Regular readers (this is where I tell my Dad I love him) may remember that three months ago, I was sadly kissing goodbye to my daily peanut fix. After the family doctor’s request for me to pull my socks up and remove some cholesterol from my plumbing, I had a good long think and decided to give real healthy eating a shot.
I decided on a new start for all things gastronomic: goodbye peanuts and fat, hello fruit and veg. The peanuts were given the old heave-ho, and I bade a fond farewell to crisps, cheese, butter, cream, and their pals coconut milk, red meat and charcuterie, who were all shown out of the door with a firm handshake and no bad feelings. The cream was replaced by tins of slim and sexy non-sweetened, evaporated milk: 7% fat instead of the 30% found in crème fraîche. O% fat yoghurt provided me with calcium (there’s no point trading in strong bones and teeth for low cholesterol). I started playing around with new recipes, and even dared to feed my family meals without meat from time to time.
I stayed the course, and after three months navigating in low-fat seas, I am proud to say that it worked – to the tune of a 16% decrease in my cholesterol, which is now below the official threshold. I am proud of myself.
Strangely enough, the biggest achievement for me was to have kept on track; the proof that I can find motivation if the reason is valid. The prospect of being as skinny as Wonderwoman and her lycra-clad crowd never motivated me. Yet when I was faced with the uninviting prospect of clogged-up arteries and the possible consequences, I realised that seeing my kids grow up was the biggest source of motivation I could imagine. Avoiding any health problems which could be considered as self-inflicted became a necessity.
Happily, mother nature has thrown in a little compensation for my good behaviour. Whilst I was carefully controlling what went into the machine, she was quietly chiselling a pound off here and an inch off there. The bathroom scales were adamant: low-fat eating leads to weight loss. I have dropped 7 kg (just over a stone), and 9 cm have disappeared from my waistline, another 9 from my hips. Confirmation came in the form of my jeans hanging around my rear end: Houston, we now not only have builder’s bum, hip bones and a waist, but we also have access to the clothing box in the garage with “too fat for this now” scribed on it. And it’s not finished: my skin’s great, and I have bags more energy.
So anyone out there who is looking for a cheap and foolproof way to drop a few pounds, here it is. Forget Fatkins, Poo clan, Fate botchers and the rest of what I call the “pay to delay” diet tribe. You are the key to your own success, you don’t need to pay for miracle books, pills, gadgets, or humiliating meetings. Just decide to put your health first, eat real food, and ignore the rubbish – even if you don’t think you eat that much. Put the car keys away and walk the short trips. The pounds will automatically drop off. It’s a win-win situation. It’s so simple, it’s stupid. It’s all about a permanent change of lifestyle, not just a few weeks before going back to your old habits.
Last but most definitely not least, the whole family is eating differently now, with lardons and crème fraîche only making temporary appearances on the menu, and red meat and pork pushed out of line for more vegetables, fish and chicken. No children were harmed in this experiment, in fact they are all as lively as ever and still finish their plates before leaving the table.