Fat Boy on a Diet: March Update: Mountains and Mirrors

I haven’t been able to hop on the scales the last couple of weeks, so I don’t know exactly where I am weight wise.

With no hard data I’m gonna have to guess how the month has gone. I think I’ve lost a fair bit this month thanks in part to all the extra walking I did for Sport Relief (I raised £175 in the end, which is a start on my “raise £1m for charity” bucket list item).

Walking with Oz

I’ve also been swimming a couple more times, and while I still suck, I’ve passed 1000m which is more than I managed between 1999 and 2017. So, that’s something, I guess.

Eating healthy has been hit and miss, with us moving house there have been a few evenings when MWF and I couldn’t be bothered to cook and opted for take aways.

Despite feeling like I’ve lost weight this month, and enjoying the extra exercise, body confidence wise I can’t say I feel great. Our new bedroom has built in wardrobe with a mirrored front.

This means that getting up in the morning, or getting ready for bed I get to see my body as big as life. And twice as ugly.

I saw old photos of myself at university this week, and think I look better now, but back then I don’t remember having the same revulsion at my reflection. Or did I just ignore it then?

For those few moments before or after sleep I am confronted with a body I dislike. I have half baked plans for working on my bucket list and trying new things, but I feel I need to scale it back and for now, just focus on slimming down.

I know I’ll never be one of those insanely ripped guys, and frankly, I don’t want to be. But I definitely want to be smaller and more comfortable and happy with what I see in the mirror.

It might take a while though.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Fundraising for the Unfit

I spent a lot of the last week quite tired and fed up thanks to moving house and work. Despite this towards the end of the week I was seized by a sudden burst of energy and enthusiasm.

The focus of this? My resolutions list, particularly item 3- Cross at least one item off the Bucket List. I’ve been thinking and planning a few of them, and will keep you posted.

One of the items is to raise £1m for charity. I’ve known from when I added this to the list that it would be something that took time, with me chipping away at the amount over the years.

Which has got me thinking about what I can do to raise some cash? I’m nowhere near healthy enough to do a race at the moment (although hopefully after shifting some weight I can get back into running) and I’m not crafty enough to make things to sell.

I’ve thought of a few lazy fundraising ideas:

  • Bad movie marathon- people donate and suggest terrible films for me to watch. I try to watch as many as possible.
  • Blog marathon. I try to write as many blog posts as possible in 24 hours. Although would probably help if I invested in a decent laptop first.
  • Tattoo auction. People bid to chose what marks part of my skin. Massively risky, but would generate publicity.
  • Man vs Food challenge. Would seriously damage my weight loss attempts, but would count as crossing something else off my list.

Would you donate to someone doing one of those? Or have any ideas of your own for how I can raise some money? If so, you know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Just Keep Swimming

After posting my February update on Monday I went swimming properly for the first time since the late ’90s.

I’ve never been a particularly strong swimmer and out of my primary school class I was one of the last to move from the kiddie pool to the proper one. I was way behind the curve in earning my 100m swimming badge, getting mine at a point where their prestige had worn out for my classmates.

One of my few athletic achievements

Throw in the whole having to be topless aspect and I wasn’t exactly hammering down the door of my nearest baths.

But things changed last year. Under the Floridian sun and with a pool at our resort it seemed foolish to avoid the pool. And with WoM offering me reassurance and making me feel better about myself I hit the pool.

Nobody laughed. Nobody recoiled in horror. Nobody really cared, they just all went about their business.

As years of body image baggage and self consciousness drifted away, I quite enjoyed myself.

So, looking for a new way to exercise and shift some weight, I joined WoM at the pool today.

It did not begin well as after one length of painfully slow breast stroke my leg cramped up. I’ve had cramp before, but never in this spot, so it wasn’t fun. A bit of stretching and I was good to go.

I set myself a target of 20 lengths, ensuring a decent workout but allowing me time for some breathers.

Swimming is hard. Especially when you can’t completely remember how you do it.

My technique was pretty poor, but improved slightly with tips from WoM. My shoulders hurt from trying to keep my head up and I drank half the pool as I messed up my timing.

