Weight-Loss Week Twelve- by Nigel McDermid
I emerge from woodland on the slope of a rugged fell. The shadows of clouds dance across higher ground while below me, distant waters glisten. All is well. And then the calm is broken. An eerie, almost ghostly wail rises slowly and dies amid the stoic peaks.
Down in Windermere yet another tourist has totted up the bill for afternoon tea.
I can sympathise.
I too did not escape unscathed on holiday – National Trust pricing and the need to buy sheep-shaped fridge magnets can turn even the shortest break into a costly affair.
But shod in sturdy footwear, I was mostly able to shun the bright lights and expense of Bowness to burn off a few calories among the hillsides. And walking, I’ve decided, is now my preferred option in raising activity levels as part of this Man Up lark. So although my wallet might be back home in Leeds badly bruised and thinner, I’m happy to say I lost a pound or two myself by hiking.
Gone are the days when I might have seen the Lake District as somewhere to idle away hours in some beer garden watching the tears of weeping tourists help fill Ullswater. I might once even have nurtured fantasies of opening my own little café or tea shop which I would have called The Cake District and I’d have grown fat on Grasmere Gingerbread and profit.
But I’m a changed man now – more boots than booze and walkers’ socks not Walkers’ crisps.
Yorkshire Man Up Lose Weight
By Nigel McDermid
This is a bit rich from a bloke who writes a blog for a website, you might think. But just because I’m getting thinner on this Man Up Lose Weight lark doesn’t mean I’m no longer a hypocrite.
When I was a simple Yorkshire lad, before the Internet, digital whatsits and smart phones, I didn’t have to worry about…
I’ll stop myself there because the intention of that last sentence was simply to employ the word Yorkshire. This blog is all to do with keywords, you see.
For example, if you Google-search using the words: “lose weight Leeds” this very website appears on Page One of Google. But type in the words “lose weight Yorkshire” and the Man Up site is well down the rankings. The consequence is that Danny has suggested I use the keyword Yorkshire in these blogs of mine whenever I can. The idea is to allow more people to learn about the services he offers by keyword promotion – or something like that.
Now, you might think my outrage would know no bounds at such blatant editorial interference – how can anyone suggest disturbing the flow of prose with intrusive insertions? But I’m not really that stuffed about it (I’ve worked in the past on the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, so It’s not like I’m some precious wordsmith – a fact I recall merely to use the word Yorkshire twice – or, hang about, three times now).
So, what is it, then, about our hi-tech age that has actually got on my Yorkshireman boobs (don’t overdo it – Ed) ?
What happened is that when I first tested this theory by typing the Y word in the search engine along with “lose weight” I came across a selection of fat person images among which is a grossly unflattering picture of me with my belly bulging like wet dough in a warm kitchen. It’s not what you’d call a pretty sight and that’s for sure. And I guess now I’m just doomed to haunt the Internet ether for eternity as some obese Yorkshire pudding, subject to the mocking taunts of hi-tech generations to come.
“Aye, but it’s let you use the word Yorkshire a good few times in just one blog thing,” a good pal points out.
Well, that’s fair enough then.
Job’s a good un, as they say in Yorkshire.
Weight-Loss Week Eleven- by Nigel McDermid
I was aged nine or ten when I first won a prize for athletic endeavour. My achievement was to have wandered the school gym with a plimsoll on my head. This was more remarkable than it might at first sound, on account of me also having been a target for classmates hurling heavy basketballs in my direction. The exercise had begun with all the lads walking about the gym floor and the PE teacher acting as sole chucker of basketballs. This was a task he took to with a relish that only a man with a deep hatred of schoolboys could muster. Each time a shoe fell off a head, that boy had to join the growing throng of throwers, except, of course, for those rendered unconscious on impact who were instead dragged to the sideline feet first, or so I recall. And so it went on until eventually I was the only one left with a plimsoll still balanced. Thus thus I was declared the winner. It was at this moment, I now realise, that I should have determined to take up skiing because, since that childhood triumph, my sporting career has been very much downhill.
Perhaps, though, it was the glory of being crowned pump-on-head champ all those years ago that forged a tolerance of the gym unusual amongst fellow fitness-shy fellas.
And that’s fortunate because, as part of my Man Up Lose Weight programme, I’m upping my activity levels and after a sorry trip to the swimming pool (see last week’s blog), I decided my next venture should be the gym.
