“From Discussions Comes Awareness & From Awareness Comes Change”

Well, I’m back! Due to an unexpected change in events, I haven’t had a chance to get back to you guys until now. This blog was initially designed to capture my weight loss and wellness journey yes, however as per my first post, over time I had full intentions of introducing an element structured around men’s mental health and how we as men deal with our struggles in society on a daily basis. This is something I have always been passionate about and how fitness and wellness plays a big part in our mental health. However, after a relevant and serious series of events that have just turned my life upside down, I would like to introduce another element to this blog moving forward…

Youth-based bullying, self-harm and suicide. These are three topics that are so interlinked together and impact so many families and individuals around the world, so why is it left so unspoken about? Well here, alongside with my fitness and wellness journey these serious topics and issues will be highlighted and discussed from my point of view. I am now prepared to share my story in hope to inspire others like myself to have a voice.

Recently, on the 06/03/2018 I received a phone call advising me that my 12-year-old brother had just been admitted to our local hospital’s emergency department via ambulance and with great distress from family, I was told I needed to be there. Upon arrival, the heartbreaking news hit that Brian, my 12-year-old brother had turned to self-harm with the intention to cause extensive and serious injury to himself.

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Bullying, something that we all know about but like most things it seems to have been pushed to the wayside and seems to be something that most feel like they need to accept as a part of daily life. Well, with mixed emotions and being pushed to my wit’s end, alongside with the support and consent from my brother, I posted this image attached to a Facebook post in hope to create some much-needed awareness of the severity of this issue. I was to the point where I was basically prepared to beg for help for our family as I believe we are one of many who received little to no support from both our public school system and public health system. With this in mind and much to my honest surprise, within hours we went global. Now a little over a week later we have reached 87.8K shares to date and a serious media storm that has followed. You can find the post yourself here: https://www.facebook.com/murray.birchall/posts/1982564461772483

With a plethora of messages of support and requests for help from around the world, the message was and has become very clear to me. Youth-based bullying, self-harm and suicide are three things that affect far too many families and individuals and is costing us far too many lives. So why are we not doing anything to change this? How many more times are we going to turn a blind eye to this issue? Well, I like so many others believe now is the time. So strap yourself in because from here, this is where our story begins.

From discussions comes awareness and from awareness comes change“. Please join in with making our voice louder and creating awareness on our new Facebook group ‘Fight The Good Fight Against Bullying’. Click on the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FightTheFightAgainstBullying/

Fight the good fight against bullying!

If you or anyone you know needs help or support please contact:

That first ‘iconic’ before and after shot

Motivation? Something we all say we need more of. But what exactly is it and how does being motivated actually change how you do things. This is something I believe only you can find out for yourself, however, I sure as hell can share with you what has motivated me so far and hope it helps you find a little piece of yours. One thing I know for sure though, it wasn’t quite as simple as just taking a photo…

Let’s rewind back to 12 months ago, basically I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and to be honest half of the time it wasn’t because I was necessarily hungry, I was either bored or used food as my main form of comfort. Sometimes I would eat up to 4 or 5 decent sized meals a day and multiple unhealthy snacks in between. Not to mention I would never eat breakfast and usually wouldn’t eat until around 10:00am daily. Yes, I’ll admit I also frequented the fridge throughout the night usually on more than one occasion.

So what was my turning point? There initially were a few significant factors that pushed me slowly in the direction of making my healthy lifestyle change. One of the main ones was my health, at 22 I was taken to hospital with a severe case of Atrium Fibrillation (an irregular and rapid heart rate) that lasted for a little over three hours and reached a total of 204 beats per minute and had no intention of slowing, due to this we had no choice but to stop it. For the following 12 months, further relatable issues surfaced. Amongst other more generalised health issues, this one, in particular, was linked back to my weight and lack of health.

With depression and anxiety being a big thing in my family, I wasn’t surprised to notice that over time these symptoms were coming my way. With an extremely busy lifestyle and my self-worth starting to fall a little faster than before, I started to realise that in order to feel better (both physically and mentally) I needed to start somewhere. Day 1, at 142 kg (Photo on the left) I decided to do what I really did not want to do, have my photo taken. This for me was not only to be used later on as a comparison for my journey but also a reminder of where I physically and mentally never want to be again. It was later that week I initiated contact with a woman by the name of Belinda who became my short-term life and motivational coach, with her direction I knew that from there, the rest was up to me…

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Now 8 months on I have just (literally two weeks ago) reached my third goal! Punching under 110kg my second shot was taken at the total weight of 109kg (Photo on the right). For me, I have always seen others use ‘that first iconic before and after shot’ and have wondered what it would be like to physically see the change and transition before your very own eyes. Well two weeks ago, for the first time, I had that feeling and what an amazing thing it was!

Well, I have to start somewhere right?

Well, here we go, this is where my ‘blogging journey’ begins. You’re probably already thinking yep, this is just another one of those feel-good motivational blogs about this guys ‘health journey’ and all that wonderful stuff. You’re probably right to some extent, however, this blog isn’t just about my weight loss and wellness journey. I have designed this site for men much like myself who have always struggled with both their body appearance and confidence levels on a daily basis. More importantly though, our mental health and the struggle we as men deal with within our society on a regular base. The hustle has never felt harder and been more real for me then what it has been the last 6 months, but relax! We have plenty of time to go over all of that.

On that note, I better get the quick (always boring) introduction out of the way. My name is Murray Benton, I have just turned 24 and have been married to my wife Jess for 3 years now. We live in Gympie Queensland and I work within the Real Estate industry for Century 21 Platinum Agents. Recently I have transitioned from a direct sales role into our Client and Office Relations Manager’s position and love what I do. As of two weeks ago I am now a dedicated student of the AIPT (Australian Institute of Personal Trainers) and working towards my Certificate IV in fitness and qualification in PT…

Ok, I think that will do for now with the formalities!

At my current best - 108kg

When I started my fitness and wellness journey only about a short 12 months ago I weighed my absolute most, at 142kg I felt the worst I have ever felt in my life. Both physically and mentally. I was drained and nothing seemed worth working towards anymore… But that’s one of many stories to come.

Thanks for checking The Healthy Hustle Blog out, I hope to see you more!

Regards, Murray