Saturday 29 April 2017

Brendan O'Connor: 'People really feel they can comment on your body these days'

Brendan O'Connor says people are forever asking him how he lost 'the weight'
Brendan O'Connor says people are forever asking him how he lost 'the weight'
Some people are uncomfortable when you let the slim man out
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Of course I bring this on myself, with my oversharing, but seriously, people really feel they can comment on your body these days.

If I was a woman, I'd be going bananas. Then again, if I was a woman, they wouldn't say it. They probably wouldn't say it if I was a proper man either. They probably feel it's fair game. I've invaded my own bodily privacy by talking about it so people feel they can offer their opinions.

Now, I hasten to add, it's mainly good. People who want to lose weight ask me how I 'lost the weight', as we say in Ireland. The Weight.

And people tell me I look good in that kind of surprised way that they don't even realise is insulting. But as my weight-loss journey - this particular weight-loss journey; there have been a few - continues, people have become more emboldened, a bit critical, maybe. One household name even used the word 'skeletal' to my face, and he wasn't even being mean, or maybe it was passive aggressive. But it was in the context of a very amiable chat. Worse, I wasn't even offended.

But you would get the hump with people who say, "You're too thin", or "Don't lose any more weight". You have to restrain yourself from saying, "Mind your own business! What do you know?" Let me assure you I'm not too thin. And no, not because there's no such thing as too thin. There is of course. But I'm not it. I think it's just that people are used to me being a bit fatter, and they aren't happy about me changing because it has in some way disturbed their equilibrium. Well excuuuuuuse me!

The reality is that though I have a skinny frame in ways, I still have a fine old gut on me, part of an extensive spare tyre. I have fatty deposits elsewhere too, like around what scientists call the moobular area. I am your classic skinny fat guy. My natural figure is a beanpole, but added onto that are areas of unsightly flesh. So I'm going to keep going for another few weeks and see if I can't get rid of a bit more of it, see if I can actually get the weight off the crucial waistline bit. In some ways I feel that this could be my last chance, as apparently it gets harder and harder to lose the weight as you get older. So having half done the job a few times, I might try and see it through this time.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm exercising too, and I'm not starving myself, so this is not an unhealthy thing I'm doing. In fact, I think it is laying the foundation for good health and good habits into the future.

As I mentioned before I am doing this idiot-proof system called The Taylor-made diet, which operates on the very simple basis that Ken Taylor delivers you the food, you eat it and nothing else, and then you lose weight. You get enough to eat, the food is very nice, and he honours my wishes not to have fish. But mostly you don't have to think and you don't have to exercise any complex form of willpower involving choice. You even get to stay away from supermarkets, where all bad things happen.

At this stage, after two months of it, I feel I might be institutionalised. I've even started thinking about trying to buy into the business. I worry about being released back into the wild again - all that choice, decisions, temptations, supermarkets. Then again, I managed not to put on any weight on a week's holiday recently and it was mainly by following the core rules of The Taylor-made approach. So just so you don't need to come up and tell me I'm too thin and then ask how to lose weight, here is what I've learnt from Ken Taylor.

Drink loads of water. Have smaller portion sizes with less carbs. Don't let yourself get too hungry or let your blood sugar dip. So eat regularly but eat less. I have a snack at 11am and 4pm and again at night. By a snack I mean a couple of oatcakes with hummus or pesto. I gather it's important to always mix a bit of protein with the carbs. Ken recommends you stay away from beer even on cheat days. I've taken this to mean drink slightly less beer. I'm also having the odd bit of dark chocolate on the sly. My gut health has improved massively and obviously this time I'm determined, even when I do finish the diet, to keep a lid on things in general and not to let the weight creep back on.

You should cut out and keep this column to throw it back in my face in six months after I've been at the pies again. But then again, no one ever says, "You're too fat".

Sunday Independent

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