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LighterLife Diary: Introduction
So there I was, 24stone, with a diabetic condition which was not improving, low self-esteem, compulsive eating habit, rubbish self-confidence, vast clothes, not much pride in my appearance, and absolutely no interest in any more diets which didn't face the reality of my desire to be full.
I was in the Eye Hosptial waiting room early in October 2005, ready for another examination of the damage that high blood sugar was doing to my eyes, when I came across (oh thank you, dear Lord!) a copy of a magazine called LighterLife. Thinking it might be a history of smoking materials igniting equipment, or perhaps a selection of lampshades, I chose it in preference to the other mags on offer: ones all about C list celebrities' latest trips to the barber or out-of-date Office Supplies mail order catalogues.
But here were believable people who had lost a lorry load of weight: a woman who had not only shifted 4 stone in a few months, but kept it off for a year so far; a bloke (ugly bloke, too) who had been lighter by 5 stone for two years... This was something with which I could relate. It wasn't about tasteless salad cream, public weigh-ins, getting a round of applause for losing 8oz in a fortnight - this was about stones and shedding them fast. You can only start the course if you have 3 stone or more to lose. I think I qualified. Truth is, I could have done the course 4 times over.
So I visited the website, called the local number, checked out the dude, discovered the frightening truth about me and about the programme, got enrolled, made a plan, set my face towards a new me. I got permission from my doctor (reluctant, caustic negativeness 'it's a silly fad diet and it won't work but if you want to try, it'll only harm your wallet, so go on if you must'), booked a table for my Last Supper (scallops and lots of bread followed by 16oz T-bone steak & chips, followed by fresh fruit salad, washed down with a couple of pints of beer) and waddled unattractively away from decades of heftiness.
In 401 AD, St Augustine of Hippo wrote ‘Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.’ He was writing about Marriage, but his sentiment reflects my feelings about eating.
1580 years later, in the wonderful Bill Forsyth movie Gregory’s Girl, our hero turns to his brother the chef and complains loudly, through a vast shower of pastry crumbs ‘Food! That’s all you ever think about – food! You’re a freak!’
Now read on...