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.
Leeds Weight-Loss Week Nineteen- by Nigel McDermid
This morning my weight was down to 15 stone for the first time in… well, I don’t know how many years – certainly before I was even on nodding terms with kilograms. (For the record, 15 stone equals 95.2 kg.)
But although schooled in Yorkshire’s olden days, I’ve been happy enough, in recent times, to become vaguely acquainted with metric stuff.
It’s provided me with a few extra round-numbered milestones (or their metric equivalent) on my weight-loss journey. For example when I dropped to 16 stone, I set my next target as being 100 kg (15 st 10 lb). Now I want to be 200 lb and then the easier step down will be to 90 kilograms. And then I’ll have 14 stones in my sights. I know this might seem to be over-complicating matters a bit and I hope I don’t come over as being too OCD – it’s just that setting targets seems to work for me. And I daresay I’m not alone.
One upturn of this mix-and-match approach to measurements occurred the other day when I endeavoured to prove I am indeed a master baker, as wifey suggests. Hauling out the old kitchen scales to make buns, I used imperial measurements for some ingredients and metric for others and so was able to produce buns with the unexpected texture of tennis balls. And in the true spirit of weight-lossology this ensured any temptation to take on board excess calories in some hog-like sponge-fest was happily averted.
Don’t hesitate Danny McDermid if you have any questions regarding Man Up Lose Weight and Leeds weight-loss
Leeds Weight-Loss Week Eighteen
by Nigel McDermid
My old typewriter could churn out claptrap like a champion while computers merely provided new tools to spellcheck this never-ending stream of twaddle.
And then I was made redundant.
Never again, I assumed, would my opinion be sought on matters I know nothing about.
Unless I went into politics, of course.
But then I started this blog and old dilemmas arose once more.
“I wouldn’t fret,” said wifey. “There are probably not enough people going to be reading your blogs to worry too much.”
A silence descended and I accepted her words with quiet dignity.
Until last week that is.
Someone had read one of my blogs and emailed me to ask my thoughts on the merits or otherwise of a tax on sugar.
Wifey sighed and asked what my opinion was going to be.
And so for the next half hour I briefly reminded her of my resolution to eschew all pomposity and high-minded pontification and leave such issues to the vanity of others.
“So if you don’t know the answer, what are you going to write about?” she wondered.
I considered this carefully.
Happily, I was able to tell her I had no reason to indulge in opinion as I had a simple yet interesting weight-loss observation to relate instead.
“Did you know,” I asked her, “that your hands shrink when you lose weight?”
I could see she was impressed.
This revelation came to me when my wedding ring slipped off my little finger the other day as I fumbled for car keys. Logic might have told me that the reason it had been on my little finger in the first place was that the correct finger it should have been on had grown too fat many a year ago. Now I don’t know if I’d simply assumed that hands never stop growing as you get older – after all I had an auntie in her nineties with hands like bananas and she was otherwise pretty thin. But anyhow, I hadn’t associated my own sausage-like mitts with anything to do with obesity.
Of course, I checked all this out on various websites once the ring fell off.
And, happily I’m able to present fact over supposition: yes, your hands can lose weight.
I’m not saying I now have the dainty digits of, say, Kylie Minogue or the Countess of Grantham as she summons some brilliantined servant with a subtle twist of the wrist – but were I to be asked my opinion on any matter of shimmering significance, I could confidently scratch my head using a paw less Baloo-like than was the case a mere month or so back.
It’s not much of an incentive to lose weight, I know – just one of life’s little facts.
Weight-Loss For Men
by Nigel McDermid
The other day I received an email from our Danny’s pal Weight Loss Master Steve Miller, who like Danny is a hypnotherapist. He specialises in weight loss for women and you’ve probably seen him on TV, if you watch daytime stuff like Loose Women. Anyhow, being a sort of diligent researcher, I get sent his round-robin messages on a regular basis to help keep up to date with things of a hypno nature.
And this week Steve was banging on about stress.
Steve writes: “Recently, I worked with a lady who had just had her 50th birthday. She explained to me that she would impulsively eat when she felt stressed.”
