Monthly Archives: January 2011

Keep On Running

I think this is going well. My reason for thinking this is that for 45 minutes this evening I actually thought I was easily fit enough and good enough to play football for Manchester United. Granted, my reasoning for this was not exactly established by my moderately taxing fitness programme. While this whole ordeal has seemed like a big deal to me, I doubt players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes got where they are by running for 20 minutes a day and cutting out crisps. Rather this fanciful notion was formed by the fact that for the first half of the game against Blackpool, United were to Football what Stevie Wonder would be to Darts. In the second half they annihilated hapless Blackpool and the reality hit that the closest I’ll get to playing for Manchester United is by adopting a Scottish accent and calling myself an overpaid waste on a regular basis.

Even his stubble is more than I could hope to achieve.

Elsewhere it has been rather quiet in the world of weight loss. With the weekly weigh-in being tomorrow, it’s a wonder I’ve managed to take my fingers out from down the back of my throat long enough to write this. I’ll be a supermodel yet, just watch me.

With little happening today, time to bring you one or two much-promised stories from the earlier days of this. Hark at me, three weeks in and I’m talking about this regime as if I’m Bob Dylan recalling going electric.

First up, the pros and cons of running to death metal music. Death metal isn’t for everyone, the drums sound like machine guns firing at a drawer full of knives, the guitars don’t just chug but positively grind and the bass is enough to leave more earwax on your headphones than there is under the tables of a primary school classroom. But if it is for you, then it is really for you. I am a huge fan of the genre, and this country has some bands that do it extremely well. If you like heavy music and ever get a chance to catch bands like Ingested, Annotations of an Autopsy, The Rotted and Morgue Orgy I suggest you give it a go, broaden your mind and support some bands who need it. A good gauge of whether you will like death metal is how offended you were when you just read the name “Morgue Orgy”. Reaching for the bucket? Then probably steer well clear.

The band responsible for my musings on the merits of death metal jogging are Trigger The Bloodshed, my favourite of the Brit-Death bunch. I first discovered them scaring the piss out of a bunch of floppy-haired scene kids who just wanted to dance at a metalcore gig in Birmingham and have loved them ever since. Their new album Degenerate really slams, and was my running soundtrack of choice on day two of this excursion. Now for getting me psyched up this was awesome. As opener A Vision Showing Nothing gave way to De-breed I was loving life, it was the closest I’ve looked to a genuine human being going for a run before or since. I detected a slight bounce in my step and the troubling thud of my heart trying to escape my ribcage was nowhere to be heard.

"Is that bloke in the crowd doing aerobics?"

However I noticed myself tiring extremely quickly. This is because rather than my usual, leisurely/snails/grass growing pace I had in fact took off like Linford Christie running from a drugs test. The double kick-drum assault had caused me to hit speeds never before seen, at least not by people who refuse to acknowledge any food that isn’t suffixed by “…and chips” as a meal. In a way this was very inspiring, tearing off down a country road to Britain’s premier riff-mongers. However I don’t think I’m quite ready for this level of exertion, my body is not yet a temple. Currently it resembles a dilapidated one-bedroom semi. The kitchen’s quite nice though. There I go, mind always on food. Anyway, I would however heartily recommend Trigger The Bloodshed for running to. As long as you are fit enough to watch tennis without getting tired and sweaty, you’ll find the catchy-but-crushing riffs an ideal aid to your daily jog.

"And you got those arms how? Ready Brek? Sure you did Linford!"

I know you are all gripped with excitement for tomorrow. Will his arms have grown? Will his belly have shrunk? Will he die in his sleep by attempting to eat his pillow while dreaming about giant Subway sandwiches? All will be revealed, I’ve got to run though. My body isn’t going to purge itself.

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I’m turning into a dog!



I am turning into a dog. It’s all there. The begging at the dinner table, the daily exercise routine, the urinating on the kitchen floor. Okay that is not exactly true, I generally do it in the living room. But I am almost certainly being turned into a dog by my regime.

