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To Begin With…
When I was a much younger man, the only pounds I ever had to worry about were the ones that should have been in my wallet. ‘Fat’ wasn’t a word that was ever used in connection with me. I was the living embodiment of ‘tall’ and ‘skinny’.
Even in my twenties, when I was mostly living on a diet of pizza and beer, where most people have a ‘bottom’ I had a ‘place where my legs met’. Girls would tell me how lucky I was. Guys would question my ability to lift a bag of sugar. I’d just shrug, convinced that I’d never lose my ability to hide behind lamp posts or squeeze between railings.
How wrong I was.
I met my wife-to-be in my mid-thirties. The fact that I met Kate at all was something of a minor miracle, but her arrival in my life coincided with another miraculous event: I’d started to put on weight.
In a matter of months I somehow went from ten stone eight (148 pounds) to thirteen stone (182 pounds). People started to tell me how ‘well’ I looked. Occasionally I was described as ‘cuddly’. And as Kate and I curled up in front of the TV to munch our way through a family sized bar of chocolate, she’d rub what she fondly referred to as the ‘Buddha Belly’. It was almost enough to ruin my appetite.
Almost – but not quite.
As the months passed my weight crept ever upwards. My chins (plural) got ever bigger. Eventually I no longer felt comfortable being naked in front of my fiancé. And that was the turning point.
Not the naked part – the fact that my girlfriend was now my fiancé. And on hearing the happy news one of my colleagues asked me when I was starting my diet.
“Diet?!” I asked, with a mixture of indignation and confusion. What had diets got to do with marriage?
“Of course diet,” she said. “You’re never as slim as the day you get married!”
This was news to me, and something of a shock. And although the logical, adult part of my brain was quick to dismiss this as utter nonsense, another part – the part that has always been ready to believe anything negative or damaging – had already adopted this as a Universal Truth. I had only a few months to lose those pounds that I still thought of as ‘extra’ – or they would be mine forever. The clock was ticking.
It was nonsense, of course. But you’ve been there, I’m sure. Bouncing from one diet to another in an effort to avoid what seems to be the inevitable – ‘you will never be as slim as you once were’. Maybe you’re at that point now, in which case you’re probably familiar with a couple of other ‘Universal Truths’, namely that diets and exercise are miserable, soul destroying ways of losing weight, and if you stop either one for a millisecond then those grams that you worked so hard to shed come straight back the moment you so much as look at anything vaguely tasty.
There are few things in this life as cruel as how the human body manages its weight. At least that’s how it feels. And I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much heartache I can take. After a couple of years of running in my lunch hour – returning to my desk hot, frustrated, and not the slightest bit lighter than the day before (or the week before, or any of the preceding months) – I finally threw my heart-rate monitor in the bin and went in search of a pain-free, exercise-free, scientific way to restore my trim figure.
This book – or at least my half of it – is the result.
Welcome to How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim.
If you’re fed up with diets – this book might be for you.
If you’ve started to wonder whether you’ll ever be able to lose weight, stay slim AND enjoy your food – this book is probably for you.
But if you’re open minded, happy to make several small changes to your lifestyle, and prepared to put in a little effort – or at least could be, if you had a good enough reason – then this book is most definitely for you.
Now then, allow me to introduce you to my co-author…
Like Peter, I am lucky enough to be tall, almost six foot, and until I was thirty-five, which, incidentally, is also the age I was when I got married – must be something in this ‘marry-and-get-fat’ theory – I was pretty slender without putting too much effort into it. Mind you, I had always been very active. I loved to go swimming and running and having four dogs certainly helped to keep my weight down.
Then suddenly I had a husband who was a foodie, which meant we ate out a lot and had wine with most of our meals and I began to experiment with cooking rich food. Not that I objected to any of this! But slowly the weight inched on. I went from being a skinny size twelve to a cuddlier size sixteen. This doesn’t sound too bad; it didn’t look too bad either because I’m tall, but I hated my extra weight with a vengeance.
I began to dress to cover up lumps and bumps. Big loose tops and black trousers became my uniform. I gave up swimming because I didn’t want my cellulite thighs on display on the walk from changing room to pool. I avoided hugging friends I hadn’t seen for a while so they couldn’t feel how much weight I’d put on, which is terribly sad now I stop to think about it. I gave up clothes shopping because it was too depressing. Nothing looked good any more.
Choosing an outfit for a night out was hideously depressing and would entail trying on my entire wardrobe – by this time I had three sizes in there, size twelve (dream on!), size fourteen (possibly on a good day) and size sixteen (comfortably unflattering) – and trying to decide what made me look the thinnest.
I’d always felt self-conscious about being tall, but being tall and overweight made it worse. I felt as though I was turning into some huge lumbering hippo.
My mother and sister also struggled with their weight. My mother had given up worrying about it long ago; my sister, like me, had yo-yoed along, losing weight only to pile it back on again.
In my quest for permanent weight loss I tried the following:
- slimming pills;
- herbal remedies;
- crash diets;
- small portions;
- not eating in the evenings;
- not eating certain foods;
- various celebrity diets;
- some decidedly cranky diets;
- slimming groups;
- excessive exercise – and I mean running marathons (I don’t do things by halves).
Nothing worked long term.
I lost half a stone, I gained half a stone, and usually a few more pounds besides, and the older I got the harder this battle became. My half a stone turned into a stone and then two, which was doubly difficult to shift. Clearly something had to be done, but I didn’t know what.
Then one day, after I’d lost the same two stone for the umpteenth time and was waiting for the pounds to inevitably pile back on again I had a eureka moment.
The answer to being slim, I finally realised, was to stick to a variety of tried and tested principles. My tried and tested principles which had worked for me. To my immense relief and pleasure, these principles did not include banishing any food from my life. They required planning, but they weren’t time consuming (I have no spare time in my life), and they weren’t costly (I spend all my spare money on dogs).
But they do work. Hurrah! Finally, I am the same weight now as I was when I was twenty and I know how to stay there. And it is much, much more enjoyable. I also feel healthier, which is a big bonus. And I don’t worry if I go on holiday and put on a few pounds because I know it won’t be difficult to shift them again.
If this sounds like it might suit you then keep listening – and hopefully some of the concepts we talk about in this book might change the way you view staying slim too.
How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim, is available now in paperback, as an e-book, and in audio. Click here and pick the format of your choice.