’m comfortable. I have no binge urges. I have no, you know I haven’t slipped back to being an overeater, I’ve, I’ve sort of found that level comfortable place I’m in.
Gary Crotaz 29:13
And in this constant battle for you to stay in that place, it’s not something you can sort of forget about? You have to stay on top of it.
Chris Tibbetts 29:22
Every single day, every single day. So one thing I say at night is, is, the first thing I say in the morning is just give me the grace to get through the day without a binge, and then then at nighttime I go, you know, thank God I haven’t binged today. You know, because again, it can still happen, you know, I can still, you know, I talk to my clients, I’m quite open with them. I say you know, things throw up at you. Things get, hit you with them and no matter all the good work I’ve done, I said the difference between me now and in the past is I may slip up, but actually that’s fine. And that’s good for me because it allows me to show me that I’m still human and it’s still there. And that, you know, I can learn from it. And what was different, what, what made me relent? What, what made me decide that I’m going to eat those chocolate bars or eat that cake, eat those cakes, now I’m not talking about one off, it’s if I have a, you know if I have a cake one day, I’m not going to beat myself up because it’s part of my life. But if I decided that I’m going to eat a pizza, and then cakes and and chocolate, and it was all excessive, then I’d have to ask myself what’s caused that, what’s triggered that, why have I lost that control? And again, I can just sort of work through it and understand it.
Gary Crotaz 30:36
And tell me about the moment when you decided to make this your career to help other people going through this kind of journey.
Chris Tibbetts 30:44
It was interesting, because I’d sort of been made, I took a redundancy from National Express, I thought, do you know what, I’ll just go back to being a management consultant. Be dead easy, you know, really, you know, nice couple of, really good money, flexibility. And I did, I set up a company, I was doing that. And then one day, a guy I was working with called Alex Meyers. He said, I’d really love you to tell your story to my programme, my guys, I said they’ll get a lot of benefit from it. Alright? Yeah. Okay, no problem. So I did a sort of slide deck and did the… sent it across to him. And he says, first he goes you put a typo in there, he says. Why? He says, You put you lost 100 kilos? Ah yeah, I should put 110. But yeah, you’re right. No, no, no, you’ve lost a hundred? Yeah, I’ve lost 100 kilos. He went, I didn’t know. I went, Yeah. And in this sort of conversation, sharing my story. I sort of had your Unlock Moment, I had an epiphany. I realised that this is what I have to do. The conversation I’m having with these guys. The questions they’re asking, the answers I’m giving, is that I just said, I need to do this. I need to do this at whatever, you know, almost at whatever cost to me. And I also realised I couldn’t do it as a side thing, I couldn’t do it as a, oh I’ll do this on the side, I’ll help a few people out. But I’ll still keep bringing the money in, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have committed to it, I would just have been sort of a half-baked thing. And I’d already done a lot of work for free for people because I’d been a sponsor for Overeaters Anonymous, and I’d been in groups and I’ve done that. So I’d already cut my teeth, so to speak, I thought, okay, perhaps this could be a career, I don’t know. But I then embarked on it as a career.
Gary Crotaz 32:34
And what does it look like? When you start to work with somebody?
Chris Tibbetts 32:40
Well, I start by just making sure they’re ready. I turn away, which is crazy for a guy in business, about 50% of my business. Because I have a call with him and I go, you’re not ready. I says, You’re, you’re just not ready. You’re, you’re you’re looking for a fix, you’re looking for somebody to do the work for you, you’re looking for 90 days, and you’re going to lose all this weight. I said, I’m the wrong person, if you do want to do that, because, you know, I want lifelong change. I don’t, you know, I don’t ever set people weight-loss targets and I ever talk about weight loss with them. Weight loss is a byproduct of my, working with me, because we’re going to cut out all of that ridiculous additional food you’re eating through the bingeing and emotional eating. So when I work with people, I sort of sit down and we sort of have a strategy, we have a plan, I get to understand where they’ve, you know, first, the most important thing you need to do is create this big why? Because that’s what’s going to be used when we try to work with the inner voice and I, you know, my inner voice is called Fred, by the way from from Drop Dead Fred. And I use it to clients to try and break through, this, this whole voice that’s there, that’s, that’s encouraging you and you know, reasoning with you when you know it’s not even practical. So we work very hard on understanding that. We talk about creating routines, don’t even start thinking about planning your food, planning, because most people fail because they don’t actually have a meal plan. They get up and they go, I won’t eat today. Or they’ll forget or they’ll get busy and then all of a sudden they’re reaching for junk food, they’re reaching for processed foods, they’re reaching for food that is not going to be