Luke I am...busting for a piss, open the door or I'm doing it in the Millenium Falcon again

My first inkling to my new-found canine ways struck me when my Dad ate his lunch the other day. Now this was bread and soup, we aren’t talking filet mignon here. Bread and soup is a very nice feed, but there is a good reason Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger didn’t pour Heinz Tomato over each other in 9 ½ Weeks and it wasn’t just the impracticality of boiling liquid meeting skin. While a serviceable feed, bread and soup is not the stuff dreams are made of. At least not yours. To you bread and soup is the sum of its parts, but to the fat lad on the diet it is so much more. This is when I realised I might be a dog. Watching my Dad eat this suddenly-incredible meal I became convinced that if he had thrown a piece of bread on the floor I would probably have barked at our family dog and eaten the precious morsel for myself. Not normal, I thought to myself.

What do you mean they didn't have Heinz? Campbell's? Oh for f...

Dog personality trait number two: going for “walkies”. Now in my case “walkies” is actually “runnies” but being as that is slang for diarrhoea, I tend to call it “running”. However I have reached the point where, like a dog, my day is structured around that section of regimented exercise. Granted, I tend to save my bowel movements for indoors but I even tend to run along the same route that we take the dog. I’m actually surprised nobody has seen my hyperventilating-blimp frame jogging towards them and stopped to pat me on the head, saying “what a good boy!” Which is a shame really; because if a man walked up to me, ruffled my hair, looked me in the eye and said “who’s a good boy?” I’d run faster than I ever have before, and I’d probably never stop.

Who's a good boy then? Come here you little chubby scamp!

When I returned from my run I was troubled to find myself hammering the final nail into my dog-coffin. I did this by doing what every dog does when they come back from their walk. I paced up and down, burning excess energy then laid on the sofa chewing a cushion. Transformation complete.

I’ve been a bit lax in writing the blog recently, but fear not. To punish my literary laziness I doubled my weightlifting reps and running distance today and my body is about as happy to see me as American congresswomen are to see Drowning Pool fans (too soon?). There is something about crippling oneself with exercise that actually spurs you on though, as if this is some kind of badge of honour. This is because no amount of exercise seems impressive if there is not an attached degree of physical pain. “I jumped over the Grand Canyon and didn’t feel a thing” inherently sounds nowhere near as awesome as “I walked to the kitchen and back twice today and now I’m dizzy, I can’t feel my legs and I’ve broken two ribs” It is not what you do that matters, it is how racked with excruciating pain you are. Nobody is going to read a blog that just features a variation of “It’s going really well actually, thanks for asking!” every day.

The patient's injuries were caused by blinking? Quite common actually doctor...

I’ll tell you who did read the blog though, Whose Line Is It Anyway? star and all-around comedy legend Greg Proops! I know how name-droppy this must sound, but I’m excited and this is my blog so you have to listen (because clicking that red cross in the corner of the browser window will give you a virus, honest) Mr P wished me luck and congratulated me on the content so far. So if this is your first time reading BvsTB then tell your friends that you were awesome enough to get on board with the blog that the stars are reading. Tell ‘em Greg Proops sent you!


Phone The Police! Phone The Police! Phone The Police!

I gained a stone while going for a run today. I gained weight while doing something that is supposed to burn off calories. Those two sentences could actually represent the worst luck ever.

I actually dispute this fact, and blame the scales. Not in the same way that a Weight Watchers attendee would, breaking down into a howling bout of inconsolable tears, jowls wobbling as they plead with their group leader “it was only one Big Mac! Please don’t put me in the naughty cupboard! Okay it was six Big Macs sandwiched between two pizzas but still! I can change!” I promise, as desperate as this sounds I actually can’t have gained a stone! I have not strayed from my diet, not a calorie has crept in without me noticing. I’m like one of those bouncers who think their nightclub is much better than it is and refuses you entry for wearing something too blue, or for only having three different types of photo I.D. No calorie is allowed into my Viper Room unless he turns up in a suit, has shiny shoes and is friends with at least one Bee Gee.

Look love, if you don't recognise this man then you aren't coming in! Hold up, are they trainers? On your bike!

