Week Six – “XXL.”

My feet are a UK size 9. About 15 years ago when I was in my late 30s I bought a pair of shoes that fitted perfectly; they were the most comfortable footwear I had ever worn up to that point and so decided to go back to the shop to buy another pair. It was only then that I realised I had inadvertently purchased a pair of size 10 shoes. It made me appreciate that for the best part of 20 years of my adult life I had been wearing footwear that was one size too small. It probably explains why my toes look like a portion of TGI Friday’s curly fries. Now there’s a thought that would put you off your dinner.

Now let’s fast-forward to around six months ago. I bought myself a new shirt but while the hanger said it was a size “XL” when I got it home I discovered it had been displayed incorrectly in the store and the label was in fact, a size “XXL”.


XL or XXL?


I thought if I were to put it on, I’d be buried; it would be like wearing a duvet cover. For a laugh I decided to try it on; guess what, it was perfect, the most comfortable shirt I’d ever worn. I thought it was just one of those things, a manufacturing anomaly, but to test the theory and without admitting this to anybody else, I bought myself a cheap XXL T-shirt and, lo and behold, it was perfect.

Had I made a ‘wonderful’ discovery and could start wearing comfortable well-fitted clothes or had I made a ‘disastrous’ discovery by realising that the fault is not with the clothing manufacturers or my inability to make proper purchases but with the fact that my body had grown from an XL to an XXL? Over the last six months, I have, “accidentally-on-purpose”, bought a small number of XXL garments including a new winter coat.

I’m now in a dilemma. If for the sake of argument, I lose 20lbs in weight, then it’s fair to say that my new clothes will, in fact, start to look like duvet covers and I’ll be forced into going back to my old clothes. If I don’t lose the weight then while I will have new clothes, I will have failed my mission, and my old clothes will still be uncomfortable. Don’t worry, I do know the right answer to this question (lose the weight and buy some new XL-sized clothes), but as things aren’t going brilliantly, I think I was looking for any excuse to stop dieting.

So how did last week go? I have no explanation why but I did manage to lose 3 lbs. Two people have told me that my face looks a little thinner (which I took to be a compliment as they could have said “less fat”). Also for the first time in probably two years, the belt holding my trousers up needs to be fastened on its smallest setting, or they’ll lower themselves to the point where I’ll look like a ‘gangsta’ rapper, “you get me?”


Continue to Week Seven – “Dooky.”


Week Five – “Desperate Measures.”

Another week goes by without a loss in weight. Things are now starting to get desperate and desperate times mean desperate measures. I reckon I have three choices:

  1. Accept defeat and all the disappointment that comes with that for the sake of starting to enjoy life by not worrying about the diet,
  2. Hope to contract a sickness bug which will make me ill but will probably result in a half pound weight loss,
  3. Adopt starvation mode where I consume the bare minimum to survive.

The way I see it, none of the above options are desirable, but there is clearly only one which would be the obvious way forward. So the next question is, where can I get myself a dose of gastroenteritis?

Continue to Week Six – “XXL.”

Week Four – “Hall Pass.”

It has been a sad and stressful week away from the world of food.

  • We had a two-year-old grandson with toxic tonsillitis,
  • Angela became the victim of some scumbag remote sim-swap identity theft,
  • We have a dog who’s become allergic to something to the point where his face swells up like a balloon,
  • Another dog who gashed one of his paws open and had to have it stitched (see picture below)
  • A daughter who decided to head-butt a wardrobe, winding up in accident and emergency.


Especially upsetting was the passing away of a much-loved uncle and, on the same day, an equally admired former work-colleague.

