Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The only way is up - Part One

Another day, another diet, at worst another con trick, at best another silly gimmick. Diets, diets, diets. Something has to be done to stop people falling for the magic tricks of the con artists who dream them up. It might be time for the B-Plan. The Beevo Plan. The only plan you will ever need. 

But you're not going to like it. 

It won't make any newspaper headlines, it won't be something to wow your friends with. It's not a 4/3, 5/2, intermittent, no carb, protein-only designer diet. It's very boring. You just lose a massive amount of weight in a short space of time and it stays off. Sorry. I wish I could make it more interesting or give it a trendy name.

Fad diets are aimed at people who think they'll run faster if they wear expensive running gear. What little effect it does have is usually psychological. Because you're kitted out with designer stuff, you might feel more up for running and indeed initially you might see a difference in your time or performance. But it won't last.

Just like you might see early weight loss on a fad diet but that won't last, either. That, of course, doesn't matter to the snake oil salesmen who dream up these useless diets. All they need is for you to lose weight in the first week, then when you fail to progress with further weight loss, they can blame you for not sticking to it properly. Then they'll dream up another trick to con you with.

If you told yourself you were determined to lose weight and changed nothing, you would probably lose some weight in the first week. That's because subconsciously your attitude towards food changed. You were, without realising it, more disciplined in your eating. But this will fade and you will then stop losing weight. That's the same way fad, trendy diets work. They make the headlines or the magazine cover and capture your imagination but soon they have no effect at all. And you can't stay on them forever so what happens when you come off? Even without returning to your old bad habits completely, you'll still find the weight you lost creeping back on.

No. Sorry. I'm afraid it's boring and simple. I lost eight stones in 12 months that's a third of my original bodyweight by watching what I ate, what quantities I ate and by exercise. And it's staying off. Tedious, isn't it? There's not even a fancy name for it. Not even some "leading nutritionist professor", from a clinic which probably only exists on the internet, to explain the science ("It must be good, cos I don't understand a word of what he just said"). No Hollywood endorsements. No glamour. Just massive weight loss. Boring.

Boring, but amazing. I'll talk you through what I did and you follow me and the same thing will happen to you. Guaranteed. There's nothing special about me. I'm not prone to easy quick weight loss or I would never have got to 24 stones in the first place.

But that's what I was last January. Then I decided to do something about it. My spur, my inspiration, was the loss of my wife Diane to breast cancer last February. Last January, about this time, it became obvious to both of us she had more than just one of those winter bugs that were knocking about. I think Diane knew then that something was seriously wrong and yet she
kept insisting she was feeling better each day. Perhaps she was terrified of being told the truth.

When she died on February 6, I was not only a wreck emotionally, I was a physical wreck, too. I had watched the woman I had shared over a third of my life with fade away, cruelly snatched from me by this cursed disease.

It took me a while to get my head around what I had to do. In the weeks following the death of a loved one, particularly when that loss leaves you on your own, there are two ways you can go. It's touch and go which path you choose. You might think now, as you consider how you would react in the same position, that you be strong enough to get through it, but trust me you cannot possibly know until you are there. It's scarily easy to crumble.

In the end, I simply refused to allow myself to become The Sad, Fat Old Man Who Lives In The Corner House. The one the kids throw grit at the windows to annoy him and to get him to come to the door, shaking his stick at them to chase him off.

I could have become that person. But how would that have made Diane feel? I had been given the opportunity to spend the rest of my life paying tribute to her and keeping alive her memory. How could I do that if I slid into a self-pitying, self-loathing shell of a man living in a pit of depression.

I realised she hadn't gone. Cancer might have destroyed her body, but it couldn't touch the part of her that made her special and what made us special together. That spirit of me WITH Diane, the woman I adored, was still in my head and my heart. She was still guiding me. And it was still my duty to make her proud. Still my duty not to let her down.

And so, with her help, I chose to look up instead of down. And I joined a gym...


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