Now if I’d gained a stone over the course of a week, while I’d be reading the end of a Kurt Cobain biography for tips, I would at least kind of see it. I am a big lad, with many stones unceremoniously drooping from my anatomy. If another one managed to clamp on by mistake, I’d just put it down to the gravitational pull of my planet-sized midriff. But this was after one run! After this setback, I decided to take the only course of action that made sense.

Before I turned the gun on myself, I decided that having bought the scales today, they may just be faulty. Wow, that could have got messy for no real reason couldn’t it? The blood wouldn’t have been on my hands, it would have been on yours Pound Stretcher! In fact, I bet not all fatsos are as clever as me. I bet if there is a God he’s had to reinforce the clouds up there with all the chubsters who’ve offed themselves after being misleadingly informed that bravely shedding their inhibitions as well as their limitations by running the London Marathon has seen them gain three and a half stone.

I'mma win me some marathon!

My trip to buy the deceptive scales was not without incident either. While I was queuing up sadly not for a buffet or some sort of mid-week, roast dinner-eating competition but for a magazine and a pack of sugar free gum, I locked eyes with a security man. One of these fellas who decide it is a bright idea to move cases containing thousands of pounds cash in broad day light in the middle of a crowded street. So I locked eyes with this guy somewhat by accident. Possibly malnourished, I was just kind of staring into space. Though I’m not sure that limiting oneself to three meals a day and drinking water instead of beef dripping is grounds for malnutrition, but I digress. I nodded to him and he nodded back in the international gesture of “alright mate” So a minute or so passes, and this unfamiliar sound emanates from the vehicle; “Attention! A *name of company that I forget* driver is in need of assistance! Phone the police!” And nobody, not one person either in the crowded high street or in any shop along the whole street does a thing. Nobody moves. Being naturally of a nervous disposition I started to worry. Feeling an almost familial bond with my new best friend, I was deeply concerned for his safety. What if it’s an armed robbery? What if he’s hurt? What if he mistook my accidental and probably hungry look for me wanting to eat him? Could I eat a human? How do you cook one? What sauce goes with a human? All these questions crossed my mind as the cold-voiced alarm woman repeated “Phone The Police!”

I peered out of the shop window to see that my childhood friend was in the cabin of his vehicle, frantically trying to undo whatever he just did to cause this scene. He’d hit the alarm by accident. In all my minutes of friendship with him, I’d never known him to be so stupid.

What struck me was how wonderfully British the reaction to this whole thing was. In America, a message to phone the police would be met with screaming, praying, drawing of weapons and probably even the contacting of law enforcement, you know, like the message asked us to do. But in Britain, we don’t take a message like that at face value. “A driver is in need of assistance”, followed by the craning of hundreds of interested necks, all mentally evaluating just how much assistance he really needs. In this case, it was none. But what if something was going on? How much trouble would the driver needed to have been in for the Great British public to rush to his aid? What situation would have needed to be underway? A robbery? A murder? A Nigel De Jong slide tackle? A meteor shower? You can rely on us Brits to rush to your aid in a crisis. Once we’ve done a thorough risk assessment and marked the level of danger you are facing out of 10.

Attention: Xabi Alonso is in need of assistance. Phone the police!

That is it for today, hopefully more dicing with death tomorrow. Anything to take my mind off the dump truck of Chicken Nuggets and viaducts of full-fat cola I see in my dreams.


Further Trials of The Fat Boy

You can breathe out now, I’m alive. I didn’t get eaten by bears, I didn’t shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die and, thankfully, I didn’t sign for Liverpool as King Kenny’s last roll of the dice at saving the dying embers of Britain’s most annoyingly self-congratulatory football club. And guess what else? Go on, guess! No I’m not hosting the next Golden Globes after they ditch Ricky Gervais and I’m 94% sure Holly Willoughby’s baby isn’t mine. I lost weight! Okay, so that wasn’t exactly big news. It was actually rather minute news, seeing as this is a weight loss blog after all. In fact on news terms it was about as unexpected as “Charlie Sheen Likes Booze” or “Haiti Had A Windy Spell Last Year” But still, it’s a start.

Warning: Do not serve this man.

