No Ordinary Man


Eric Russell grew up in Sandymount with his brothers, parents and Granny. He led a regular life, was interested in rugby, table tennis and snooker and indeed showed great promise in sports. Sadly his Granny passed away when he was in his late teens and he felt her loss particularly bad as he was extremely close to her. He started falling into bad habits like over sleeping, staying up late, making bad food choices and drinking too much alcohol, too often.

Things just seem to settle into a negative pattern for Eric as his bad habits slowly made him feel depressed. He ate more takeaways, drank more beer, lost interest in sports and began to isolate himself from people and family. Eric told NewsFour that he just got into a negative frame of mind, started attracting negative people and got further sucked into his depressive ways. All the while, the negative thoughts and overeating gained momentum.

Things got so bad that Eric decided to weigh himself on his birthday in July 2011 and found he had reached 36 stone 2 lbs. Prior to his weigh-in Eric says he may have been heavier as he was much bigger before and felt he lost roughly 2 stone before he officially weighed himself that day. When he realised how bad things had become his world fell into chaos.

He knew he had to try to lose weight and by Christmas he lost 3.5 stone, but he was still battling with his depression and it was during this time that he attempted suicide and thankfully failed at his attempt. “As I stood on the chair with the noose around my neck I told myself there were two options – death or do something about my weight permanently,” he said. Indeed this typifies Eric who has the candour and the honesty to tell the whole nation his personal story a few weeks ago on the radio. It is a touchingly profound story and one that most people would deny or keep secret, but there’s the thing – most people are not Eric. He feels that by sharing his own story he can help other people who are trapped in the same vicious circle of eating and self-loathing.

In March 2012 Eric found he was falling back into bad habits again and had still only managed to lose 3.5 stone, so he decided to cut out alcohol after St. Patrick’s Day and start an exercise regime. His brother and self-confessed right hand man Raymond suggested that he join his gym RAW in Portobello. Eric knew the gym so commenced his training there on April 1st weighing 32 stone.

Fast forward to the October Bank Holiday 2012 when Eric completed the Dublin City Marathon in 5hrs 34mins. He was 20 stone. His story doesn’t end there, since then he has lost even more weight and is well on track for his target weight of 16 stone. At 6 foot 5 inches that is a respectable goal.

Eric got calls from people who were like him, who had no self-confidence, who never went out, who felt like a failure and who could see no future. One of these was a young school boy who felt overwhelmed by his excessive weight. Through talking to Eric and listening to his positive messages which all come from personal experience he has motivated the young boy to join a gym. He had a few similar stories of others he has inadvertently helped.

Eric is honest, inspirational and motivational; he is evangelical about transforming your life. By getting off the sofa and applying yourself to life, you can achieve great things. Spending time talking to Eric is like an energy boost for your brain. You get the sense that anything is possible if you just apply yourself. We are definitely going to hear a lot more from Eric and see a lot less of him. Follow his continuing story on!/EricRussellWeightLossJourney
By Joan Mitchell