MSCR: We'd love to hear about your fitness journey, what is your story?
PAUL: I was at Future Music Festival in Melbourne 3 years ago. I was having a great day out with all my friends and like everyone else I got up on my friends shoulders, it was 35 degrees so I took my top! I thought nothing of it at the time. Around a week later, my friend messaged me saying there was a picture of me on the 'Gym Meme Page' saying "do you even lift bro" referring to the friend whose shoulders I was on.
At first I found it quite funny because I felt confident no matter what size I was, but thousands of likes and comments were coming through by the second. . . some of the really bad ones that stuck with me were "his parents should have drowned him at birth", "He's so ugly", "Why was someone that size even allowed into the festival", "That fat whale probably had to buy 2 tickets he's so big."
Others said "I saw that guy whose shoulders he is on and he's in a wheelchair now".
They were just horrific, so many people I knew were reporting the picture but it wasn't taken down for at least a year. I started letting it get to me (especially when I was out), every time I drank I couldn't stop reading the comments. I tried to forget about it but it just wouldn't go away.
I was drinking more or less 7 nights a week, 3 bottles of wine a day. I was in Australia on a working holiday visa where a lot of people party all the time.
I was hurting so much on the inside I started to self harm, it became something I would do everyday. A few months down the line a couple of my friends started to notice, I'd freak out when they asked me so I started cutting myself by my pelvic region and my feet as I thought people wouldn't see. It had been going on for 10 months and I was still drinking all the time, people were becoming very worried about me.
To this day I still feel so guilty about what I put some of my friends through. Some mornings they would come into my room, I'd be drunk in bed and the bed sheets would be covered in blood - nobody knew what to do.
Paul before his weight loss journey (left), Paul training now (right).
I was 22 stone 5 pounds at my heaviest in January 2015, I was out on a night out in Melbourne and I was so drunk I fell down steps and broke my foot and had to get an operation. This meant I couldn't work over here so I had to go back to Ireland.
I knew my mum and dad were going to see the marks on my arms so I just told them what was going on. But after I had that break down it all changed from there. I started working in a hotel in Cork when my leg was better and there was a Slimming World meeting in the hotel, I met the group leader Fiona o Hagan and joined the group.
I cut out the drinking - even now I drink maybe once a week or fortnight. It wasn’t been easy to lose the weight but I went from 145 kilos to 75 kilos. I decided I wanted to go back to Australia and enjoy it more - instead of being drunk the whole time.
Fitness Inspiration Paul went from 145kgs to just 75kgs
MSCR: How is life now?
PAUL: Even now I still have good bad days and when I am feeling down or have anxiety. I exercise, talk to people and stay away from alcohol. Three months ago I decided I wanted to join a gym with the goal of toning up and building muscle, as I was just left with a lot of excess skin after losing all that weight. I joined Titan fitness in Coogee, Sydney and I go around 5 days a week
I started a fitness course and I became a qualified group fitness instructor 2 months ago, I'm currently studying to become a Personal Trainer. I live in Sydney now and I train kids in schools.
Even now I still can't get my head around how much my life has changed. I really believe everything happens for a reason - since all of this has happened I get hundreds of messages on Instagram every month from people saying my story inspired them to change their lives, both mentally and physically.
To think that people are trying to change themselves and taking inspiration from me makes me feel so proud and strong as a person!
MSCR: What advice do you have for anyone struggling to commit to their health/fitness?
PAUL: My advice to anyone beginning, or currently on, their fitness journey is to never stop believing in yourself as you have the power to create your own happiness. Fitness isn't temporary, its a lifestyle, so if you fall of the horse and have a few bad days with diet and nutrition don’t beat yourself up too much. Just get back into it and remember why you started. I just want people to know there are always better days ahead, no matter how bad you think things are now. It is unbelievable what can be achieved with a bit of will power and self belief.
"Remember why you started" - Paul's motto for dealing with tough days
MSCR: Have you set any goals for this year?
PAUL: One thing that has changed the most for me is that I’m so determined and motivated in everything I do now, where as before I was never like that. I really want to make a career out of helping people change their lives. I just want to inspire people and show them that anyone can take control of their lives.
MSCR: Do you have anything else you'd like to say to the Republic?
PAUL: Sometimes it can be easier to talk to someone you don't know about your problems so if anybody has any questions or if they want to follow my journey they can find me on Instagram - @paulmoore35
FOLLOW PAUL'S JOURNEY
Guys, if you want to follow Paul's story to see how he continues to keep himself motivated, how he is doing now or to ask him any questions - give him a follow on instagram: @paulmoore35
TELL US YOUR STORY
We want to get to know the Republic - Share your story with us so we can interview you, you guys inspire us as much as your idols inspire you - let's celebrate our wins together.
HASHTAG: #RealMuscleIsHeart #MSCRStory
If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression or thinking of self-harming please contact the team at Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14