To be precise, I have lost four inches off my waist. At first this puzzled me, but I looked for them on my arse, my face, my neck and my man-boobs (or “moobs”) and these inches could not be located. They’re gone! Now granted, things could have been better. I mean I had a Subway today for the first time since I entered the programme (because making it sound like rehab clearly makes it more appealing), and despite losing six inches off my sandwich by downgrading from my usual foot-long, only four came off my waist. There is no God. Or at least if there is, he wants to keep me plump so the other religious deities don’t start hitting on me. I bet that is how all this started, the Mighty One saw Ganesh giving me the eye and in a fit of jealousy has been throwing kebabs into my mouth ever since.

How YOU doing? 😉

Apologies are in order. Being only the start of week two of this cyber-shindig, I’m still learning the rules myself, never mind having to pass them on to the loyal readership (that’s you). Basically the weekend is going to be my time off from updating you all on my every move. But I promise I won’t let you down. Fat will continue to be fought, calories will continue to be counted and sit-ups will continue to be…sat? Take this weekend for an example. This weekend I headed to a football (soccer to those of you who play football with your hands) match. I thought this would be a really good thing for me; I love watching the sport and would love to get into a shape that would allow me to be a better player and shake off the Emile Heskey comparisons that sadly/thankfully don’t extend to my playing ability. Perhaps I would be inspired by watching the professionals. What I hadn’t considered was my pre-match refreshment. I was absolutely parched as we came up to the ground, and while I was sensible enough not to plump for beer or a glass of food-processed pizza I was troubled to find that I’d passed all the shops. This left only one option. The unthinkable. To go to my favourite burger van and come away without ANYTHING to eat.

Well what did you think the unthinkable was? That I had to offer a human sacrifice for a can of diet Lilt? That I had to reveal myself as Luke Skywalker’s father just to receive the tropical refreshment? The trouble with this particular burger van is it is very visible. What I mean by that is that you, the patron, and those serving you are actually separated by a desert of sizzling hotplate. We aren’t just talking a bit of a slab here, we are talking vast grandiosity. The Sahara. I nearly had to email my order to the woman behind the counter, that is how far away she was. And this whole gargantuan surface is littered, is decorated, is absolutely engulfed in burgers. Burgers and onions and hot dogs. And the smell! If there was a Fat Boy heaven up there, somewhere between doggy heaven and thin people heaven, it would smell like that hot plate did. The overwhelming smell of meat. Meat and the salt of the thousand tears I shed upon it. This was it, my biggest test since I decided to take on the Bulge. This was D-Day and this burger van was the beaches of Normandy. I’ll leave it at one huge moment of historical significance for today, or else I’ll have nothing to compare a fat guy trying to get thin with tomorrow.

Luke...I am your father. Now fetch daddy a Lilt, there's a good lad.

I was so close to watching a display of athletic achievement sure to drive me forwards and cause me to redouble my efforts, only to be slapped in the face with the freshly-fried beef-patty of temptation. I felt like a drug addict being accidentally dropped off at a crack den instead of the Betty Ford Clinic.

Cab drivers beware: This is not a crack den

But did I relent? No! In my head I relented a thousand times over, ordering double, triple, quadruple burgers. Breaking the world record for the amount of onions held between two regulation slices of bread. Drowning into a melted-cheesy grave. But in reality, “that’ll be £1.50 mate” and a chubby little hand handed over the requested amount without so much as a “and six portions of chips please” or a “how bloody much you thieving urchin?” in reply. I had leapt over the hurdle. Or ran around it at least, I don’t really have the figure to be hurdling.

I’m reaching a critical stage now, and it is one I’m very happy to be at. I’m at the stage, after a week, of being too invested in this. If I stopped now, if I ordered a Dominos pizza, cracked open a beer and never saw my running shorts again I’d actually be really annoyed. I haven’t gone crazy here, even writing that sentence was enough to make me drool all over the keyboard. I’d be lying if I said that a life of sloth isn’t still an appealing prospect. But as Cheryl Cole proves every time she tries to hold an adult conversation, being appealing isn’t the same as being worthwhile. At the end of the day I’m doing this because I want to live a rewarding life, and what could be more rewarding than coming on here every night and moaning to you reprobates? See you tomorrow!