And so it was I shuffled off to see my old pal Danny Thornton. Actually, he’s not old – but I’ve known Danny a lot of years. Now retired as a professional boxer, Danny has a gym in Oldfield Lane, Armley (www.leeds-gym.co.uk) which as well as being a boxing stable, is also home to an impressive fitness centre with all sorts of devices and weights to get you in shape. You can tone muscles there you’ve yet to hear of. There’s even an outside area with a fancy climbing frame and big tyres to throw about and stuff like that.
Now, you might expect me to have been a bit surprised, if not shocked, that on my arrival, there was not one person with a plimsoll on his head. But not a bit of it – it was less than a year since I’d last been in a gym so I was well enough versed in modern gym etiquette not to embarrass myself.
Happily, I’m also not over competitive, so don’t get upset that there are lads like Lee (see picture) at the gym who can bench press the equivalent of a mini-bus, while the heaviest thing I’ve managed to lift in recent years has been myself… off a sofa.
The important thing is to find an activity you like and I quite enjoy the gym. I have a routine that suits me, well enough. The other fellas get on with whatever workout it is that they do and I do what I do. I also now know thanks to Man Up Lose Weight not to use workouts as an excuse to stuff my face with calories. You don’t need a maths degree to work out that if you burn off 300 calories but eat an extra 400 as a reward then you’re still going to pile on the pounds.
Walking to work in Leeds
Here’s an interesting statistic gleaned from the I newspaper: Leeds city centre boasts the highest proportion of residents in the UK who walk to work. Admirable though this is, I can’t help but think that while the government pays lip service to encouraging us all to be more active, its contribution to this particular healthy lifestyle choice has been no more than under-investing in our transport system.
Weight-Loss Week Ten- by Nigel McDermid
You might have heard that before. How about: don’t be a fool, get in the pool; or: don’t be a clown, you’re not gonna drown.
Yes, this week I’ve been swimming.
They’re neither of them subjects I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past. Swimming I used to find a bit boring and slimming… well, until I signed up for this Man Up weight-loss lark, it’s not been top of my must-do list.
I did learn to swim as a lad, sort of. I tried front crawl, which I was OK at except for the breathing-in bit; breaststroke was the same, so I just kept my head up all the time, which hurt my neck a lot; I didn’t bother to fret about butterfly, which I think must have been invented out of lunacy and with backstroke the obvious problem is navigation. So I’m a doggy paddle kind of bloke.
Like I said, though, I’d not been swimming for a lot of years until this week.
But being on this Man Up Lose Weight programme, I’m upping my activity levels to new, er, levels, and having been told swimming is one of the best all-round form of exercise, I decided it was about time I gave it a go again. So off to the pool, I wandered.
My Man Up weight-loss programme isn’t primarily about doing loads of sport, of course, but I can see how it makes sense to be more active. The main thing is to find something you like doing and I’d been away from the pool long enough to have forgotten that I’d never been all that keen. I just wanted to re- test the water, so to speak. The memories were quick enough to come flooding back, though: that smell of chlorine; those soggy socks on the changing room floor; likewise, soggy arse when you sit on wet wooden bench slats. And then there’s the assault on sensibilities when, still sat on a bench, you turn your head and find yourself staring at male genitals being vigorously towelled dry mere inches from your face.
One other thing I had forgotten, was that my old trunks are a lot looser now I boast a trimmer waistline. No, I didn’t suffer the obvious indignity of losing my swimwear in the deep end while outraged young mums covered their eyes with outstretched palms. But I did have to be extra careful the shorts didn’t just slip down while I paraded about the poolside. I learnt one other thing too. Sadly, despite the weight loss, there’s apparently still some way for me to go before I attract admiring glances.
“But you didn’t start slimming out of vanity,” says wifey, not bothering to look up from her magazine as I pose in my swimming trunks in the front room.
“True,” I agree. “It’s about my health.” But I know deep down, there’s a little bit of vanity lurking in there too. It’s a subject that I’ll have to return to in another blog sometime soon. In the meantime, there is at least one plus to note about my swimming venture compared to the days of yesteryear. I no longer have to worry about walking home with wet hair.
I read that the food industry is fighting back against celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign for a sugar tax on soft drinks to help combat the obesity crisis amongst the young.
Jamie wants a 20p levy on every litre of soft drink containing added sugar. That would mean paying 7p extra for a 330ml can of Coca-Cola – money that could be used to widen education on healthy consumption.