I know how she felt.
Feeling anxious? Have a pizza. Feeling worried? Neck some Guinness.
I’m aware nowadays that this is not really the answer. It might seem obvious but for a long time I ignored the truth that comfort eating or boozing only compounds problems . (Stepping on the scales might have been a bit of a clue).
But therapists like Steve and Danny are able to address other people’s troubles by coaching them to recognise and be aware of their impulses. And they help people to precisely identify their worries because I’m told that quite often unease about one thing is secondary stress – in other words the anxiety springs from some other primary trouble. These various sources of anxiety can manifest themselves in all kinds of symptoms from compulsive eating to depression. And that is why hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy can claim to address such a wide range of conditions and strengthen our overall wellbeing.
One other thing I found out this week: I’m not a psychopath. I learnt this from reading Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test. And if you’re worried yourself that you might be a psychopath – don’t be – apparently psychopaths aren’t anxious about the condition.
The book provides a handy glimpse into madness and it turns out that although we’re all probably a bit demented, happily, we’re not all psychopaths (even if there are more of them about than you might want to imagine).
But if you’re anything like me you’ve probably got enough to fret about without wondering who you know who’s a psychopath. At least now we don’t have to heat up a pie or open a bottle just to calm down.
Weight-Loss Week Sixteen- by Nigel McDermid
It might have been The Great British Bake Off or maybe my trip to Harrogate when I gazed through the windows of Betty’s tea rooms. Anyhow, whatever the inspiration, I found myself in the kitchen last week firing up the old oven and greasing down the cake tins.
The results were – though I say it myself – pretty impressive.
First out was a Victoria Sponge that would have had Mary Berry high-fiving me, had she bothered to turn up.
Next day I made a chocolate cake, ably assisted by my 2-year-old grandson, who was in charge of the mixing spoon. With Mary Berry making another no-show, I had to make do with removing grandson from kitchen and glorying at the sound of silence; I imagined a giddy Sue Perkins squealing – her pitch just too high for the human ear – such was her delight at my chocolaty creation.
But, you might well be wondering, what is a man such as myself doing baking cakes.
The answer is: educating myself.
Now I’m not so daft as to have been unaware cakes are not generally regarded as health food staples but it wasn’t until I baked one myself that I realised just what belly-busting ingredients go into them.
I learnt, for example, that the amount of butter in a Victoria sponge is enough to pan fry a cathedral and then there’s the sugar, not to mention flour aplenty, as well as the eggs and the milk, plus the filling – jam and whipped cream. The thing’s a calorie time bomb, for goodness sake.
So I only had a small slice.
You see, as I keep saying – on the Man Up Lose Weight programme you’re allowed a treat. It’s all about responsibility. But the valuable thing here, is gaining the knowledge to make informed decisions.
And so we need to learn.
By way of example, ponder the following question: “What is the most dangerous animal in the world?”
Answer: A chimpanzee with a machine gun.
The point is that the chimp is wick enough to know how to squeeze the trigger but he doesn’t appreciate that by doing so he might resolve the zoo’s over-staffing crisis quicker than he expected.
Likewise, I might have known cake was a bit fattening but did I truly appreciate by just how much? No I did not.
Now, I’m not suggesting that a home-baked Battenburg is as deadly as, let’s say an M16 automatic assault weapon but I am saying that cakes need to be treated with caution. Too many slices and you could blow up.
And just as human beings, even some Americans, can be taught that guns are dangerous, so too can we learn that eating the “wrong” things is not without consequence.
But like I said, the Man Up programme, doesn’t say no to treats and so I did have that slice. The difference between me and the old Nige, though, is that I didn’t then just guzzle down both cakes like some mad guest at an armed chimps’ tea party.
So learning is good. And I guess that means folk like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who campaigns for kids to learn about food and cooking in school, deserve all the support we can muster.
Weight-Loss Week Fifteen- by Nigel McDermid
But I knew what he was getting at – I was no longer quite the ale cart he once knew. And I sensed this irritated him, especially when I declined to move on to another boozer to meet up with some more fellas.