Compared to jogging, swimming sucks. There was no music and my mind didn’t wander. When I used to run I would daydream or plan things, but in the pool I was thinking about timing, technique and focused on that.

Also, I lacked the confidence I had on a run. When I got into my running rhythm I felt good, strong and unstoppable. Anyone who got in my way had better move, because I wasn’t stopping. I was the Juggernaut, b***h!

In the pool I felt slow, out of shape and meekly went around two old ladies chatting in my path.

Despite all this, I managed to hit my target and go beyond it, finishing 24 lengths.

Afterwards I felt pretty good. It wasn’t fun, but I felt better.

I’ll be going back. I need the exercise. I want to get better. And I can’t ignore Dory’s advice.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: February Update: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

February has been a mixed bag. It started off pretty good, with me passing the point where I had lost a stone.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a wobble and I put some of the weight back on.

I was worried that given this stumble I would start sliding back, but thanks to some will power and Lent I’ve turned it around and I managed to lose weight in the last week or so.

The problem is that while I lost most of the weight, I’m ending the month slightly heavier than I started. Disappointing.

Anyway, with a house move in March and me deciding to take more exercise, hopefully the downward trend can continue without any more blips. Tune in at the end of March for the next update.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: Lent a Hand

February has been a mixed bag thus far. I passed the stone mark early doors, but there’s been a little bit of back sliding and I need to nip that in the bud.

So, I’m falling back on the religion of my childhood. Every year between Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Day AKA Mardi Gras) and Easter it’s customary for Christians to give things up for lent. For forty days and nights, other than Sundays, they abstain from some vice as a period of fasting to mimic JC’s desert ramble.

As a kid it was always sweets. We weren’t a big sweet family so this was easy, unless we saw my Nan who drowned us in chocolate and treats.

Even after my religious beliefs faded I kept going with Lent most years for a while. I gave up chocolates most years, but did stretch it to other vices including alcohol one year as I feared my student excesses were perilously close to actual, proper alcoholism.

This year I’m going a bit more hardcore in the hopes it will help the diet along. What am I cutting out? Well, here’s a list:

  1. Chocolates and sweets
  2. Desserts
  3. Fast food

I’ve been trying to limit these anyway, but I figure a complete stop might be more effective and break the habit.

So, there you go, let’s see how I do.

Giving up anything yourself? Or any other thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: January Update: New Year, New Me?

The dreaded post Christmas weigh in.

I’m not a fool. I knew I wasn’t going to hop on the scale and discover that I was in peak physical health.

But I was surprised. Unpleasantly surprised.

My weight had ballooned to new heights, and I had crossed a line I’d drawn in my head.

“I might be fat but I’m not as heavy as ****”

Only now I was heavier. By quite a bit.

This left me feeling pretty crappy, a greedy, lazy slob and generally a waste of space. Not good.

But there was an upshot, once the tsunami of self loathing had receded I was just angry. Angry at myself for letting it get to this stage and even more determined to do something about it.

WoM is joining me on the weight loss trail and has joined chub club (due to my shifts I can’t go). This has helped a lot, having a partner in this endeavour and they suggest some pretty decent alternatives and ideas.

I’ve hopped on the scales a couple of times and my efforts have paid off. There’s been a steady weight loss, I’m still heavier than I’d like ,or was this time last year, but at least I’m moving in the right direction.

Tune in a few weeks to see how February goes.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Resolutions 2018

So I know this is a little late, but I was busy around New Year’s and I wanted to think it through. So here are my resolutions for the coming year.

1. Lose Weight

The old favourite.

This has been on the agenda anyway, but I was ill over the Christmas period and the weight didn’t help. Also when I weighed myself for the first time in quite a while it was a sobering number on the scale.

So, more exercise, better diet and actual commitment this year. No cop out and no excuses. To aid this let’s go on to-

2. Monthly Updates on the Weight

I’ve had this plan before but it was vague. This year however every month I’m going to post an update every month about how I’ve done. The idea being that by sharing I’ll be more likely to stick to it.

So, if I near the end of a month with no news, give me a nudge.

3. Cross Off at Least One Bucket List Item

Last year I got one and a seventh done, but the list is still pretty long. I might make a concentrated effort to do a few things on it, or at least lay the ground work.