The Food and Drink Federation says parents are best placed to make decisions about their kids’ diets. So shut it, Jamie, they yell.
Sounds like Coca-Cola is wasting billions, then, on promoting its products to us all if we already know what’s best.
Clearly, Jamie deserves our support. When the corporate lobby enjoys the ears of our politicians, the rest of us have to shout a little louder to be heard.
Man Up Lose Weight Diary
Recipe for success- by Nigel McDermid
As I’ve probably written before, this Man Up Lose Weight lark doesn’t involve strict calorie counting. It’s just about being aware of what you eat and making healthy choices. It’s about taking responsibility.
Cries, I’m beginning to sound like my son, Daniel.
“Of course, you are allowed to treat yourself now and then.”
Thank you Daniel.
When I started off on the Man Up Lose Weight programme, I wasn’t slow in grasping these principles but ingrained ignorance can still be a problem. It might be a surprise to you that I’m not always quite as smart as I’m sure you think I look.
For example, I thought a tortilla wrap was a healthy alternative to a slice of bread – because it’s thin I suppose – but the skinny blighter’s ram packed with calories, apparently.
“The clue’s on the packaging where it tells you the number of calories in it,” explains Daniel..
But then there’s wine. It doesn’t say anything on the bottles about calories or anything like that. Again, I didn’t know wine is as fattening as it is because you don’t have to drink as much of it as you do beer for the same result.
Happily, Danny has thought about this kind of minefield and, as well as all the brainwashing and mind magic stuff, he provides quite a bit of the more conventional weight-management material, like healthy menu advice..
This is very useful.
For example, I used to think if something had vegetables in it, then it was always going to be pretty damn healthy. Take spinach. I came across this livid green French dish called epinards aux oeufs, which is spinach and hard boiled eggs in a bechemal sauce. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece about this recipe for a newspaper, describing it, I think, as dragon vomit, which I thought was pretty funny.
There was a reader who thought differently, though, and he wrote a letter to the editor, the base of which was that I was a complete moron. Reading his words,, I thought the least I could do was give the dish another go. And you know what? It now tasted pretty good. I actually grew to love epinards aux oeufs and because the main ingredient is spinach I assumed it was also very healthy fare. But it’s actually more a kind of heart attack on a plate – loads of butter, milk and flour in the sauce. Of course, I should have guessed there were about a thousand calories in each spoonful by the way it settled in my belly like wet cement. And when the wife asks what I think of it and I say “mortar” she thinks I mean “more, ta” and wallops on a second helping. Obviously, I’m kidding about this last bit. (I had to fetch the second helpings, myself).
Anyhow the good news is I’m now a little wiser. So much so, in fact, that I thought I’d share the following recipe with you. It’s the sort of dish that not so long ago I’d have run (or at least shuffled) a million miles from. But, honestly, it is good. I nicked most of it from a Sunday magazine and thought I’d give it a go after I found a coconut in the fridge.
I smashed open the coconut with a brick and grated the white bit. And I boiled up some rice. There’s a sauce to add once you’ve cooled off the rice – this is a teaspoon of wine vinegar and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard with juice from a sweet orange. Add this sauce to the rice in a bowl along with the coconut then add some ready-to-eat clack beans, some raisins, some sliced apple, fresh mint, walnuts and more or less anything else you fancy that comes to hand (think pomegranate seeds, chopped celery, etc. not crisps or chocolate buttons). This kind of dish – quite unbelievably – is what I’ve grown fond of since being on the Man Up Lose Weight programme. You’ve still got to watch you don’t over do it. But I’m actually enjoying eating healthy stuff. More proof, I suppose that the Man Up Lose Weight mind programming has worked.