Cheryl Cole + Bikini=7 billion blog views


How Jeremy Kyle stopped me from going to KFC

Jeremy Kyle is helping me lose weight. Technically he has no involvement or say in the matter, but he is the reason I haven’t gorged myself on bacon-wrapped Wispas or whiskey-covered pizzas. Today I went shopping with a mate, and our usual ritual involves worshipping at the house of the Colonel, namely KFC. I think I rattled the poor guy, as his look of genuine shock seemed to be waiting for the revelation that I was ill, perhaps that I had been diagnosed poultry intolerant. Or maybe even the news that a southern-fried (in the Colonel’s unique blend of herbs and spices) chicken had murdered my parents, Batman-style and that I was now an orphan with an insatiable vendetta against fowl. But it was Kyle, with his “I’m on such a high horse I get a nose-bleed up here, you scumbag!” smirk and his “I know the baby’s yours, you troglodyte” snort. Jeremy Kyle, without even knowing it, stopped me from going to KFC.

Are you talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME? I don't see any other smug hypocrites here, so you must be talking to me.

This has come about because today I was reminded of an episode of JK’s morning show from a couple of months back. The Jeremy Kyle Show, for the uninitiated is perhaps the most garish, and therefore compelling three-ring circus left in this country. It is everything you loved about Jerry Springer combined with everything you hated about being told off at school. Rather than just kick back like the Springster and watch the action unfold like the wonderful, slow-motion car crash that these shows are, Jeremy gets stuck in like he’s separating two six year-olds arguing over whose turn it is with the Tickle Me Elmo. He tells everyone to “look at me when I am speaking to you!”, to “shut up because this is my show!” and that “I’m Jeremy Kyle!”. And he delivers these lines as if he’s George Bush addressing the Al Qaeda office party; Dripping with witty, uneducated yet utterly thrilling contempt. At least it was thrilling, until he started doing it to me in my head.

So three men walk into a pub. A Palestinian, an Iraqi and a Kosovan...

 

Seeing Jeremy this morning in his natural habitat, teeing off on his monosyllabic opponents, reminded me of a “special” episode of the show that aired late last year. Now normally the show just features Kyle in verbal set-tos that are to intelligent debate what David Haye vs. Professor Stephen Hawking would be to Boxing. Jeremy, a university-educated former gambling addict who’s had scores of affairs, is clearly the ideal candidate to belittle uneducated people who are often gambling addicts or people who’ve had scores of affairs. Excuse me a second, an uneducated gentleman just walked past the window and I need to tell him he’s fat, his hair’s too long and his beard is rubbish.

He's coming for you David Haye. Be ready.

This special episode was a medical edition, basically Jeremy Kyle standing next to doctors and angrily repeating their medical advice to more sickly looking versions of the usual gutter-scrapings he has on as guests. Because these were no ordinary medical complaints (though Jeremy screaming “you’ve got a cold you absolute Neanderthal, get off my stage before I set fire to your grandma’s bungalow” would have been worthy of a broadcast), these were medical problems as freakish as the knuckle-draggers who suffered from them. This episode dealt with obesity and you can probably see what’s coming.

Now I don’t have a gambling addiction, I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t have a wife to beat and I’m not pregnant with the milkman’s baby (as of my last test). Therefore Jeremy’s brand of idiot-seeking put-down missiles generally land on others leaving me only with feelings of amusement. But this episode was shocking. After his usual bout of emotionless but rigorous hand-shaking with his terrified audience, Jeremy brought out a really fat bloke. It was a while ago now and I don’t remember his name so we’ll call him Flabtimus Prime. Now Flabtimus was having a rough time, he’d managed to lose his penis under his stomach and he certainly wasn’t going to find it in the boxes of Miniature Heroes he had under each arm. Or not, I forget the details. Anyway, FP was struggling to satisfy his considerably smaller lady, whose posture looked to be the biggest victim of their peculiar trysts. So Jeremy held both their hands, sympathetically and gently, quietly, barely audibly he told them he was here to help. I’m kidding of course, he made Flabtimus take his shirt off and then strapped him to a slab.

