I've struggled with depression and comfort eating on and off for the last 30 years.
63 year old Mike Stoddart from Southampton has struggled with depression and comfort eating on and off for the last 30 years.
Since joining Bitterne Leisure Centre in Southampton in 1988, it has become Mike’s second home. The combination of lifting weights, walking on a treadmill and pedalling on an exercise bike has helped Mike to beat the blues and he now feels much happier and more positive about life. As a result, the comfort eating is now under control and gradually the weight has started to come off.
In addition to helping himself, Mike has made it his mission to help other people. “There are many guys and girls struggling with similar problems” Mike told us. By openly talking about his own struggle with mental illness it has helped younger people open up about their own problems and they in turn are discovering that “exercising, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing, can lift your mood.” It is this generous and kind hearted spirit that has earned Mike the title of Active Nation Ambassador.
Mike is regularly in the gym at 6.30am and feels that exercising first thing in the morning sets him up in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day. In addition to supporting the local community Mike’s also in the process of completing his long-awaited autobiography “Addicted for Love!” – a culmination of all his voluntary and nationally accredited counselling over the last three decades, as well as a record of his own personal journey through life.
Mike has gone on to be a modern-day missionary of sorts advising people all around the globe who are stuck, to get out of bed, get off their back sides and jump on an exercise bike.