“Well, we’ll catch up again some time soon,” he said, swilling down the rest of his pint before hauling himself off the barstool and adding, “…maybe when you’re off this weight-loss diet lark of yours.”
He threw me a pitying look and shook his head.
Clearly, I had betrayed the brotherhood of beer – I was a disgrace to the uniform (belly-hugging t-shirt and trackie-bottoms).
But there you go.
I got to thinking back to when I was younger and a pal of mine, known as Fat Terry left Yorkshire. When he returned some years later, the jolly joker had lost about half his body weight; he was no longer Fat Terry. It soon got around, he was also no longer the fun-loving fella we’d all loved.
There were comments like, “He were happier when he were Fat Terry.”
“I preferred the old Terry. He were a right laugh.”
Poor new Terry. How we came to pity him with his great-looking girlfriend and top job.
We all preferred that old Terry. We knew he’d been happier in the old days, despite what he said. He must have been pressured into changing his lifestyle because of society’s expectations – forced into conforming.
And so it goes today. There are some fat people who see themselves as rebels – standing up against body-fascism; refusing to bow to health freaks and the think-thin storm troopers. Freedom for Fatties and all that.
But isn’t joining the militant wing of the Right-to-be-Fat brigade just an observation of a different set of rules? Conformity dictated by another set of values? Fat values.
It’s like us telling Fat Terry he was happy being fat. The truth is, I guess, we were happy for him to be fat. Maybe it just made us feel better about ourselves.
Terry, though, had the courage to defy us.
Twenty Stone Weight Loss by an Incredible Woman
Dee has lost more than 20 stones with the help of one of my pals and mentor, TV hypnotherapist Steve Miller.
I know for a fact that Dee is delighted with her success and that Steve is proud of her achievement too.
And with good reason. Dee tipped the scales at 37 stones when she came to Steve in desperation, all previous efforts to lose weight, including surgery, having failed. Dee was morbidly obese and had even tried having her jaws wired together in an attempt to curb her over eating. It wasn’t until she sought help from Steve, though, that she finally began her journey back to a healthy weight, through hypnosis. Dee still has another few stones to lose before she is at her ideal weight but after losing 20 stones there’s little doubt she’ll get there soon enough.
It’s a cheering tale of weight loss and one that I hope will act as an inspiration to others to seek help, rather than suffering in the belief that nothing can be done about their weight issues. Remember people can change.
This isn’t awkward
Man Up Lose Weight
Comic actor Nick Frost crossed my mind a couple of times the other day. The first time was when I was in the Leeds branch of Waterstone’s bookshop and I noticed a poster announcing he was due to visit the store to promote his memoirs, Truths, Half-truths & Little White Lies.
I thought to myself “that’s the bloke of that excellently-titled movie, Man Up.”
I later googled him and found I was wrong – the actor I was thinking of was Frost’s comic buddy, Simon Pegg. And then, by coincidence, Nick caught my attention a second time when he appeared that very same evening as a guest on BBC 1’s The One Show. It occurred to me then that Nick if not in Man Up should be on my Man Up programme. He could do with losing a few stones. This isn’t me being unnecessarily cruel, it’s just my contention that for his own well-being he needs to be slimmer. Ironically, one of the topics on The One Show that evening was obesity in the UK and as a doctor sat on the couch besides Nick she explained many problems faced by fat folk in Britain if they don’t lose weight .
“This isn’t awkward,” joked Nick, dwarfing the doc next to him. It was a funny quip under the circumstances. But it was also at least a little bit awkward. I suspect that the actor has reached a stage in his career where being fat now seems to be an integral part of his identity. This may be an excuse not to lose weight .
He copes with being fat by being funny.
My point here is that he could be slim and still be funny; he doesn’t need to be trapped in his current condition simply to satisfy his fans’ expectations. Clearly, he is aware of his weight issue but laughs it off, though I recognised in his face during the interview slight signs that he was uncomfortable. It was an expression I suspect with which many folk with weight problems are familiar. My simple message is that people can change and that becoming a healthy weight is not an insurmountable problem. And that fact applies no matter who you are.