Once on what will henceforth be uncharitably named the Flab Slab, Flabtimus Prime was berated, insulted and mocked for being a tub of worthless lard. Suddenly the smile drained from my fat little face. I felt how the black passengers at the back of an Alabama bus felt when Rosa Parks was verbally abused by staff for refusing to give her seat to a white man during the Civil Rights movement. Another column, another comparison of my weight loss attempts to a historical watershed. I digress, Flabtimus was copping it bad from Jezza. The doctor kept trying to interject with medical information but JK just kept insisting the guy was going to die almost immediately, leaving his wife a widow in need of both sexual relief and a chiropractor (though some places apparently do both).

Slightly braver than me. Slightly.

This hit home for me and thus despite being a man who, if you’ve read the previous blogs you’ll be aware has maintained visual contact with his most valuable asset despite these tubby times, I turned down the KFC. Why? Because no amount of fried chicken, or fried anything really, could persuade me to go on the Flab Slab. I don’t want Jeremy Kyle spitting on my man boobs and telling me “to man up!”, or “to start acting like an adult!” and “to get off the drugs, stop molesting badgers and look after your baby!” I don’t want my bare chest appearing on television until my abs are so defined they make Daniel Craig in Casino Royale look like a blonde-haired, craggy-faced chump who shouldn’t be James Bond. Or, you know, more so.

I think Google is broken. I typed in "James Bond" and this twerp came up.

 

I must leave you now, and I sign off with the news that I’m going to stop promising you things because as the eagle-eyed amongst you will surely be aware, today’s column didn’t include the Rocky V musings, the gun-wielding farmer story or the death metal jogging advice. All those things will come, but too much happens to me for me to know exactly when. Probably tomorrow. Probably not though, I’m avenging my parent’s deaths at the hands of a rampant zinger burger.


Nando’s chicken, Sleeping Beauty and the Second World War

Okay so I ate half a chicken. Now hear me out here guys, for a start it wasn’t alive. At least not recently. Secondly it wasn’t for me, it was for my girlfriend. Okay, so it wasn’t for my girlfriend, it was in honour of my girlfriend. I ate half a chicken because it is what she wanted. Alright, fine! She didn’t specifically mention wanting to watch me swallow half a chicken like a cartoon cat eating a fish. She may have just let me buy her a birthday dinner at Nando’s, which she probably wasn’t aware included a complimentary floor show of me assaulting the half-bird like Pete Doherty going after a peri-peri coated photographer. I am aware that it was technically merely my presence and a token mouthful of something healthy, perhaps something green on a bed of something slightly greener, that was necessary for the festivities. But I am sceptical of this method. Allow me to elaborate.

Peri-peri marinaded photographer out of shot.

 

The same reason I didn’t man up and have something girly is the same reason why I hope never to have to work in a Subway. That is because working in a Subway for me would be like changing the sheets in a brothel. Substitute the crack-whores for a foot-long steak and cheese (which I’ve tried, but Subway only take cash or card) and it is exactly the same. As broken as this thinking must sound, I can’t go out to eat and deprive myself. I’d much rather deprive myself at home, it seems much more British somehow. Deprivation of anything; sleep, sex, food, oxygen, is something discussed only in one’s drawing room when the children have gone to bed, the women have gone to sew and be repressed and the men are taking their snuff and drinking impossibly expensive single malt. It is not just for my own wellbeing I fear either, think of the staff. If someone my size went in to a restaurant and said “I’ll have the salad” the waiter would probably awkwardly pace, awaiting the inevitable addition of “along with three deep-fried turkeys, a vat of chips covered in ground up Malteasers and an oil well of lager please.” If this was not forthcoming it would make the situation very tense for the waiter, what with the long silence and all. Best to save him the embarrassment and have a proper meal, eh?

WARNING: Subway Stores Ltd no longer accept prostitutes in exchange for this sandwich.

