Neil Ruddock was the epitome of an old-school hardman on the field. His professional career spanned over 17 years, starting with Millwall in 1986, where he quickly established himself as a no-nonsense defender.
His performances at The Den earned him a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 1987, where he played for four seasons and became a fan favorite. Over the years, Ruddock also had spells with clubs such as Southampton, Liverpool, West Ham United, Crystal Palace, and Swindon Town, as well as appearing in the white of England once. Whilst playing for Liverpool, one of the world’s top soccer teams, he won the League Cup.
Off the pitch, Ruddock became a larger-than-life figure in more ways than one. He appeared in various reality TV shows, including I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity Big Brother. However, with no soccer to keep him fit, his weight ballooned, at one stage touching 27 stone. It needed a robust weight-loss regimen to be implemented, one that saw his weight plummet – he lost 6st 9lbs after lockdown.
How did he do it?
Like many in the modern world, Ruddock turned to medicine to help him through his weight issues. He admitted he became lost during lockdown, watching television and ordering food online. ‘I just got lazier and lazier,’ he admitted. ‘My health got embarrassing. I couldn’t move, didn’t want to go out, and couldn’t get anything to fit me.’
His problems began to manifest in other health issues. ‘I went to the doctor with bad ankles, bad knees. He told me to get in the gym, but I was saying, ‘I can’t; my ankles and knees are too bad.”
Eventually, he met up with James Argent, a television celebrity, who had a gastric band fitted. Ruddock, eager to lose weight but feeling too fat to go to the gym, listened to his friend and opted to go down that route. Once he had the band fitted, he felt able to get into the gym, and from there, the weight plummeted. ‘As soon as I lost weight, I could get in the gym. I could do what the doctors and physios were telling me because I can run around now. I can get on a bike. I can walk up hills and play golf without the buggy.’
Today, Ruddock looks healthy, and even if gastric surgery is out of your reach, there are options you can take to follow in the former England defender’s footsteps.
What can you do to emulate him?
Ruddock wanted to get fit the old-fashioned way – hitting the gym, running, walking, and exercising. That’s the tried and tested method and something that anyone should be able to do. There’s a method of exercise for everyone, whether it is ditching the buggy and walking the 10 kilometers around your local golf course or pulling on your shorts and running up the road. However, it isn’t that easy, especially if, like Razor, your weight causes other health complications.
In that instance, joining a healthy weight loss program can equip you with tailored guidance on nutrition, exercise, and behavioral factors of weight. Other than these aspects, these programs address your biology by offering help with FDA-approved chronic weight management medication for those eligible. They’re different from a gastric band in that they seek to deal with the biological causes of obesity. There are a range of drugs available that can help, suited to different needs. One such drug is Phentermine for weight loss, which was approved in the United States in 1959 but is rising in prominence now. It works by stimulating appetite, so in that respect, it is similar to a gastric band. It is a drug taken orally, but others, such as wegvoy, are delivered by injection. If you do go down the medical weight loss with the aid of a physician, there’s a solution suited to you.
It is important to note there’s no single fix, no magic wand that will solve your issues. Ruddock didn’t get a gastric band and go back to the sofa; he remained active and, crucially, changed his diet. Any medical intervention is purely a kickstart, a solution to an initial problem, with mindset and focus being the ultimate goal.
In the nineties, Neil Ruddock was a poster boy for soccer fans. Thirty years later, he is a poster boy of a different kind – one for those who champion weight loss and healthy living. There are lessons to be learned in how he got fit, and if you follow his tactic, you, too, could end up achieving your goals.
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