4. Try to Publish a Book

I have two finished novels sitting around and a third half done. I’m pretty happy with one of them, so I think it’s time to tidy it up a bit and send it off. It’s a little bit scary, and it might not go anywhere, but at least I can say I’ve tried. Watch this space, I guess.

5. Try New Things

Life is for living after all.

6. Be Sociable

In 2017 I saw my friends and family a lot more than usual and it was great. Doing stuff with my time off work made me happier and it was nice to keep those connections going.

Actually spending time

7. New Ink

Putting this on because it’ll be the easiest one to get done, but I am planning quite a few new tattoos and would like to get at least two done this year.

8. Be Nicer

‘Nuff said.

Made any resolutions yourself, reader? Or have advice for me on how to keep mine? You know what to do. BETEO.


Bucket List #30: Ride an elephant

In my naivety I’d somehow gotten into my head that elephants were like dogs or horses, and that after centuries of living alongside man were kinda happy with their role. I imagined that for a creature as large as an elephant, a person on their back wouldn’t be a big deal. 

And so, as part of a Tarzan style fantasy I added riding an elephant to my bucket list.

How I imagined it going

Of course, this turned out not to be the case and reading about the elephant riding industry in Asia made for depressing reading (more). With all this new info I couldn’t in good conscience hop aboard Jumbo or Nelly and have a ride.

But crossing something off the bucket list without having done it seemed to be a cop out. I could just delete stuff if they became too tricky to achieve, and for me part of the idea of the list was to stretch myself.

No, it would have to stay. And to cross it off I would have to get creative.

And so, back in the Autumn I worked out how I could do it without any animals suffering. Where could offer such a solution? Disney World of course. 

Yes, high on my list of things to do in the happiest place on Earth was jump aboard the Dumbo ride. And so, I succeeded in riding an elephant.

And before anyone says this was the easy way out, they’ve obviously never suffered the suspicious stares you get as a lone adult male queuing for what is essentially a children’s ride.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


My 2017

If you listen to Twitter 2017 has been awful and nobody can wait to leave it behind. The problem with this narrative is that whether a year has been bad or good is subjective. For some 2017 sucked, but for others it was probably a good year. 

You can point at the negative news stories, the attacks and tragedies, but we have those every year, and honestly, is that how you remember the years as time goes by? Or do you remember them for the personal reasons?

It’s the personal ones, obviously. And for me 2017 has been mainly good.

There were bad points, in April I lost my grandfather, and the stress and hassle of organising a wedding pushed me to the limit. There were days when I got stressed, when I was angry, when dragging myself out of bed was a real effort. I watched as friends struggled with things, and discovered that even after decades a friendship can die and be cast aside.

But this isn’t Nottingham, and the ups outnumber the downs. Those ups were, in no order;

Getting married. While the planning drove me bonkers, the actual day was great. There were no dramas and at the end of a brilliant, fun day surrounded by loved ones, I went home with my new wife. I felt luckier and happier than ever.

After this came two great weeks in Florida where I thoroughly enjoyed Walt Disney World, far more than I expected.
Elsewhere I got to spend time with my friends and family, reconnecting with them and seeing as their lives developed and grew.

I welcomed the arrival of my niece, one of the cheeriest babies I’ve ever met and got to see my nephew’s personality develop.

My little family grew too as WoM and I got a dog, Ozzy. While he can be a pain in the arse at times, I wouldn’t change him for the world.

So, all in all, 2017 was a good year for me and I enter 2018 feeling happy, optimistic and eager to see what the future holds.

I hope this year has been kind to my readers, and if it hasn’t that they have at least learned from it and emerge stronger and wiser to face the new one. I wish all of you the best for 2018.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


Reader, I married her

As I sat in the hot tub on Sunday evening, the warm bubbles rippling around me I looked back over the previous weekend and felt a wave of relaxation wash over me. I would never need to make a seating plan or chase up RSVPs again. It was a state approaching inner peace, a world away from where I had been on Saturday morning.

