Hey, super being. Yeah, that’s YOU I’m talking about!
Well, here we are at the last part of this series. If you’re new here, welcome. Here are the other episodes. Maybe start at the beginning and work your way through it. Or just skip to the end, like I used to with the Hardy Boys books I used to read. That mill owner was such a fucking crook.
Here is the multi-season box-set for you to binge on:
Season One: The Shame of Weight
Season Two: The Quest for Thin
Season Three: A Feast of Fat
Season Four: Blood and Crowns
Season Five: The Crows of Wrath and Tiddly-Pom
Season Six: Oooh! Cosplay Ideas!!
Season Seven: More Tits And Shagging Than Even HBO Can Handle
Season Eight: Not As Good As Season Six, But You’re Hooked Now
Season Nine: The Expensive Battle Sequence And Everyone Dies
If you have read this whole series, then thank you for joining me. I really appreciate you being here.
If you are dieting: GOOD LUCK. If you succeed, please tell me how.
This time it’s war. It’s war on food, war on the doubting thoughts in your head, war on temptation. This is why you fail at diets, because the war becomes hard. There’s too much collateral damage. Too many civilian casualties. But in this war, the collateral damage and casualties are just your hunger. It’s almost as though you want to lose this war. NOT TODAY, MAGGOT. Not on my watch. You are losing weight, and you know it’s hard. This is a fight you have to win.
You are a PARENT now. You don’t allow your kid free access to television or sweets. You are strict on discipline, and you insist on good manners. You would do anything to prevent your child from smoking, drinking heavily, doing drugs, and becoming as overweight as you. So why do you do it to yourself?
Your child has big eyes, and has perfected the art of looking imploring when they want to manipulate you. Your inner child does this whenever you feel temptation. See a bowl of chocolate ice cream, or feel the need for a bag of chips? Your inner child gazes up at you. Do you give in to your real child all that much? I bet you don’t. So why spoil your inner child? You need to fight your inner child. Smack it in the face in exactly the same way that you wouldn’t ever do to your own real-life kid. Punch it into submission. Go on, be a horrific, abusive parent to your inner child. Just don’t do it in real life.
External pressures play their part. All around you are companies trying to convince you to buy their food. They make food look gorgeous and luscious and delicious, and very tempting. Takeaway Apps for mobile phones are a new industry in themselves. They didn’t exist 10 years ago. They are there to make vast amounts of money out of promising you convenience, no effort in cooking, speedy and tasty food, and they exploit your utter laziness.
Fighting for your attention – and losing, it has to be said – is the diet industry. It’s not just faddy diets, bogus science, patronising books, and pictures of people facing the agonising choice of vegetables or burgers… I mean, yes, it is all of that, but it’s an industry that is actually worth £2billion in the UK alone. Imagine that! Two. BILLION. POUNDS. Now realise that for the first time in the history of this blog, I’ve actually done some research for once.
Is the diet industry a help or a hindrance to dieting? It depends on your sense of cynicism, I suppose. I find it a massive annoyance, because pictures of smug arseholes tucking joyfully into a bowl of salad immediately makes me want to eat a steak and bacon sandwich. I don’t buy into the diet cult, and I don’t like the people who diet successfully and then crow about it. And maybe that’s why I have failed at pretty much every diet I’ve ever done. Losing weight isn’t the hard part. Keeping it off is the real challenge. A diet fails when your weight bounces back up to what it was. A diet succeeds not just when you lose weight and keep it off, but your entire lifestyle changes. It’s difficult to make these changes when you realise that the diet industry needs fatties like you. No matter how many books you read, how many diet clubs you join, it’s all money in someone’s pocket. I know it’s not what you should be thinking, but it’s a depressing modern fact. There are people who get rich from selling diet solutions to schlubs like me who regularly go on diets and fail.
You are in Week Ten of your Diet. If you have lasted this far, that’s incredible. But it’s not good enough. The future beckons. Are you going to fight for your new weight loss? Are you ready for exercise? Are you prepared to take the diet up a notch? God knows, at this point you might be entering the ‘plateau phase’, where your rate of weight loss flattens out. If that happens, are you prepared to make further changes to your life?
So Week Ten is the season finale. The showdown with the end-of-level baddie. Be Buffy, and take down the Big Bad.
1. Fuck what the scales say – You have lost weight.
2. Feeling bullish/confrontational with the diet. Physical evidence is there, and if the scales lie to me again, the scales are going in the fucking bin, and I’m getting different scales.
3. And you know what? You’re buoyed up. A bit more confident about your body. Pleased that you are trimmer. You’re slightly frightened by the nightmare/comedy potential of loose trousers at work, but could always rush out to the shops clutching your waistband and buy some string and go full tramp as a temporary measure.
4. Your wife is being slightly frosty about the School Run Mum comment from last week, and just to prove a point, she comes with you on the school run one day when she’s working from home. Linda, one of the School Run Mums comes over and complements your wife on how slim she’s looking: “We noticed HE (nods towards me. Oh, I’m a ‘he’ now, am I? Thanks a fucking bunch, Linda…) has lost some weight, and he said you were both dieting, but it’s obviously really working. We all want to know: What’s your secret?”. Wife no longer jealous, and now pleased as Punch that other women are jealous of how she’s looking.
