Tai Pang – Time for a Diet – part 2

On returning home, I didn’t rush to embrace my family.  Instead I sought the one I knew would tell me the truth.  The one that up till now I had been steadfastly avoiding.  The scales.

The last time I’d had the guts to weigh myself I’d been just shy of 13 stones.  Being just over 5’9”, by my reckoning this meant I had been a little over weight.

I have no doubt that the UK government will have set up a pc dep’t of hysteria which justifies its existence by classifying people like me as hideously obese with perhaps only hours to live.

Of course the lives of such “obese” people like myself could be saved from an imminent coronary if they just followed the advice of the UK agency i.e. consume 19 portions of fruit and cabbage each day, only drink alcoholic drinks on February 29th and most importantly of all, never miss an opportunity to preach sanctimoniously to innocent bystanders about how great you feel since you gave up one of the following ;

alcohol/fat/sugar/cigarettes/laughing/ a live and let live attitude… etc etc …delete as applicable.

I’ve always thought it better to relegate stupid people to background noise and I make no exception for the UK gov’t and its helpful agencies…

Anyway, I stepped on the scales and the LED informed me I was 110kg.  “Doesn’t sound too bad I thought…….I wonder what that is in old money…”  Calculator out…..110 x 2.205lbs = 243 lbs.  That didn’t sound so good.  Anyway, just need to divide by 14…………

“Bloody hell !!  Eat your heart out Mama Cas……”     I was 17 stones and 4 pounds !  I tested the definition of madness by standing on the scales a further 3 times in the hope of achieving a different result but my old, much neglected, acquaintance wasn’t going to lie to me.  After the incredulity subsided the shame set in.  This was a disaster.  How could I have let this happen ?  That’s it.  I’m going on a diet……

However, I am afraid that for at least a while, the self delusion persisted.  Three days later found me at Shanghai United Family Health Hospital talking with my old friend Dr Wang.  She was a ‘banana’ (yellow on the outside but white on the inside).  An American Chinese who hailed from New York, I was sure she’d dealt with more than her fair share of obesity.  She’d understand…

“It’s like this Dr Wang.  However hard I try, I just can’t lose weight.  It’s so unfair.  I think you need to do some tests.  I think it’s probably a problem with my metabolism.  Or maybe it’s water retention ?  “

Her sceptical faint smile cried out “Oh Jesus please !  Not another fat b*stard in denial ! ”.  However Dr Wang was a lady.  A true professional.  Her real thoughts would never be allowed out.  She replied ;

“Ok Richard.  We’ll run some tests to find out if there is anything wrong.”  Unsaid…We both know there’s nothing wrong but who cares, Bupa will pay for the tests…!)

Of course, as sure as night follows day, the tests showed there was nothing wrong with my metabolism.  There was no water retention.  I was just suffering from a severe case of sip-thip syndrome (self indulgent pillock turns himself into porker).   The disease was not new but was in fact fairly widespread and luckily, there was a known cure.  It was called self control and I was going to have to acquire it.

The thorough professional that Dr Wang undoubtedly was, she proceeded to incentivise me as only Doctors can.  She scared the living daylights out of me.

“Richard.  I’m afraid your blood pressure is very high.  This is dangerous and we must put you on tablets straight away !  Your cholesterol is also very high and I am talking LDL not HDL.  You have children and you want to see them grow up.  You urgently need to lose weight…..”

Sufficiently chastened, I resolved that whatever the temptations, I was going to overcome them.  I wasn’t yet sure how, but I was going to lose weight.  Hearing the faint sound from the ‘Rocky’ trailer in the back of my mind I felt buoyed.  Confident.

I am one of those very luck men.  My wife knows everything.  Even better than this, she’s prepared to share her unending wisdom with me.  The encyclopedia was binned years ago.  Obsolete.

We settled down to watch CSI Miami.  My wife holding forth ;

“It’s easy.  You just need to eat little and often…..”  Her hand dipped down into the family sized bowl.  She inserted another fistful of cheese and onion crisps into her mouth and crunched away noisily.  I nodded sincerely.  Grateful for these pearls of wisdom.  Next advertising break she disappeared to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.

I speculated that the labour involved in making the tea had left her critically short of calories and this perhaps explained why she returned from the kitchen with 2 kit kats.  Normal house rules applied.  We divided them up at the usual ratio…..…..two for her….zero for me.   Undeterred she warmed to her theme ;

“ Your problem is you haven’t got the self control….”  Crunch crunch….  My God, had she refilled the bowl with another packet of crisps as well ?

“You need to take a leaf out of my book.  Regular small snacking.  Little and often.  That’s the way……”

My wife is 7 years younger than me.  She is one of those irritating “slim whatever” people.  I calculate she must consume around 4,000 calories a day.  Energy exerted in the regular freely given advice possibly burns off around 200 calories of this but I reckon that if there was a God then she would weigh somewhere in the region of 17 stone herself.  But Mao was right.  There is no God.  We live in atheist Communist China and my wife weight never goes north of 9 stone…….

I love my wife in spite of all this.  It’s pretty clear however that if I was to make any progress weight wise, I needed to follow normal practice i.e. nod with apparent interest whilst discarding all her “useful” advice, promptly… …

I had an idea.  I had been on the Atkins diet some years before.  It was dull and repetitive and not long after acquiring the mandatory dog breath, I abandoned it.   I had lost some weight however.   With this in mind I decided to put together a protein dominated diet that I could stick to.  I also remembered reading that low fat diets always failed because people needed a healthy intake of fat.  Deny the body the necessary fat and the body would store it.  It made sense therefore that if you ate a lot of fat, the body would surely burn fat with abandon.  Well, that was the theory.

Anyway, out went bread, potatoes and carbo hydrates in general.  Out went margarine and in came butter.  My new diet involved bacon, ham, pork, cheese and a lot of eggs.  Small amounts of fruit and vegetables were allowed.

I’d like to report that my new diet was very difficult to stick to but thanks to my new found ultra will power I was able to stick to this new punishing regime.  I’d like to say that but I’m afraid that would be a complete lie.  In truth, the diet was easy to stick to.  I soon realised that I felt quite full after quite small amounts of fat and protein.  Not only that, the satisfied feeling of fullness lasted.  I could eat a 2 egg omelette at 7pm and still be full at midnight.

I did a little work in the gym, but not much.  The weight fell off.  Within 15 months I had steadily declined from the peak 110 kilos to just 80 kilos !

I still enjoy rich exotic foods from time to time but I cannot face the prospect of throwing all my good work away, so I do manage to keep my binges to a minimum.

I still also have a fear of bureaucrats however I will grudgingly admit that I simply couldn’t have lost all that weight without the help of a certain lady at Hong Kong immigration……

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