 

Elsewhere it has been an up and down day. Nutritionally I’ve done well, bar “The Great Nando’s Massacre”, however my usual fifty sit-ups were reduced to a pathetic three by a searing stomach pain. This must be down my body’s recent discovery that the muscles I used to inhabit the space where I keep my fat were not, in fact, stolen when I was 11 but are still there and holy hell are they angry! My stomach muscles have been woken up, and they are not enjoying the morning! Imagine a slumbering princess from the fairy stories of your childhood, needing a kiss from a noble prince to wake her up. Now imagine that the prince decided that setting fire to the curtains and headbutting the princess in the face was a better away to awaken the sleeping beauty. My decade of physical slumber has ended, and Princess Stomach would have much preferred the kiss than fifty sit-ups a day, a run, weight-lifting, lunges and less food than she has had since I was in the womb.   

Wake up love, its time to do your sit-ups!

 

I’m pleased to say I didn’t yield, and rallied with more lunges and running than usual to compensate for my inability to bend at the waist. I’d love to seamlessly segue into my next point by saying “it got me thinking why I decided to do this” but as anyone who read yesterday’s column will know, I planned to talk about that today anyway. What I’m looking for on this journey is achievement. I’m kind of in the lower-middle category for achievements by a 21 year old. I’ve got a university degree, which granted isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do, but with the government’s plans to raise tuition fees, it is pretty much the only thing in this economy that will increase in value over the next few years. I’ve had three part-time jobs and managed not to get sacked from any of them. I’ve had a lot of articles published on a range of topics including music, film, sports and news. I’ve won the League Cup and Premier League on Fifa 11 (not the proudest moment, but you’d be scared to hear just where it would rank in order of importance) These all came easily in a way, I’m not bragging but I didn’t have to push hard for these things. Perhaps including the degree in that isn’t fair, as it was a struggle but writing is something I’ve always found enjoyable. And I needed a last minute winner in the League Cup. But I guess I’ve always felt like I haven’t tried hard enough, that I haven’t reached for anything.

Hold up ref, you mean I CAN'T put the League Cup on my monster.co.uk CV?

 

My generation is one that has had to make its own achievements in a way. So was the 90s generation, but they at least managed to write books such as High Fidelity and Fight Club or make films, like…erm…High Fidelity and Fight Club about being a generation defined by being undefined. Other generations have had wars, or cultural uprisings such as flower power or punk, but the Noughties kid doesn’t really have anything tangible. With other eras, you earn credibility just for being there and rightfully so. I was at a university full of people who threw on Abbey Road or Electric Ladyland and wished it was the 60s. Admittedly less of my friends dug trenches in the floor, ate Kendal Mint Cake, rationed their butter and waited for Hitler to bomb us, but still the underlying envy that other generations were part of something, anything, was always there.

Nobody who hit adulthood in the noughties looks like this. Nobody.

To compare my struggle to shed an unwanted stone or three to the Second World War is a little bit over the top, and certainly not a direct comparison. But I’m doing this because I didn’t want to spend my life ducking out of things, of being happy to stand in a crowd of people walking in the right direction, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things and living the right life without trying. I’ve known I need to lose weight for a long time, but actually doing it is something I’ve only ever paid lip-service to. There have been other runs, previous sit-ups and dozens of brief diets. That is where this blog comes in. This is the padlock for my trap door, I’m boarding up the fire exit guys. Because I’ve quit diets before and not told a soul, most people I know probably don’t know or care how many times I’ve gone for runs then been too “tired” to follow it up with more exercise the next day. This blog is culpability. If this blog dries up, then this little corner of the universe will think I’m a quitter. So keep reading, and please comment. And if you come on here one day and there is no blog, get on my case and ask me why not. Make me do this people, because I can say no to myself but if this experiment has shown us anything so far, it’s that I’m probably too lazy to say no to you all. Until next time, where I will unveil the virtues and pitfalls of jogging to death metal, tell the tale of the drive-by shooting farmer and possibly even get to the Rocky V story I promised you yesterday. Possibly.


Save Me Davina!

Admit it, you’re impressed. It’s okay to be impressed. You read yesterday’s column and thought “this idiot won’t last the night without a KFC family bucket and a medical drip filled with milkshake” But thankfully, and partly because the Colonel hasn’t deemed my sleepy rural village worthy of an extension to his poultry juggernaut, I have survived. I say survived like I’m someone who went down with that plane full of Uruguayan rugby players in Alive!, or someone who at least fended off the hormonal front-row crush at a Justin Bieber gig (mentioning Biebs will surely get me some extra page views as well, score!). My ordeal however is at best meagre, at worst ridiculous. Yes, for the first time in a good year or two I ate like a normal person.

