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.

“Fear of the Fat Man”

Something I wrote a while ago but posted on Medium because I thought that would be more of a thing. As is, I barely check it and have only written like 4 articles on there. Anyway, here you go:

“Fear of the Fat Man” @nutupdate https://medium.com/@nutupdate/fear-of-the-fat-man-2b4ea247e1ed

Any thoughts? You know what to. BETEO.

Fat Boy on a Diet: Off the Scale

I went to the doctor’s on Friday. Fear not, reader, I’m not ill but I have been iffy recently and thought better to have a check up in case it turned out to be something I could fix.

After a quick exam I was asked to hop on the scales.

This is par for the course, at least for chubsters like me. I get it. Weight can be an exacerbating factor for many things and a doc should prompt you to get fitter in the same way they should tell people to quit smoking, health promotion is part of their job.

I don’t get when people complain about doctors advising them to lose weight, I mean, sure it should be approached tactfully, but what do you expect them to do? Ignore something that might be detrimental to your health?

So, logically I don’t mind. But I still feel embarrassed. Of course, it was about to get worse.

I stepped on and the shot round like Usain Bolt in a jetpack. 

In fact it shot right by the last number. 

Yes, my weight was beyond the measurements of the scale.

If only blushing burnt calories. I’d have dropped half a stone easy.

The Doc, without a word, fetched a second scale. This had a display screen. This could show my weight.

I know I’m big. I didn’t expect to step off at 10st or something. But seeing it in black and white hammers home.

Before uni, I was the lightest I had been for years. I was jogging, eating better and walking everywhere. I’m now back where I started in 2011, where I got on the scales for the first time in years.

The weight loss resolution is dead in the water. Penny pinching for the wedding meant I had to stop Chub Club. Laziness and apathy has seen my weight tick up slowly. Worse, I knackered my knee last year and that means jogging is out.

The doctor advised power walking. I have become Harold Bishop.

Dropping weight for the wedding seems a folorn hope. 5 months to go. Suit fitting in a month. I can shift a bit by October, hopefully, but it won’t be a lot.

Looking good and being comfortable in Florida looks unlikely.

The blame lies with me, and I need to buck up and sort this out. I can’t run, but there’s a local gym. It has a pool, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. 

I have to do better.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Fat Boy on a Diet: Tormenting the Chubsters

I don’t think it was deliberate. I don’t think a child that small is capable of such casual meanness but unknowingly the five year old was trolling every single member of Chub Club.

As we queued nervously to be weighed or flicked through our books realising treats would have to be sacrificed this little girl danced happily in the centre. The focus of all the group’s envy.

Firstly, she was happy and comfortable in a way that had abandoned her elders present. Her dancing was untempered by self consciousness, boundless enthusiasm making up for any ability or music. But more than this, and the real reason for the jealousy was that she happily are a Cadbury’s Wispa without any remorse.

I’m not saying nobody else present has eaten chocolate recently, but I doubt any have done without a twinge of guilt or lack of thought.

I’d eaten a pack of M&Ms with the Superbowl and had regretted it. As I queued for the scales I felt distinctly pessimistic about how I had done this week. The M&Ms had followed a pepperoni pizza and been followed by a small stack of ginger nuts. 

It was barely a drop in the excess of Superbowl weekend globally, but it was still a mistake and a moment of greedy weakness, under the flimsy excuse that it was a special occasion.

So I wasn’t feeling confident.

I paid my membership and then emptied my pockets, removed my shoes and hoodie and rechecked my pockets. I neared the front of the line, the scales looming and my spirits low.

I’d followed the new regime, but there had been a few wobbles and there was nowhere to hide. I hadn’t given my all and I was about to reap the consequences on the display.

Stepping into the scales I watched the number climb. And climb and then stop. 

I gaped in surprise.

 I had lost 4.5 lbs. 

I was pleased with my slightly undeserved success and decided that I needed to steady myself. The wobbles must stop and I had to fully commit. Stock to the rules and not go over my treat allowance.

I prepped a salad and healthy snack for my shift the next day and watched TV. 

But as I lay in bed awaiting sleep the voice of greed started to whisper.

“I could murder a Wispa right now.”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Fat Boy on a Diet: Gain and Pain

Yesterday evening MWF and I went and joined Chub Club, as both of us are wanting to get a bit healthier and lose some weight before our wedding which is now less than nine months away (eek!). 

I haven’t weighed myself in a while and wasn’t stupid, I suspected that I’d gained weight. But I was thinking that I’d land somewhere between my starting weight last year and the lowest I got to. I figured that 2016 was going to be a case of “two steps forward, one step back”.

Unfortunately this was not the case. In the first quarter of last year I had done pretty good but after stopping Chub Club my drive to lose weight veered off a cliff. Last night I found out I had regained all the weight I had lost, with an extra 2lbs on top. I am heavier now than I was a year ago. In fact this might be the heaviest I’ve ever been.

There were contributing factors, but ultimately the buck stops with me. I got lazy, greedy and made stupid decisions. I chose takeaways when I should have made something healthier. I could have gone easier on the chocolates and sweets, and I could have shown a lot more self control.

So, because I am a greedy fool I have left myself a mountain to climb and less than nine months to do it in. The fridge is now filled with fruit and salads, I’ve googled local gyms, chocolate and desserts are a thing of the past.

Even my beloved Lattes aren’t safe, becoming a treat and not my standard order. I’m going to be drinking black coffee again. Dark and bitter days lie ahead, but it’ll be worth it.