Nerves hadn’t been a factor until then, as utter disillusionment with wedding planner meant I had reached a stage where I just wanted it done and over. I have no idea why Liz Taylor enjoyed doing this so much as one wedding is definitely enough.

However, having every single person asking you if you feel nervous will start fraying your nerves. Should I be nervous?

On top of a terrible night sleep (shout out to Travelodge for keeping their rooms about the same temperature as the surface of Mercury), the constant pestering ensured that the butterflies in my stomach meant I only had one helping from the all you can eat cooked breakfast. As a man who likes to get his money’s worth I usually abuse these things until I can barely move and need to be rolled out.

It being an afternoon wedding I had a few hours to kill, I managed to ease my stress levels by reading some George R. R. Martin in bed. 

This good work was undone by the fact I mixed up the time I had to leave, 13:00, with my checkout time at 12:00. This led to a rushed shower and me having to dress in my best man’s room.

I also had to sit down and write my speech, as I wasn’t sure what the groom says. It turns out to be mainly thanking people, but my groomsman Mike’s partner Samantha walked me through it.

Thankfully, we fitted it all in and got to the church at about 13:20, enough time for me to meet and greet, go for a nervous pee and get asked about my nerves another hundred times. 

As two o’clock neared the nerves were cranking up a little, but luckily Best Man Dan came through with a short, low key pep talk which calmed me.

I hate to sound sexist but I wasn’t upset or surprised as the start time passed, having been resigned to the fact that eight ladies (the artist formerly known as MWF, 6 bridesmaids and my mother-in-law) would struggle to get there on time despite having started their prep at 7ish.

I told Best Man Dan and my groomsen I was expecting them to be at least ten minutes late and I wasn’t far off.

I’d been surprised that the vicar had told me that I needed to keep eyes front as MWexF entered. I think in movies and cheesy reaction photos the groom looks and breaks down, which is what my soon to be wife wanted, having threatened to walk right back out if I didn’t cry. During the vows I would wobble, but managed to keep it together. 

I felt odd not knowing what was going on but managed to catch a few bridesmaids in the corner of my eye. And then there she was.

My bride looked beautiful, and I was glad I’d followed my Nan’s superstitious footsteps in not seeing her in the dress until the day. We exchanged nervous smiles and got going.

I was slightly distracted by a Ladybird who had hitched a ride on the bridal bouquet and then flew onto me. But after that I followed BMD’s advice and shut out everything but for the vicar and the lady at my side.

The service went smoothly, and quickly. It seemed like we were sitting to sign the register in moments. And then walking out triumphantly to The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.

We were married, and I was filled with relief, happiness and love. Photos were taken, confetti thrown and congratulations received.

And then to the reception. There were no dramas, no scandals, no fist fights. Sorry, reader but it was a lovely evening. Among the highlights:

  • Great speeches from the Maid of Honour and BMD. Funny, sweet and just the right level of mocking.
  • Not messing up my own speech.
  • A bouquet toss. Having agreed that it was outdated and undignified, we went and had one anyway. And I’m glad we did, as it was brilliant fun, especially as you got to see who was taking it a bit too seriously and the faces of some nervous boyfriends.
  • BMD launched a charm offensive which won him many fans and led me to let a couple of girls down gently and say that yes, I am sure he’s gay.
  • Far too much drunken dancing.
  • Seeing my Dad dance for the first time ever.
  • Man hugs and back slaps galore.
  • Being blamed for making people cry with my speech. 
  • Being called a prick by a bridesmaid who had believed us when we’d told them our first dance was going to be Rick Astley and was then caught off guard by the real one.

As for my misgivings about the suits? Well, I’m still not a fan and would rather have been more casual, but I did get a few compliments.

Luckily, before my head could swell to much a friend informed me that their dad reckons I look like Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones. No disrespect, to John Bradley but I’m sure he knows he isn’t the show’s heartthrob.

When we got back to our lodge in the wee small hours we crashed out, happy but exhausted.

Sunday was hectic, running errands, tidying up and trying to see as many of the guests as we could before they hit the road for home. Our first real down time came sitting in the hot tub, relaxing in the warmth.

“How are you feeling?” 

“Pretty damn good, Mrs Page, pretty damn good.”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.