Chris is a shadow of his former self

Chris Berendt is now a shadow of his former self.
Chris Berendt is now a shadow of his former self.

Let’s be blunt about Chris Berendt’s old weight issue - he used to be fat.

Poor diet and a lack of exercise led to the Culburra Beach resident weighing in at a massive 130 kilograms.

He was ashamed by his weight and his lack of fitness.

Depression crept into his life and he knew something had to change.

Three years on and Chris is a lean/mean running machine and the 34-year-old’s weight now ranges between 70 to 75 kilograms.

Chris now wants to help others and his philosophy is - ‘if I can do it so can you’.

His desire to share his journey and help others follows the publication of a report.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Physical activity across the life stages reports shows many Australians are not doing enough physical activity.

The most recent available data shows, 30 per cent of children aged two to 17 and only 44 per cent of adults aged 18 and over met the physical activity guidelines.

“I was absolutely embarrassed and my stomach used to jiggle when I ran.”

Chris Berendt

The reports show people of all ages and sitting down too much in front of electronic devices or for leisure time.

Chris used to be a person who did not exercise and sat in front of a computer for too long.

He regrets he did not get more exercise earlier in life and does not want others to fall into the same trap.

The now slender Chris wants to help others reach their health goals.

He is happy to run, walk or talk with anyone who wants support.

The advice he offers is sound.

“First up don't care what other people think. Get out there and get active and join groups (like the Husky Park runners),” he said.

“Joining a group is a key because it gives you a target and you can't just sit on the couch.”

He said just get your shoes on and get out the door.

“Do anything - even if it's the gardening,” he said.

“If you are at work set an alarm and get up - do some sit ups or push ups or walk around.”

Chris also keeps busy by caring for his wife Ricki.

He owns two dogs (Oats and Bowie) and said getting a dog and taking it for a walk was a great way to get exercise.

Chris said you have to watch what you eat and getting the right food is always important.

“I had a problem with food portion control and so what I found instead of trying to reduce your food just eat heaps and heaps of vegetables to fill yourself up,” he said.

His diet is packed full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and he eats as much as he wants.

Just get active

Chris regrets he did not get more exercise earlier in life

“I see the kids here at Husky parkrun and they are so fast. I will get where I want to get but it’s just going to take me some time,” he said.

Chris is now a regular at the Huskisson Parkrun sessions each Saturday and loves it.

He tries to run between an hour to two hours every day, does strength work, lots of stretching and goes around the local bush trails with his friend Tim.

Chris turns on the pace.

Chris turns on the pace.

Once he got active his weight fell and Chris lost between 50 to 60 kilograms.

“I lost most of it in one year,” he said.

“I lost 20kg in one year and the rest was over a few years.”

He weighed 130 kilograms when he was 30-years-of-age.

“I have always been overweight in my whole life,” he said.

He put his weight issue down to poor life choices.

“I was focusing more on my work than myself and eating badly,” he said.

Working lots, eating takeaway food and not getting any exercise meant his weight ballooned.

As a web page developer, Chris said he could sit at his desk for 10 hours a day.

The Culburra Beach resident said he was also a “cubby” child

“I weighed more when I was a kid than I do now,” he said.

He weighed 80 to 85 kilograms when he was in high school.

Chris did not play much sport when he was younger.

Don’t worry about what people think

Chris tried many diets over the years got personal trainers but had limited success.

“I always lost a little bit of weight but then I would put the weight back on,” he said.

“It kind of got a bit emotional and distressing. I did not want to go running because I did not want people to see me running.

“I was worried about what people would think.

“I was absolutely embarrassed and my stomach used to jiggle when I ran.”

Chris, before he moved to Culburra Beach, lived in Maloney’s Beach, near Batemans Bay and when people were not around he started to exercise in a national park.

“I used to disappear in the national park - I would run 10 metres get puffed, walk and then run another 10 metres,” Chris said.

He went to Area 61, CrossFit gym in Batemans Bay, did some boxing and importantly met trainer Aaron Boller.

“Aaron is a really nice guy and went above and beyond to help me,” Chris said.

“He did not have to give me any diet advice but did and anytime I wanted to train he said to come in and he would train me for free.”

Chris said he owned Aaron a lot.

He now has goals to achieve.

Chris wants to do a 50-kilometre trail race next year then a 100k trail race the following year.

“They are big goals and I just don’t want to do it - I want to well in it,” he said