5. You’re not thin. You’re still quite fat. But you have lost weight, and it doesn’t feel bad. You’re not hungry throughout the whole day, and you don’t feel the need to have late night snacks.
6. Your co-worker offers you an M&M, and you practically smack it out of their hand: “You know perfectly well that I’m on a diet, and have been since January, and just because you lunched it during the first week of February doesn’t mean you can drag me down into the Failure Cave with you”. They look shocked for a second (and you think “oh fuck, here comes the HR meeting”), but they mumble a sulky apology and back away. You’re fucking BADASS.
7. You start to think you can do without sugary food most of the time. It’s such an indulgent waste, isn’t it? Of course you can manage without it. It’s just a luxury for those moments where you need a reward, but you can take it or leave it. You’re better than this. You don’t need sugary baubles. You’re not wedded to frippery.
8. Coffee doesn’t taste so bad without sugar or milk. In fact you go for a whole week without even opening the bottle of milk. Then, one day, you haven’t got any leftovers to eat so you go for cereal as a breakfast. You open the bottle of milk and have a cheeky sip from the bottle. It’s oddly grainy and tastes sort of sickly-sweet, but also there’s a nasty aftertaste. You look at the expiry date. It’s last week. You have just drunk the beginnings of yoghurt. Fucking hell, it’s rancid milk!! This is one of the most disgusting things that has happened to you ever.
8. You don’t miss chocolate. You eat plenty of fruit. Your kid notices this and wants to eat more fruit and less sweets. You’re good with that. Your kid also insists that they’re on a diet too, and this remark bothers you. Your kid is far too young to have body issues. Fuck’s sake.
9. Trousers are loose. Shirts are baggier. You’ve spent so long avoiding some clothes because you’re afraid that your belly will slide into view every time you raise your arms more than 45° that there are parts of your wardrobe that are like forbidden zones. Now you are looking at some of these shirts and contemplating wearing them. You try on an old favourite you haven’t worn for years. The buttons do not strain. This is good, very good.
10. You begin to think that dieting might just be the new norm for you. From now on, it’s not ‘breaking the diet’ to have naughty food to eat. It’s bingeing, and it’s a thing to do on rare occasions, almost by accident.
11. But then you come home from work having had a shit day on the same day that your wife comes home from work having had a shit day. You really can’t be arsed to cook. She doesn’t want to cook either. You both look at each other, and like former alcoholics falling off the wagon, one of you says very shamefully, very quietly: “Takeaway?”
12. The devil on your shoulder sings the praises of one teeny-tiny takeaway meal that won’t make a difference. After all, the people in the adverts for takeaway apps look healthy and happy and have lots of friends… but the pious angel on your shoulder pleads with you to stay strong, and the Shame Nun starts cracking her knuckles. You mustn’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t buckle.
13. And this time, you don’t. Get thee behind me, Satan.
14. But what this makes you realise is that the future is not rosy. The diet is never going to be easy. You will be tempted. And there will be failures. Just not today. But the reprieve is only until tomorrow. Then it starts again from the beginning.
END OF WEEK STATUS:
10 weeks in, and there’s much to be proud of. But you’ve done 10 weeks of a diet before. What about 20 weeks? What about 30? Are you going to last until the summer? Are you going to last until Christmas? What about those weddings you’ve been invited to? You can’t do the diet at a wedding. Or that dinner party? You gonna cancel, or ring them up with your bloody dietary requirements like a twat? You just have to learn to adapt. You need to learn when you can break the diet, and when you can’t. A celebration? Sure. Every week? Absolutely not. New words need to be understood on a literal basis: Occasional. Special. Treat. A little treat now and then is good, but it has to be a treat, not a regular foodstuff. Your diet needs you to be strong, for weeks at a time, from now on. In fact, it can’t be seen as a ‘diet’ anymore. It’s now how you should be eating from now on. Your life depends on it.
WEIGHT LOSS AT THE END OF THE WEEK.
Wow. Yes, that’s a lot for one week. Hmmmm. You weight yourself again.
+1.5lbs. Wait a sec… that’s a difference of 7.5lbs. Aw FUCK. You suspect your bathroom scales have either been broken for the last 10 weeks, or they have been trolling you like a boss.
The bathroom scales go in the bin. New bathroom scales are sought. Maybe this should be Week One now? OK, let’s reset and start at the beginning again. Deep breath.
Diets do suck. They’re hard. But good health can no longer be taken for granted. You are in your 40s and you are a parent. Weight loss takes effort and willpower. It’s a long, dark road. Some days are going to be good, and some weeks are going to be bad. The end result is still going to be you, with all your flaws and personality defects, but for the first time in years – decades even – you will feel good about how you look and what you can achieve. You should be proud of how far you’ve come, and look to the future, when you can be amazed at what you are capable of. Don’t give in to temptation. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.