The only plus point is that Chub Club insists on going around the group with everyone sharing how they’ve done. Just watching made me uncomfortable so I definitely don’t want to be sitting there telling everyone that I’ve gained weight.

Eat healthy. Exercise more. Sounds simple, right? Let’s see how it goes.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Ch-ch-changing: Fear and Loathing in the Disabled Toilets

I balanced on one leg like an overweight, graceless flamingo. I managed to get my leg free of my trousers and placed it on my empty trainer. 

This had to be one of the most awkward changes in my life. I felt uncomfortable, for a variety of reasons. 

Firstly, there was the smell, which was rather unpleasant. It was a toilet, and recently used, and being a toilet I didn’t want to touch anything more than I had to. I especially didn’t want to put my socks on the floor. If you’ve ever stood in anything wet wearing socks you’ll know it’s a deeply unpleasant experience. Hence the drunk flamingo bit.

The other reason I felt awkward was because it was a disabled toilet and I felt a bit of a heel for possibly depriving someone of the only toilet accessible to them. I prayed to the gods that nobody was waiting outside.

Luckily there wasn’t and completely changed I left and headed for the bus home.

So why was I changing in a toilet?

Well, I’d finished work and it being a warm day was a little sweaty. My uniform is uncomfortable, and I didn’t fancy wearing it on a warm, full bus. But this meant finding somewhere to change. 

We have a staff changing room but it has zero cover. No cubicles or corners. 

You have to change right out in the open. This means waiting until it’s empty and praying that nobody comes in because as soon as the door opens they’ll see you. 

Just writing that makes me feel on edge.

I haven’t had to change in a public changing room for years. Not since school. And if I can avoid it for another 15 years I’ll be happy. I have no desire for anyone except for MWF to see me half naked. And of course that won’t be until after our wedding.

But anyone else? The idea makes me nervous.

I’ve been this way since primary. When I was in year six we used to have swimming once a week. I can distinctly remember there was a time when changing after didn’t bother me. We were all 10-11 so it was before any adolescent insecurity crept in.

I can remember goofing off. Wrapping a towel around my head and doing an impression of Whigfield, who’s “Saturday Night” a year or so earlier. 


It got some laughs and I kept doing it for a few weeks.

Now I was a chunky kid. I had what we called “puppy fat” and I think part of me honestly thought that it would all fall off during my teens and I’d emerge like a ripped butterfly, able to realise my dream of playing for Wales and Swansea.

Of course, this didn’t happy and my puppy fat grew into full grown adult St Bernard fat.

But back in the mid nineties none of this bothered me. I was chunky bit didn’t think much about it. 

Until it was pointed out by some of my schoolmates. And not politely. It went on for a few weeks, and I came to dread those swimming days. I was a crap swimmer anyway, so it wasn’t like it was massively fun to begin with. But being called names afterwards soured it even more.

It got worse in secondary school and all the enjoyment I’d got playing football in primary evaporated. I started “forgetting” my kit on a regular basis, and PE became my least favourite lesson. I wasn’t the only chunky kid. Or the chunkiest, but when I did have to change I just did it quickly, quietly and as closely to the corner as I could.

To be fair I never got any grief at comp. Well, aside from once when two kids who I did PE with tried having a go. For sports two classes were teamed up and my class was put with one of the classes that was for less academic kids. These two in particular were knuckle dragging morons of the lowest order. Think Crabbe and Goyle but without the charisma.

Now one of them was about the same size as me, so when they had a go bout my belly and budding mannaries I was surprised. I then told him that it was a bit rich as he wasn’t exactly slim and to get out of my way, as I needed to get to English and I’m sure their teacher had set up some colouring in for them to do.

Being a gobby, sarky git paid off and the surprise of me actually firing back meant they didn’t bother me again. 

But even without outside influence my insecurities over changing grew like an unattended plant that soon takes over everything.

I was starting to get interested in girls, and starting to realise this was a one way street. And that I didn’t look a thing like the slim, toned celebrities they fancied.

On a family holiday to Jersey I wrecked a beloved Superman shirt leaving it a weird purple-pink colour because I refused to swim in the pool shirtless. 

I’m more comfortable with myself in a lot of ways. I voice my opinions, speak out for myself and don’t worry about my looks that much. But hopping about in that disabled toilet I realised that I still have those old hang ups.

I need to get better. In Sri Lanka I sweltered in the sun, only taking off my shirt when I knew nobody was about and keeping it within reach at all times. I went in the sea a couple of times, running in and out to avoid being spotted.

I haven’t swam in years but with Florida coming next year I’d like to be a bit more comfortable, so that even if I can’t quite summon the courage to take my shirt off I can at least go in the pool and risk a wet T-shirt moment. If I want to cross “swim with dolphins” off the bucket list I need to do something.

Hopefully the weight loss (which has stalled of late) will help and maybe getting a bit fitter again will make me feel more positive too.

I really appreciate and respect all those who promote body confidence and self love, but when it comes to myself I’m not quite there. I would love to be able to strut down a beach or go swimming without feeling self conscious and hating how I look, worrying what people think. I’d love to be comfortable and confident.

I’ve gotten better, and don’t worry about looking stupid as much. I’ve quit running from cameras too. Hell, I’ve even started putting selfies on Instagram.

My mug

But I still need to get to the stage where I don’t look in the mirror and hate what I see. And where I can change clothes without having to find the most secluded spot I can. It would just make my life a lot easier and happier if I could just do my changing in a room where I wasn’t worried about touching anything.
Sorry, this kind of turned into a ramble.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.