nutritious, it’s not going to help, it’s not gonna serve them. It’s not gonna help them feel stronger, it’s not going to help them feel mentally alert. So it’s almost working on that principle. So very quickly, we sort of like, okay, we’ll map out 90 days, we’ll map out where you think these triggers are, where, what do you want to achieve? What, what part of your life is suffering, what, where is this holding you back? And then from there, we can then just put plans in place to say, Okay, you know, let’s start understanding where these trigger points are. Let’s understand what are the lies that your inner voice is telling you, because it will be telling you something that makes it compelling to go and eat that food when you don’t eat it. When when you’re on the third bar of chocolate, because you’re, because you’re not even tasting the chocolate at that point, but you’re doing it because it’s almost an inbred behaviour. Don’t forget, this voice lives in the sort of lizard brain, the amygdala, it’s, it’s fight or flight, it’s there to protect you. So there is no reasoning. Well just think about it, where that voice is, where it lives, there is no thinking about it, there is no, it’s designed to save your life and protect you. So you don’t have a chance to argue it. Now, if you can’t, then that’s when you need to move the conversation up into the higher brain and have the conversation there. But if you already, I say to people, if you’ve already got the food in your hand, it’s too late. So that fork in the road, that decision that put you on the path to eating is a lot further back than people think about it. And if you need to have it, if you need a strategy for that moment, it’s in your hand. Good luck. Because that’s going to be really hard to beat.
Gary Crotaz 36:06
And the people that are the right people for you to be working with, they’re in the right place to start on that journey? How did they describe the experience of working with you?
Chris Tibbetts 36:16
Because I’ve been where they’ve been, they almost have an honesty factor with me because they can’t actually lie to me, because I’ve told all the lies myself. So I know when people are not feeding themselves. I know, I know. And I ask them the questions, because they’re always like, Are you reading my mind? I’m not reading their mind. I just know where they’re at, because I’ve been there. So they almost go, how did you know that? How did you know I was thinking that? Like, because I thought that, I’ve been there. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t get right all the time. But most of the time we can get it right and go, What’s causing that, why are you making you feel that, I think they just feel like they’ve, for the first time in their life, they’ve got somebody with them who actually believes that they can do this. And for them, it’s almost the first time they’ve had this. They’ll have worked with coaches and PTs and people before. But this is the first time that somebody’s gone, You can do this, and I believe in you. And that’s what they feel, they feel like… I liken myself to Liam Neeson from Taken, I have a unique set of skills that make me a nightmare for people like that!
Gary Crotaz 37:22
And what does it feel like for you to see somebody making that change that they weren’t making before? You know, through working with you?
Chris Tibbetts 37:32
I think it’s, you know, it sounds very grandiose, but you can’t actually buy that feeling. You know, I, in an ideal world, Gary, I would win the lottery and I’d coach people for free. But actually I still wouldn’t coach people for free. Because when you do stuff for free, people don’t value it. And I think, for me, being able to see that transformation, I’m working with a guy at the moment and he’s like, he’s lost 40 pounds, but that 40 pounds is irrelevant. It’s the change in his mindset, it’s that change in how he’s talking to himself, it’s a change that he’s not, you know, running himself down, he’s not beating himself up, you know, this whole change in his mentality is the biggest thing, you say, I say to people a lot, you know, the change, the weight loss happens from the neck up. You know, that’s where all the change happens. Yes, you get the bodily change from below. But actually, if you don’t change the mindset, you’re not gonna lose weight. I’m just seeing that change in people.
Gary Crotaz 38:35
That’s really powerful. Where can people find out more about you, Chris?
Chris Tibbetts 38:39
So, if they go on Instagram, or Facebook, I’m at theemotionaleatingcoachUK, or my website, http://www.emotionaleatingcoach.uk or LinkedIn. Chris Tibbetts.
Gary Crotaz 38:55
fantastic. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity when you suddenly know the right path ahead. For Chris, it was a conversation with his doctor who told him he could die at any moment that gave him a massive wake up call about the impact of his weight on his health. It’s been a tough journey since then, with many ups and downs. But Chris is now empowering others to fundamentally change their lifestyle based on his own experience of making remarkable change happen. Chris, thank you so much for joining me today on The Unlock Moment.
Chris Tibbetts 39:25
Thank you Gary. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Gary Crotaz 39:28
This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset, available in physical book, ebook and audiobook format. Follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!