Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I haven't always been this fine, lean specimen of manhood, dear reader, indeed not.

After my torturous experiences at the hands of madmen, otherwise known as bank robbers, I sat at home lighting my own farts, looking through Mum's old photograph albums and ate. Cheifly, I ate.

I ballooned from a 30" waist to 42" and fifteen stone. I'd like to tell you what I weighted before, but I cannot. I just wan't the kind of person who ever weighed himself. Weight never bothered me. It was never a problem. I was never curious about it.

The thing was, in a state of depression, I wasn't thinking of three square meals a day. I only thought of what came in between. Indeed, I don't think I saw three square meals in a day for a good six months, let alone ate them. In an attempt to get me to eat at least something, Mum would bring me mars bar upon mars bar, custard doughnuts, family sized tiramisu, custard slices, boxes of chocolates and chocolate trifles, to name but a few items. This, coupled with the fact that I didn't go out at all and the only exercise I did was walking to the toilet or bathroom, meant the pounds piled on.

Within a year, I'd come to look like something of a wee Buddha. But that was where the similarity ended. I thought nothing of my well-being or that of others, of matters spiritual or enlightenment. But enlightenment came.

I was sat staring out of my bedroom window one afternoon when I saw a woman walking along my road with three dogs. For years, I'd only ever seen her husband with the dogs. He walked them three times a day, as regular as clockwork, in the morning, after lunch and just before sunset.

I went downstairs to see Mum.

"Mrs Selznik is walking the dogs. I hope her husband is ok."

Mum told me that he'd died. He'd been overweight for years, ever since he retired about ten years previous. His heart couldn't talke all that fat any more.

I realised that this could happen to me.

I was just in the process of moving out from my Mum's house and into a new home with my then boyfriend, Thomas. I decided that as soon as I'd left my childhood home, I would lose weight. I knew I wouldn't be able to succeed while I was living with Mum. The word diet meant nothing to her. She'd still come back from the shops tempting me with high fat, high sugar, high calorie goodies.

So, I moved. Very stressful, and I missed Mum. I ate even more. I gained about seven pounds in a month. A telephone call was in order.

I was soon on the blower to my wonderful cousin, Sue. She'd been to Slimming World before, a bit like Weight Watchers, but easier and cheaper.

I asked her what it was all about and if it was worth going. She said it was and, furthermore, if I was going, she'd come along too.

A few days later, we were at our first meeting, signed up and ready to loose weight.

The lady who ran the class was called Janette. She was as fat as a house and made Dawn Davenport look svelte. To top it all, I knew her and her repuatation for eating was legendary. She worked for the same Building Society as me, in the Completions Department. She'd sit at her desk with mountains of chocolate bars and cakes, scoffing the lot all day. At every break, she was to be found in the staff canteen eating a huge nosh-up. She loved her food, she did.

She was something of a Marjorie Dawes figure. Although she was never rude to us, in fact, she was the opposite, she never weighed herself at our class, saying she did it at another class she ran. Over the time Sue and I were in attendance, she never looked as though she was losing weight. I'm sure her story of weighing herself elsewhere was, excuse the pun, a big fat lie.

There were other wonderful people there, too:

The lollipop lady (so named not because of her love for lollipops, but because she was the school-crossing warden - click here) found it very difficult to lose any weight at all. When asked what she ate, she gave a detailed list, but gave no information on her breakfast. When quizzed on this, she replied that she didn't have time for breakfast. "It's my old man," she said. "He likes to have it off in the morning. I don't have time to put anything else in my mouth."

The lady with no nose came for about a month - and gained weighed the whole time. No wonder. I saw her in Winton, Bournemouth, scoffing an entire bargain bucket to herself. She had a clip on nose, which she had to remove in order to eat. Why, I'm not sure.

The girl with the missing finger claimed she couldn't lose weight because of the lack of her middle digit. I don't think so.

Then there was the guy who looked like Captain Hook. He claimed his wife forced food into his mouth in the night, while he slept. He would wake up chewing, or so he claimed. He said she did this because she was jealous that he'd been losing weight and she was still as fat as a house.

Then there was my adorable cousin, Sue...

The basic premise of Slimming World is that one loses weight by food combining, never mixing carbohydrates with proteins. Red or green, but sleep in between was the maxim. On a red day, dieters were allowed to eat as much meat, fish et al as one desired, but no rice, pasta or potato. A green day worked in reverse.

Sue's weight loss was slowing up. Janette could see from Sue's diet sheets that she only ever had red days. When asked about this, Sue said she found red days easier. She didn't like rice, plain boiled or mashed potato - only roast. Janette said she could eat pasta.

"I hate pasta!" said Sue. "It's not the taste. It's the texture in my mouth. It feels like spunk!"

Lordy! The whole class was in uproar, never laughed so much. It was one of those moments, where the orator knows what they're saying, but it's too late to stop. Poor Sue went as red as a lobster. Something of note in the Slimming World annals (not anals, dear reader) I am sure.

It was all good for me. I lost four stone in about six months through dieting and intense swimming*. Brimming with confidence, I set the ball in motion to finally leave Thomas and make it on my own, which I did.

And depression? What was that?

Happy, happy days.

* I had no intention of running. Incidentally, why do people lift their arms up when they run and if they don't, why do they look like a spastic?


Andrea said...

Bless you Minge. What a wonderful reminesence. I laughed out loud at the spunk comment. I couldn't understand why my Mum, rest her, wouldn't use the soap at my house. Ivory it were, she said, "It smells like spunk!" ROFL!! Air kisses!

Minge said...

I love your Mother!

graham said...

I think its difficult to run if you don't lift your arms up. I mean you don't have to look as weird as the two ladies in your picture, but you do need to swing your arms to counter the leg movement :-)

Minge said...

Arms and legs all over the place. Is it horizontal jogging you're talking about, though, Graham?

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