Friday 24 January 2020

Brendan O'Connor: 'Any fool can lose weight. But keeping it off requires cunning and determination'

Brendan O’Connor. Photo: Andres Poveda
Brendan O’Connor. Photo: Andres Poveda
Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

At the end of today's sermon I have a very important message on the Diet of Diets front. Believe it or not a lot of people have contacted me to say they are losing weight by just not eating breakfast.

I should stress that, as you may be aware, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or even a social media influencer or general wellness chancer. So don't do anything dangerous on my say-so. But it seems to be working for some people and it continues to work for me, with weight loss at a steady pound a week now.

Not bad, considering I am leading a normal life, eating what I want at the weekend (apart from breakfast) and having a few drinks.

I have now lost 18 pounds and am approaching my target weight. To be honest with you, I'm not exactly sure what happens then.

All my adult life I have needed and wanted to lose weight. It has been one of the threads running through my being. It is who I am. I am someone who needs to lose weight. I don't know who I will be when I don't need to lose weight. I will be someone else. Something will have profoundly shifted in my identity, in my raison d'etre.

I suppose, in reality, what I will become then is someone who needs to keep an eye on their weight. The new goal then will be to keep the weight off. And that, in its own way, will be the more difficult goal. Because any fool can lose weight. But keeping it off requires cunning and determination.

It's crafty the weight. It lulls you into thinking you don't need to keep an eye on it anymore. And even when a few pounds start creeping on, you tell yourself that that's OK, because it's only a few pounds. And then when you don't lose the holiday weight, that settles in, and your new baseline weight becomes a little bit more than it was. And then there's Christmas, or Easter, or a boozy weekend, and another few pounds goes on, and you let that settle in, and find a permanent home around your middle.

And that becomes part of your baseline weight. And before you know it you've put on two stone.

And I can stand here today and tell you that I am determined that this time, I will stick within a weight range agreed with myself. And that I will not allow myself to go above that range, and that I will take corrective action as soon as my weight crosses certain borders. And I can tell you that I have a huge motivation for that. And I can know that I want to live as long as I can, for my wife (whether she wants it or not) and my kids. And I can know that I want to keep my blood pressure down, because a stroke too young that doesn't kill you can be one of the worst things to happen to a man.

But still, I've been here before with this crafty enemy. And it will play on my delusion. So this time I will set the rules with myself and agree them.

But that's all in the future. For now, a bit more weight to be lost, and I'm going easy on myself, and I'm enjoying life, but come hell or high water or hangover or tiredness or celebration, I am sticking, even if all else fails, to one golden rule. No breakfast.

The important message is this: one man who is attempting to follow the diet is wondering can you have a cup of tea in the morning. To which my reply is you can have as many as you want. I start the day with a strong coffee and take several cups of Redbush tea to get me to lunchtime. I view it all as liquid. And it gives us poor souls something to warm and nourish us as we wait for lunchtime. So have plenty of warm tea. Just stay away from the biscuits.

'Brendan O'Connor's Cutting Edge' continues at 9.35pm on Wednesdays on RTE 1

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