He'll be fat one day too.

Now I’m no candidate for a Channel 5 documentary along with all those bed-ridden, liquid-muscled gargantuans with legs that look like Godzilla’s testicles. Until I procure some scales you’ll all just have to picture me as looking like Jack Black if he’d ate Christmas dinner every two days since the actual festive day had passed. Not a floppy, sofa-engorging testicle-legger, but not quite on the right side of the puppy fat/fat fat scale when compared to the loveable School of Rock star. I think this may be the first time Jack Black has ever been a role model for a diet and workout plan. If you’re reading this Jack, feel free to endorse my plight preferably by offering to star in the screenplay I’m writing. Atta’ boy!

He better hope Godzilla doesn't come looking for those.

I’ve never quite understood how the bollock-limbed neck-beards on those shows actually got so big that the only way to contact them is by removing the roof of their house. How did they miss the signs? The lower halves of our bodies are actually a unique measuring stick gauging how in-shape we are. This works best for men, for instance if you strip below the waist (please don’t do it now, neither of us want you to have to wash the keyboard) and look down you should notice three things immediately. I don’t want this thing to get any cruder than it has to, but essentially if you have to move your stomach in order to steer when you go for a slash then something is wrong. Your officer and his gentlemen should be visible from a standing position. Call this sign one. If you can’t see the wedding tackle then you have been warned.

If that isn’t enough to scare you straight, and many teste-thighed blobs will dismiss a loss of contact with their commanding officer with twaddle like “it’s cold in here!” and “I can find it when I need it!”, then this next warning might. Now your legs take less coordination to operate than your unmentionables, but if you can’t see them then Chubston, we have a problem. Think how long your legs are, they are generally around half your height. If this lengthy surface area is swallowed by stomach then surely it would be time to pick up something that isn’t either a) fried or b) the TV remote.

Luckily for me I haven’t mislaid any parts of my anatomy underneath my admittedly sizeable stomach, and I like to think if I ever did I wouldn’t just hit the Milk Tray until Davina McCall came round with a camera crew and a crane. Perhaps I’ve pre-empted the signs, because here I am running, sitting up, lifting stuff and eating like a real person. I used to put food away in ridiculous quantities (“used to” meaning two days ago), but for the purposes of giving fitness a chance and giving you lot something to read I’m calorie-counting. This means trying to keep somewhere in the ballpark of the 1500-2000 calories a man needs a day. I also aim to hit this intake by being sensible, as tempting as Dad’s offer to eat 75 cream crackers was.

Even now, she's seeking out the big brothers.

So far I’m holding up well, the physical exercise being the most gruelling part. I hit the road again today for my daily run/jog/bouncy limp. Mr Balboa and his wonderful but ultimately misleading theme tune did not get an airing today though. I thought after my struggle yesterday I would attempt to be unconventional and did my road work to the album The Clash by the sneering Brit-punkers of the same name. Joe Strummer’ss band of rag-tag musical misfits, I hoped, failing any physical success would at least give me the strength to curl my lip and spit at speeding motorists. Sadly I’m not of the disposition to pull off the raucous rebellion of The Clash, and instead I nodded at the motorists I did encounter as if their decision not to commit vehicular manslaughter was common courtesy rather than obeying the law. Looking at it from there point of view, it must be alarming. They’re nipping out at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon, perhaps to get a few bits from Tesco or to tell someone how good their grandchildren are at stuff that nobody cares about. Then, what’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? No, it’s what appears to be a dark-haired Vanessa Feltz in a Superman hoodie looking like she’s about to be sick. I am in fact a man, but the rest of their fleeting impression would be accurate.

Me earlier.

Now I’ve deposited some more weight off my mind, and hopefully an incremental amount from my waist, I will leave you good people until tomorrow. In day 3’s column I’ll reveal more about why I’m doing this, why I am avoiding re-watching Rocky V and whatever happens tomorrow. Keep reading, or I’ll have to binge-eat to a point where not even Davina can save me.