Weight-Loss Week Nine- by Nigel McDermid
My weight-loss guru Daniel McDermid has been invited to write a chapter for a new book which will be a compendium of treatments provided by various therapists. He tells me he is citing me as one of two case studies. I guess this is, primarily, because he thinks that being his dad, I might not sue him. Anyhow, he’s given me a preview of what he’s written so far and it says I tend not to take my conditions that seriously – that I’ve been a bit blasé about my health over the years. Well, I don’t know about that. I’m more of a worrier than a warrior, though I suppose I never spiralled into clinical depression just because I weighed more than a small horse or couldn’t pee over the roof of my car anymore (not while lying on my back, anyhow). Usually I let things get pretty bad before I decide that maybe It’s time I did something about it. And I think a lot of blokes are like that. And apparently that isn’t very clever. When I gave up smoking, for example, it was because I was gasping for air when climbing steps. So I started taking the lift instead. Finally I realised there was little option but to quit the fags. Everyone congratulated me on this decision (except other smokers) and one or two even suggested I should get a reduction on the premiums I was paying on a life insurance policy I had at the time. Chuffed by this news, at least, I made enquiries and was told I’d need to take a medical to check that I was telling the truth about stopping and wasn’t just some big lift-riding liar. And when the results came back they confirmed I had indeed given up tobacco but they then increased my premiums because they said it was now evident my general health was poor. I was shocked. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes you think, “I don’t know why I bother to try” and so for about 15 years I didn’t. Eventually I became so fat I felt someone was following me about only to discover it was my backside.
So finally I took responsibility for my health and signed up for this Man Up Lose Weight programme.
What I’ve learnt is that there’s no point blaming insurance companies for your health – never underestimate corporate indifference. In fact, there’s no point blaming anyone else for your health. It is up to you and me to sort ourselves out. And that is why I’m now a case study for weight-loss in this new book.
Man Up Lose Weight
My Ramblings -by Nigel McDermid
It’s a while since I’ve been able to stand next to a pig without attracting some comment, such as: “Hello Nige,” at which point the self-appointed jester switches attention from pig to Nig (me) and adds: “Ooops, sorry, Nige, easy mistake to make.”
So, imagine my delight at Meanwood Urban Farm in Leeds, yesterday, when despite being within snorting range of the pig pen no-one thought to suggest I resembled the prize porker rooting around in there. This, I like to think, had something to do with me now being a slimmer version of the man I once was. Or it might be that the only person nearby was my grandson, aged two, who has yet to master cutting-edge sarcasm. The rest of the family had wandered off to stare at goats.
This kind of outing is the sort of activity us veteran Man Uppers can indulge in on the way to a thinner self – it’s actually quite startling how much energy is demanded to mind a two-year-old in such surroundings. My energy levels have increased since beginning the Man Up Lose Weight programme.
Coincidentally, one of the most impressive physical feats I have ever achieved in life did, indirectly, involve pigs. It was when I was about nine years old. While others at school had jobs like chalk monitor, milk monitor etc, I was pig monitor. In those days, my school was close to a lot of farms, and one of the farmers had come to a dubious arrangement with the headteacher of securing left-overs from our school dinners for his pigs. Thus the school had two pig monitors whose task it was to carry the bucket of swill down the lane each afternoon and into the field where the pigs waited eagerly for whatever funky mixture we were lugging down to them. Some days it would be custard and sprouts, other days lumpy gravy and spotted dick. The pigs didn’t seem to mind. Some days we’d gob in I it too, which still made no difference to the pigs once we’d slopped the mess in their food trough. Then it was back to school. This was in the days when health and safety wasn’t high on West Riding County Council’s agenda so no one thought to tell my pig monitor pal or me that the new wire around the pig pen was electrified. Had I known, I’d have let my buddy go first and, for sure, not straddled it myself while wearing shorts. The grass was wet too. Had someone from The Guinness Book of Records been present at that moment, my name might now be there in print against “highest leap in history from standing start.” By the time I slumped back to earth like a dropped bag of spuds, I swear I’d looked down on tree-tops. The impact of landing, though, was nothing compared to the feeling my happy sacks had suffered, which was akin to them being clapped hard between a couple of heavy house bricks.
So, what, in the name of high voltage scrotums, has any of this to do with losing weight, you might wonder? Well, nothing much except that I asked our Dan what activity I might best take up as my Man Up Lose Weight programme progresses, he did suggest rambling.
Are you eating yourself towards developing diabetes?
Diabetes in the UK
The figures speak for themselves – and they’re alarming. The number of people being treated in the UK for diabetes is now more than 3 million – up 60 % in a decade. And the vast majority of the cases relates to Type 2 diabetes, a preventable condition. The main cause of Type 2 diabetes is obesity. It’s time to wise up and take responsibility. Prevention is always better than cure and Type 2 diabetes can be avoided by eating sensibly and taking reasonable exercise thus avoiding weight gain and over production of insulin. The condition can be reversed by adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing weight, though progress need to be monitored medically with blood sugar levels being checked regularly. It’s time to wise up; it’s time to Man Up Lose Weight in Leeds.