Last week I formally announced the impending publication of my next book, How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim, co-written with author Della Galton. This week, for those of you who haven’t figured out that the book has already got it’s own website, I thought I’d share with you the opening chapter.
To Begin With…
When I was a much younger man, ‘size’ wasn’t a word that I ever had to worry about. ‘Height’ on the other hand…
It was (and still is) extremely hard to get trousers that didn’t flap about somewhere above my ankles, or sleeves that don’t stop several inches before my wrists. But I never had to breathe in to button a pair of jeans, and I never put on a shirt only to find that the buttons and button holes were no longer on speaking terms. Even in my twenties, when I was mostly living on a diet of pizza and beer, where 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 Dairy Milk, she’d rub what she fondly referred to as the ‘Buddha Belly’. It was almost enough to put me off my chocolate.
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. 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 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.
You’ve been there I’m sure. It’s probably the reason why you picked up this book in the first place. Maybe you’re at that point now. In which case you probably know a couple of other things too, 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 life as cruel as how the human body manages its weight.
At least that’s how it feels.
And so, after a couple of years of running in my lunch hour, and returning to my desk hot, frustrated, and not the slightest bit slimmer 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 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 (5’ 10”) 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 he liked eating out, and he liked to have wine with our meals and he liked me to experiment with cooking good food. Not that I objected to any of this! But slowly the weight inched on. I went from being the skinny size twelve I’d always been to a size sixteen. This does not 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. (How sad is that!) I gave up clothes shopping because it was too depressing. Nothing looked good any more.
Choosing an outfit for a night out from my existing wardrobe was also hideously depressing and would entail trying on my entire wardrobe – by this time I had three sizes in there, size 12 (dream on!), size 14 (possibly on a good day) and 16 (comfortably unflattering) – and trying to decide what made me look the thinnest.
I’d always felt a little 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 my sister also struggled with their weight. My mother had given up worrying about it long ago, my sister, like me, had yo-yoed along on a fat-thin rollercoaster.
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 permanently.
But some things worked for a while.
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. I also don’t worry if I want to go on holiday and I 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 read on – and hopefully some of the principles we talk about in this book might change the way you view staying slim too.
How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim,
will be available later this year
as a paperback (ISBN 978-0-9568856-2-3),
as an e-book, and in audio.
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