It is interesting to consider how this series of unfortunate events might have affected my diet. You could be forgiven for thinking that the difficulties would have naturally caused me to lose weight. You could equally be forgiven for thinking that I would have been tempted to allow the diet to temporarily take a back seat and pick it up again next week which would have resulted in a disappointing weight gain. The truth of the matter is that I ended up losing 1 pound; this was all the more surprising because, at the end of a rubbish week, Angela allowed me what I called a “dietary hall pass”. This meant we were able to have a guilt-free Kentucky Fried Chicken on Friday night and a takeaway curry on Saturday. She even said I could blame her for any consequences. I argued a strong case, saying that I couldn’t possibly go ahead on this basis and that a KFC meal would be completely infeasible and destructive to everything I have been trying to achieve. I offered to have a healthy salad or to cook a low-fat chicken meal but the Lady from Del Monte, “she say no”. Who am I kidding? Of course, the conversation did not go that way, and I metaphorically snapped her hand off. I couldn’t decide what we should have so I went for the ultimate-wicked-zinger-bargain-family-bucket-flame-grilled-popcorn-chicken-feast; Angela had the same. I turned them into healthy meals by ordering a side portion of coleslaw.

My official trainer and health coach (Angela) give me an old-fashioned “tongue lashing” this week. For those of you unfamiliar with this Yorkshire term, it is the equivalent of a “bollocking”. For those of you unfamiliar with that Yorkshire term, I was unceremoniously admonished. I have started to become more confident on the treadmill and began to run for short distances instead of fast walking all the time. Keyhole surgery operations on my left knee cartilage in years gone by have rendered my fitness vulnerable and it sometimes only takes a few hundred yards of running to force me to take a week off. That is what happened last Sunday as my cartilage decided to pop out for a good look round; my coach made it perfectly clear that running was not part of the deal. She later admitted that in my situation she would have done exactly the same in an effort to make faster progress, so it was clearly a case of “do as I say, not as I do”.

Here’s hoping for a better week next week.

George and Ivor – I dedicate this blog post to you both. You were wonderful men, full of humour and a pleasure to be around. I reckon I’m the only person to have known you both, but if there’s an afterlife, I’m sure you will already be getting on famously. I’m uncertain which of you will find it harder to get a word in edgeways.


Continue to Week Five – “Desperate Measures.”

Week Three – “Fat Club.”

In the office where I worked back in 2004, some of us attempted to lose weight after Christmas. I secretly referred to us as the “Fat Club” although strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be talking about it because, in the words of Tyler Durden, the first rule of Fat Club is that you don’t talk about Fat Club.


We were all asked to share diet tips that might have worked in the past. Here is a selection of personal guidelines which I told everybody about at the time, comments from my present-day self are written in italics afterwards:

  1. I reduced chocolate to one biscuit and one bar per week, I would chop up a Mars Bar into 7 chunks and have one each day! Is it possible to have a seventh of a Mars bar without going back for more?
  2. Oven chips, not deep fried. Yeah, right!
  3. If you eat sausages, buy the low-fat variety because they taste better. No, they don’t!
  4. Cheese can be very fattening, and low-fat cheese is disgusting. So don’t buy low-fat cheese then!
  5. Eat more fruit (and to a lesser extent vegetables). Boring!
  6. Get boiled rice instead of fried rice from the Chinese takeaway! Or avoid the Chinese takeaway altogether?
  7. Avoid stealing the kids’ sweets and jellies, it’s difficult, but it’s only fair. Thank goodness they have all left home now.
  8. Above all, you have to treat yourself once a week. I refused to give up a Saturday night Indian takeaway or meal out.  It gives you something to look forward to, and if you stick to the rules during the week, you don’t feel guilty. Now that’s a rule I can stick to.
  9. Allocate three days a week to “no alcohol days”. A man cannot survive on water alone.
  10. 30 sit ups, 25 press ups and 50 star jumps 4 times a week. Never gonna happen!
  11. Whenever you go up some stairs, run up them or take them two at a time. That’s a bit tricky when the cartilage keeps popping out of your ageing left knee.
  12. Do housework really quickly. Oops, I’d better start doing some housework.


You can probably tell from the implied sarcasm in the responses to my former self that regarding weight loss, I have not had a great week. Despite working harder on the treadmill and having cut down my portion sizes, I found that I was exactly the same weight at the end of the week as I was at the start. It sometimes feels as though I only need to look at a picture of a recipe or to drive past a fish and chip shop to instantly put on another pound.

Angela once told me that as you exercise, you build more muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat so even though there is less fat in the body it is possible that you would still weigh more. I’m not too sure if that theory pans out after just four 30-40 minute sessions on a treadmill.

Struggle on.

Continue to Week Four – “Hall Pass.”