William Greenwood is at his best and is a quintessential Englishman who has fallen in love with Jamaica. Despite living in “paradise,” troubled areas in his life began to strike near home, and one day he decided that a major demolition and rebuild was needed. The aim was to achieve this by tackling the problems from the inside out. What he found at the end of a dark path was a light so bright it banished any shadow of doubt. The fact that it worked wonders for weight loss is just an added bonus.
The reason for a drastic change was a matter of life and death. “I’m a recovering addict,” he told Health and Fitness, adding, “I’ve had substance problems. But alcohol was the drop that broke the camel’s back. I would drink the bar dry. I was sick, I was knocking on death’s door and I didn’t want to die. I was never dead. I realized there was more to life than drinking. I wanted to change my life and live a better quality of life.”
At that wake-up call, Greenwood took his last drink on January 8, 2017.
Although he wasn’t a fan of health and fitness per se; Growing up he was a fit, lean and naturally muscular boy. It helped that he was interested in sports like basketball, soccer and cricket. “I have never exercised to be fit; I just played because I enjoyed it.” It wasn’t until he was in his early 20s that he began to gain weight.
The holistic journey he undertook in his thirties played with the spiritual element. The working-class gentleman began developing a relationship with God at the age of 33, and he has been both inspired and driven by that calling. As a man of extremes and intensity, he does not measure himself. So it was not surprising that when he decided to change his life, he took the same radical approach. This time, however, it paid off.
“I started by changing my diet completely. I stopped drinking soda and anything with processed sugar and anything with chemicals in it. I even went on a full keto diet once for about four or five years. So I still enjoyed a high-fat, high-protein, and plant-based diet. But I didn’t have any carbs then; I omitted rice, bread and pasta. The only sugar I got was from fruit.” He’s since reintroduced healthy carbohydrates into his diet, like staples like Dasheen.
The important thing to note is that he doesn’t bother preparing meals, he just listens to his body and cooks fresh meals. “I just listen to my body. Most of the time, overeating doesn’t make you hungry; you’re just bored You have to give your body 20 minutes to settle down after a meal and allow your body to digest the food.”
He also finds that people label him as a picky eater when in fact he is a conscious eater who is more careful about what he puts into his body. That process, he says, can get tricky when it comes to grocery shopping choices and costs.
Dissatisfied with how he looked and felt, he wanted to lose weight as soon as possible. And these dietary rules helped a lot to achieve his goal.
For training, he enrolled in the gym and worked different muscle groups in his upper and lower body. For cardio, he started rowing, cycling, and swimming. He even included the sauna and steam room when he returned to England for years.
Now that he’s back in Jamaica, he’s an active hiker (his only method of training at the moment) and as early as 5am is walking at least five miles a day, which rounds up to about 10,000 steps. “I have a very strict routine. But I’m still not a fitness fanatic. I understand the importance of maintaining a consistent training regimen,” he added.
His daily routine includes getting up at 4 a.m. every day and drinking a cup of black coffee, sometimes with a little honey. Then he would fry a black plantain in coconut oil, step onto his porch and give thanks, pray, enjoy the fresh air, and get ready for the day. “At the weekend I get my fruit and vegetables downtown. Everything has to come from the earth or the tree,” he said.
Greenwood starts at 300 pounds and now weighs 185. While he doesn’t focus on one number, he was genuinely surprised. “That was the ideal number I had in mind about two years ago. If I get down to 185 I would be really happy. But I’m not a fan of the scale. If I look and feel better, then I win the fight.”
Since losing over 100 pounds he is happier, more confident and better aligned mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. He advises others on their health and fitness journey to eat as naturally as possible and not obsess over numbers. “Just look at how you feel and look. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t listen to people. Take small steps and do what is necessary for you and your health.”