Over the last year I have lost a total of about 3 stone in excess blubber. It's a bit of an understatement to say I'm pleased about this.
Being overweight is awful. I found I'd kid myself that I was alright with it or pretend that it was worth it because you can eat food and drink beer whenever you fancy but the truth is that if you could press a magick button to rid yourself of it you would. EVERYONE who is overweight would press that button I think.
I started dieting around this time of year and carried it through all 2011. The weight loss was gradual and not done in the usual dramatic fashion I've managed in the past with the atkins diet. Instead of that I went (on the advice of my mate from Kerrang, Kate Lawler,) to 'Slimming World'.
When I first went to Slimming World I was expecting something like it's more famous rival Weight Watchers. Instead I felt like I'd stumbled into some sort of cult. They had their own, almost impenetrable, language with terms like "Red Days" and "Green Days" and "Extra Easy" and "Syns" and so forth. I didn't really understand what I was supposed to be doing so I asked one of the other people, she gave me my diet template:
HAVE CARB DAYS where you eat only cabohydrates and a little (if any) protien.
HAVE PROTEIN DAYS where you eat only protein and a little (if any) carbohydrate.
NO BREAD, ever.
I thought perhaps she was being a bit overzealous with the bread rule. However a series of weird coincidences made me think twice. Firstly I was listening to The Collings and Herrin podcast a while back and they were talking about how eating bread during the Ed Festival had piled the pounds on them a bit. Then secondly I went to see Toby Hadoke performing in Manchester. He did a little routine he was working on about bread, the slut of all foods, because "it goes with anything". He was trying to cut it out also. That was enough for me, I didn't need to be told more than three times.
What all of the above has led to is a sort of compromise version of the atkins diet where I'm giving myself occasional days off where I'm allowed pasta and vegetables. Over the last 12 months I've had only a couple of slices of bread, usually in error.
However, as any dieter knows, half of the battle is psychological and it's here that the "Slimming World" group came into its own. It's a bit like I suspect alcoholics anonymous meetings are in that you sit round with a load of people who are determined to stop being who they've become. You sit there and really consider the fact that you must stay the course and lose weight. This comes after you've been ceremonially weighed. Most people don't hang around after being weighed for the meeting but I find it the most useful part of the process.
The leader of the group I went to was likeable but she had a picture that helped me enormously during 2011. It was of a bunch of 7 flowers. One of them was damaged, she would always make the point that if you had a vase with 7 flowers and one was damaged would you throw them all away? Nope, you'd just forget about the one that was wrong and keep the other 6. These flowers were like the days of the week. Failing on one day to keep to your diet did not mean you had to throw away the whole week. For some reason that really made sense to me and helped when I dropped the ball here and there.
Good luck if you're starting on a diet right now. Hope the above entry is of use.
PICTURE: My protein breakfast today inspired this entry. It's a sharing platter from Asda! Cool eh? Olives, meat and dried tomatoes.