Weight-Loss Week Fourteen- by Nigel McDermid
I’m guessing that if I were to be put in charge of UK food production a lot of folk would lose a lot of weight. Which would be a good thing. Many more would most likely starve to death.
I base this calculation on the output of my garden on a national scale. While the brambles to the side of my house seem to thrive on neglect and have therefore produced their usual bumper crop of blackberries, the raspberry canes I planted a bit randomly have provided enough fruit to make about a spoonful of jam.
And my mint plant seems to have become a nettle.
Probably it’s about time for a horticultural rethink.
I need to be out there digging and lopping and, er, chopping up things.
Time for weight loss.
Not only would getting out in the garden help keep me physically active (a part of the Man Up Lose Weight ethos, as we now all know) but it would have the added benefit of providing me and wifey with a ready supply of fresh, healthy food.
Already, I’m imagining rows of ripening porridge plants and baskets full of beans that haven’t even heard the words, tomato sauce.
It wouldn’t be my first foray into growing veg, though. Many moons ago back in the days when allotments weren’t trendy, I used to have a plot. Admittedly, my annual harvests ranged from disappointing to very disappointing but I did manage to till the soil for a few seasons. Onions were my best crop. My enthusiasm waned, though, the day I stuck my arm down a hole that ran under a large clod of earth and on pulling it back out I found a dozen or so tiny, pink baby rats clinging to my flesh and squeaking madly. Actually, I don’t remember if they were squeaking or if it was just me screaming but it’s the kind of thing that tests one’s enthusiasm. And sadly my commitment to the soil sort of lapsed.
But I feel now is the time for change.
I sense a keener, leaner, greener Nige emerging. I feel… Oh hang about, it’s raining.
Weight-Loss Week Thirteen- by Nigel McDermid
For example, were I to win a raffle to knee George Osbourne in the nuts every day for a whole week, I’d have to decline the prize even though it might mean disappointing millions.
So being a benign and well-balanced sort of fella, how is it that I can read a book containing torment, torture and distress most vile?
I’ve just finished The Orenda by Joseph Boyden and my toes are now so curled up I’ve dropped two sizes in shoes. The novel is about the French settlement of Canada in the 1600s and includes accounts of battles between Huron and Iroquois tribes and the torture of prisoners, including the roasting alive of priests over hot embers.
Here are a couple of passages relating to the treatment of two captive warriors:
“He’s putting himself into a trance. I push him into the hearth so that he’s forced to walk right through the fire. I can hear the skin of his legs sizzling…”
“I walk over to the younger of the two who continues to sing his death chant, the skin of his back stinking from the heat of the ashes upon which he lies. His chant has allowed him too to enter his trance…”
Now you might well be wondering what all this has to do with weight loss.
And the answer is not a lot, except that since being hypnotised, with the aim of losing several stones, I’ve become intrigued by the wider issues of hypnotherapy. And one aspect I find particularly fascinating is the capability of induced trance to block out pain.
I quiz our Danny on this very matter and he points out that pain is nature’s way of informing us we are in physical danger. Thus, if my slippers caught fire, for example, the subsequent pain would alert me that it would be a pretty good idea to put out the flames rather than admire them slowly dancing up my pyjama bottoms and burning my legs off. In other words my subconscious wants to protect me and I would, in all likelihood, react to my blazing pyjama situation quite spectacularly. It is hard to overcome this instinct – but it’s not impossible and there might be situations when it is desirable to negate pain. For example, if the unconscious mind can accept what it would otherwise perceive as physical peril to be of actual benefit then procedures such as, dentistry and surgery, can be performed without the use of anaesthetics. In the case of torture, a victim in trance able to persuade the unconscious that mutilation or death is inevitable can render the sensation of pain redundant, particularly if he or she considers the body to be no more than a vessel for the soul.
So there you go, all interesting stuff.
At the very least it’s an indication of the power of the mind and it has been demonstrated in practice on numerous occasions.
But by comparison, It makes losing a few stones of fat seem like a stroll in the park.