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:
- 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?
- Oven chips, not deep fried. Yeah, right!
- If you eat sausages, buy the low-fat variety because they taste better. No, they don’t!
- Cheese can be very fattening, and low-fat cheese is disgusting. So don’t buy low-fat cheese then!
- Eat more fruit (and to a lesser extent vegetables). Boring!
- Get boiled rice instead of fried rice from the Chinese takeaway! Or avoid the Chinese takeaway altogether?
- Avoid stealing the kids’ sweets and jellies, it’s difficult, but it’s only fair. Thank goodness they have all left home now.
- 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.
- Allocate three days a week to “no alcohol days”. A man cannot survive on water alone.
- 30 sit ups, 25 press ups and 50 star jumps 4 times a week. Never gonna happen!
- 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.
- 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.