Leeds Weight-Loss Blog Twenty- by Nigel McDermid
Ah. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. The distant sound of sleigh bells signals the start of the festive feeding frenzy once more – that time of year when ad chiefs expect us to eat at least our own body weight in mince pies.
It’s a tough month to stay slim and trim, and that’s for sure, let alone actually to lose some weight.
Happily, though, I’m of an age when it’s compulsory to complain about contrived jollity. So all those celebrity chefs who think chocolate sprouts and party poppers constitute festive cheer can go whistle.
And this, of course, is exactly the kind of attitude that should make it easier for me to forego gluttony and not actually explode at the Yuletide dinner table.
Yet it’s not so much the twinkling pyramids of Ferrero Rocher or tinkling of rich cream sherry bottles that threaten to unstitch the resolve of many a slimmer like myself – it’s more the torpor of wintry days.
By wintry days, I don t mean crisp, white snow, and rosy cheeks glowing in pine-fresh alpine air; I mean standing at the bus stop in horizontal rain with your lips turning blue. This latter example of Yorkshire weather is enough to keep many folk indoors, seeking comfort in front of the telly with industrial quantities of cheesy Doritos for company.
Such was the case for me on Sunday, though being on the Man Up Lose Weight programme, I felt obliged to give the cheesy Doritos a miss.
Naturally, by early evening I’d more or less lost my mind.
In a brief moment of lucidity, though, I managed to observe that at least 80 per cent of men in the background shots on Antiques Roadshow are either bald or bearded or both. And the rest wear Panama hats. At this point had an open-barrel of mulled wine been present I’d have gladly jumped in head-first and drowned myself rather than learn the value of a stuffed owl or Winston Churchill’s skipping rope.
But, of course, there will be many who love Antiques Roadshow and other such programmes. And that’s just fine.
All I’m trying to say is that it’s a good idea for dieters to plan ahead to avoid instances of delirium-induced food or booze binges. Or mulled wine drownings.
For myself, I’m thinking, wet or windy as the weather might be, I’d be best advised from now on not to veg out on the settee for any longer than eight hours at a stretch.
You might remember a month or so back, the “trolling” of Sean O’Brien, who has since become known as the Dancing Man.
Liverpudlian Sean hit the headlines after being secretly filmed on a night out with mates. Sean took to the dance floor and had a great time only for his efforts to be cruelly ridiculed because of his weight by some some anonymous tweeters. Happily, many others came to Sean’s defence. Support for the 47-year-old poured in from around the globe, including from a group of women from California who invited Sean on a trip to the States. I learnt a lot of this from an article Sean wrote for The Guardian newspaper (4/07/15). After reading the piece, I’d like to offer my congratulations to Sean for the way he has refused to let the bullies destroy him. Now, I daresay there are those who might raise an eyebrow at my admiration for Sean, being as I am someone who encourages people to lose weight. If so, they miss the point. My job is to help people’s psychological and physical well-being. Clearly, Sean has an inner strength and set of values that many others would benefit by adopting. As for his weight – well, yes that remains an issue in Sean’s life. The fact remains he really would be better off if physically if he shed a few stone. That doesn’t make him a bad person and it certainly doesn’t merit him being mocked just as no fat person deserves to be ridiculed. I suspect that as well as there being an obvious physical benefit, Sean would also realise there was a psychological benefit too. But that is for him to decide. The fact remains that physical and mental issues are very much intertwined. People with weight issues should understand they have the capability to take responsibility and deserve to make that change for their own sake – not for anyone else’s.
Lose Weight Dad
I face a big challenge next week. A massive challenge, even.
My father has announced it might be a good idea if he “tones up a bit.”
And so he’s joining my ‘Man Up Lose Weight’ weight loss programme.
“I daresay, it’ll do me no harm to drop a pound or two,” he chuckled.
“You need to lose five stones,” I told him.
If you live in Leeds or, for that matter, just about anywhere in Yorkshire, you might have witnessed the white flash and mushroom cloud of righteous indignation that immediately erupted. Once sunlight returned the old fella was left spluttering and bewildered: “You trying to say I’m fat or summat?”
My dad is one of that breed of bloke whose numbers in Britain add up to millions, who most of the time are content to regard themselves as a solid lump of muscle with a thinly applied coating of fat to keep them warm in winter.
And if they’re happy to think that, the question has to be asked: who am I to deny them that delusion?
Well, I’m not the most beloved chap in town is the polite answer.
But I don’t go about telling folk they’re fat and that they need to lose weight. I don’t have to. Most already know it but are in denial. The hard truth sticks up its head for them every so often in family photographs, unexpected glimpses in a shop window or chest pains when unwrapping a tightly wrapped ice cream. It’s those uncomfortable moments that prompt some to recognise it might be time to do something about their weight.
And that’s when I tell them bluntly: “Yes, it is.”
But I don’t mean losing a measly pound or two. I mean getting that individual down to an ideal weight for his or her height and frame.
And the process is straightforward; it’s a simple matter of taking responsibility. All I expect is that clients follow my instructions.
Now, as you might imagine following my instructions doesn’t come as second nature to my old man and that’s what I mean by the massive challenge looming. But I’m confident of success. We’ve already cleared one hurdle – that being his concern that at pushing 60 he’s too old to start fretting about his figure and lose weight.
“The fat’s round your belly not between your ears.”
Of course, he’s not too old to think about his well-being. I can reel off reasons by the dozen for achieving an ideal weight – but I start by mentioning knees.
“You’re a human being not a forklift truck. You’re not designed to carry excess timber. Once your knees go you’re going to be in a whole lot more trouble…” I list a few of the possible consequences: pain, immobility, depression etc.”
I chose to rattle on about knees because my father has a good pal who might politely be described as portly whose own eroded condyloid joints have left him is a sorry state. And because of his weight, surgery is a particularly dangerous proposition.
My father has taken note without me mentioning all the other dangers of obesity.
We start his weight-loss programme next week and I’ve invited him to report on his progress on this site. So, watch this space and watch him lose weight.
A sad report in the news this week was that of the death of Britain’s heaviest man.
RIP Carl Thompson.
Carl was aged just 33. He weighed more than 65 stone when he died at his home in Dover, Kent.
Mr Thomson’s death follows the demise last December of Londoner Keith Martin, who at 70 stones, was said to have been the world’s weightiest man. His death came at the age of 44.
Of course, such tragedies are going to make headlines in the prurient press but one important issue that both cases raise is the role played by cheap, calorie-packed junk food in having helped both men to balloon to such enormous sizes. Inevitably, their deaths have led to more calls for certain foods to be taxed punitively or even banned. I can see why such calls are made, but I find myself unable to lend my support to those in authority wanting to impose bans. And that’s for a number of reasons, but not least because I believe in the importance of free will. I believe that once people recognise they have a choice, then they have the intelligence to grasp responsibility for themselves.
The sooner an individual accepts that he or she has responsibility for those health issues within their control, the healthier and happier they are likely to be. Growing fatter tends to affect people’s mental well-being which can lead to anxiety, which in turn encourages many individuals to turn to comfort eating – and so the cycle continues.
The cases of Mr Thomson and Mr Martin were, undoubtedly, extreme and earlier opportunities to tackle fairly obvious problems were clearly missed. The two men’s predicaments do demonstrate the importance of competent guidance and addressing issues of obesity at the earliest stages possible. One thing is for sure: it doesn’t include providing the wherewithal to maintain such colossal weights, ie the consumption of 10,000 to 20,000 calories a day.