You may recall, at the beginning of the year, that I realised I was a massive fatso. I therefore pledged that I would go on yet another diet. The difference between this diet and all the other diets I’ve ever done is that I’m going to actually lose weight on this one. And when the diet finishes, I’m actually going to keep the weight off; although Christ knows how I’m going to manage that, because I put on weight like most people breathe (the horrid reality is, I’m basically going to have to constantly diet for years).
Why am I doing this? Why put myself through the agony of shedding pounds? Haven’t I got enough shit to worry about?? Well… because I’m fed up of being fat, of looking in the mirror and seeing rolls of flesh, of having clothes that strain against the skin, of having sleep apnoea and acid reflux; and feeling like a waddling Jabba is not good for my self-esteem. Also, I’m getting older, so like an old car, my body is finding it harder and harder to be repaired. Lucky for me, my wife is joining me on this journey, so I’m not alone. And if you’re dieting too, then you’re going through it, and I salute you from afar.
So here is a new series on dieting. It’s a week-by-week outline of how a generic diet unfolds – all the ups and downs, temptations, pitfalls, triumphs and frustrations. So sit down, open a box of non-fattening snacks, and pour yourself an unsweetened mug of black coffee, or whatever you’re drinking at the moment. NOW READ ON (dot dot dot).
- It’s the week after New Year. You are feeling bloated and weary. You dread looking at the scales when you weigh yourself.
- Holy shitsauce! HOW MUCH??
- This has to be a mistake. No no no no no no no.
- Is this thing broken?
- You actually shout at the scales: “I mean, I knew I had a bit of a blow-out over Christmas, but COME ON!”
- That’s it. Your youth is over, and your body is in decline. You have to lose weight this time. No excuses anymore. “I know I said that last year… and the year before that… and the year before that… and the year before that… and the ye- OK I ADMIT I COMPLETELY SUCK AT LOSING WEIGHT.”
- It’s the New Year, so the diet industry is going into overdrive, and everywhere you look there are before-and-afters, lots of stock pictures of once-fat people leaping joyfully into the air, and thin people with white smiles and lovely faces grinning at you from the covers of diet magazines. Most dietees don’t look like agency models. They certainly don’t look like you. But enough cynicism, lard-ass!
And thus it begins…
You are commencing your diet. Good luck, you! And because you think you’ll never eat luscious food ever again, you have one final blow out – a big takeway banquet all the way from the Jasmine Kitchen Oriental Takeaway & Restaurant. Rice, dumplings, MSG, fried meat, sweet-n-sour, grease, sauce, flavour… “Oh God I swear I’m gonna miss food so much.”
For a laugh, you and your wife weigh yourselves afterwards, feeling bloated and sweaty and massive, in order to get a ‘peak weight’ from which you can see progress. When you see what you both weigh, neither of you feel like laughing all of a sudden. The meal put on at least 5lbs on top of your already-massive weight and you can feel the food churning in your gut. This is serious stuff. Even if you lose an unrealistic 8lbs in the first week, you’re still massively overweight. You go to bed feeling horrid and guilty and bloated and sweaty and massive, and you think very hard about what you absolutely have to do. This is your thought process:
- So I just need to cut down on what I eat, right?
- I should cut out sugar, salt, fat, grease, butter, lard, cakes, chocolate, cheese, bacon, biscuits, puddings… OH FUCK, why does everything yummy have to be so evil?
- I can keep the sugar in my coffee, can’t I?
- NO! No, this time, it has to work. Has to. I shouldn’t weigh this much. I must lose weight. No sugar or milk in coffee. Not even skimmed milk. I HAVE to do this properly.
- Here we go, smaller portions, less calories…
- Nah, I’m not joining a gym. Exercise hurts. I’m going to lose weight without doing much exercise. That’s a solid plan!
- Nah, I’m not going on a specialised diet. They’re money-making fads and scams.
- Nah, I’m not joining Slimming World, Weight Watchers, or any of those cults for fatsos. I’m just going to eat less. That’ll do the trick.
You cannot be pissing about any more. You HAVE to lose weight.
So the diet begins in earnest. You read books, you read pamphlets, you do not visit a dietician because you don’t fancy being patronised for 15 minutes in a doctor’s surgery. You try and figure out a strategy, but the numbers and the calories and the planning of meals becomes too much. So your wife takes over, and understands it completely. She explains how it will work – the calorie limits, the foods you can and can’t eat, if you can work any treats into the diet, and what to do and you nod and say loudly “That’s Great!”, but behind your eyes, your brain goes “doobie-doobie-doobie-dit-dit-doooo…”. Later on in the diet, when you get confused about all the different rules and measurements and allowances, she’ll explain all this again with increasing exasperation at your inability to listen to, or comprehend, important information.
The first week is an exercise in self-conditioning and building up willpower. The diet hasn’t properly kicked in yet, so it’s not hard. All you notice is that, in the evenings when you would normally indulge in a little snackeroo, you feel a bit hollow. Being more hollow is kinda the idea, though.
END OF WEEK STATUS:
Guilty, but determined. You’re gonna do this. You need to hear the Theme from Rocky at some point, but at the moment this shit is easy. You kid yourself that it will stay this way, which is foolish. Be honest with yourself. If you were, you’d know it’s going to get more difficult to maintain the diet as time goes on, because your previous attempts at dieting always come undone when the shit gets hard. Usually around Easter, or when work stress gets on top of you and you order a takeaway. First it’s just the one, and then a few weeks later, it’s another, and then it’s the odd choccy bar to keep your spirits up, and then… you’ve fucked it again. THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN THIS TIME.
WEIGHT LOSS AT THE END OF THE WEEK:
“OK, so the first measurement can be classed as a false negative due to the frankly irresponsible ‘last hurrah’ takeaway banquet. Let’s gloss over that. No, I’m not telling you what I lost in the first week. Oh, all right, it was 0lbs. But that’s a draw, right?”
It’s Week Two. Will the willpower hold? Or will things go horribly wrong at the first hurdle?