The actor, who plays police officer Craig Tinker in the ITV soap, has been hitting the streets over the last year and a half in a bid to shift his excess pounds, having come to the conclusion that his life had become “stagnant”.
Speaking about his decision to take up running during the first lockdown in 2020, Smith told journalists at a press event: “I’m the sort of person who cares more about other people than I do about myself. I’m always trying to please people but, in lockdown, I didn’t have to do that.
"It gave me an opportunity to put myself first and concentrate purely on me.”
Smith talked of an unhealthy relationship with eating dating back to his days at school where he’d “be best mates with a dinner lady to get more food”. And although landing the role of Craig at the age of 11 gave him exposure on one of the country’s most-watched TV shows, this high profile turned out to be a mixed blessing:
“I had a Twitter account at 11, which I don’t think is allowed, and I’d search ‘Craig from Corrie’ and all there’d be would be comments about my weight and the way I looked. So, from day one, I was always the fat kid and the odd one out.”
Smith’s consumption of food was, he realises now, a form of “self-harm” and that his unusual lifestyle added to the pressure he was under.
“I left my parents’ at 17 to live in Manchester. So, I was living away from home and while friends were at uni, I hid away from everything and was sat eating Deliveroo every night. I got myself into a really unhealthy position,” he admitted.
The short film depicting the efforts he’s made to get healthy has been shot by regular Coronation Street director Tim Royle, while co-star, friend and flatmate Ben Price (aka Nick Tilsley) acts as an interviewer in the documentary, talking to Smith about his experience:
“Ben is like a second father to me and he’s been so supportive. He’s the person I spend most time with, so to have him be the interviewer is nice. He knows me, he’s seen me go through this change and he’s proud of me. So he knew exactly what to ask and he kept me relaxed and feeling safe.”
Smith declined to put a figure on how much weight he’s now lost but has stated on a previous occasion that he’s shed ten stone. When asked, though, about what form of exercise has had the biggest impact, the star replied:
“Running was massive and the fact I fell in love with it made everything else easier. It motivated me and helped me get my days in order, to the point where now the only thing I want to do is run.”
Having also been used to “binge” eating, Smith also commented that his relationship with food is now “a hell of a lot better than it was” and added that he now feels like a transformed man:
“I’ve changed my life, I guess. I was ready to change identity and move on from being the fat kid in my social circles. And with this documentary, I wanted to tell my truth. I didn’t want to be the guy who stands there with a pair of his old pants saying that this is what he used to fit into.
“Instead, you see me go from this kid who clearly doesn’t like himself to someone who has grown in confidence. I’m proud of what I’ve done and what we’ve made.”
Bored of Being the Fat Kid will be released on 2 June 2021 on Colson Smith’s YouTube channel.
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