Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tales from the Scales update

Just letting Schmidt know I'm available

Eleanor Goggin
Eleanor Goggin
Weighting game: Pat Fitzpatrick, John Drennan, Triona McCarthy, Eleanor Goggin, Brendan O'Connor and Aine O'Connor before their weight-loss programme.
Using her head: Triona McCarthy
Brendan O'Connor
Darkening mood: John Drennan

Eleanor Goggin

It’s the fourth week of the challenge and our columnists are seeing some big changes.

STARTING WEIGHT: 13st, 7lbs/85.9kgs

I'm actually changing my approach to food. This is coming from the person who on the way back from my 'before' photo, pulled swiftly into a fast food joint on the journey home and bought burgers and chips. A last supper. I shouldn't have been, but I was eating while driving.

In my manic haste, the burger fell out of its greasy little bag and landed on the floor of the car. Now bearing in mind that I have a dog who sheds every second and travels in the car a lot, I should have discarded it. No, I picked it up off the filthy hairy floor of the car and shovelled it in. Not normal behaviour.

But now I think I might be becoming normal. A yogurt is a treat. And my protein chocolate and cereal bars from the Motivation Clinic are a definite treat. I get hysterical with anticipation about them. Now I don't look much thinner. Yet, that is. But I'm determined I will. I could still line out for Ireland in the Rugby World Cup and hold my own in the scrum as a second row, but I'm getting there.

The realisation has hit me that the pictures on processed meal packets look way better than they taste. So I've actually started making my own stuff. Quick and easy to start with but much nicer even though I say so myself.

I used to skip breakfast and lunch, unless I was meeting someone for lunch. Now I have all three meals and my protein bars, which is definitely making me less likely to eat my body weight at night.

Now the drink is another matter. I was in west Cork at the weekend and once again over-imbibed. I was good enough about the food though. So, it was with the same fear that I keep harping on about that I went into Susan in the Motivation Clinic. And guess what! I was down four pounds. That's 13 pounds in three weeks. Over the moon would be an understatement. I've lost two and a half inches off my boobs. Hopefully my bra will fit me properly soon and I won't have that other little set of boobs coming out the side. I'll be a 32A yet.


Every maggot has a silver lining, apparently

Aine O'Connor

STARTING WEIGHT: 12st, 3lbs/77.7kgs

The way my hypnosis works is that over eight weeks I attend one personal session a week, an hour or so in a sweet smelling, warm room with my therapist, Mary. Such is my aversion to all things diet, that it took some persuasion for her to get me to fill out the food diary. I know they're useful, but just to see one pinned to the fridge, again, rings loud bells of failure in my stubborn head. As I've said, confusion about the calorie content of battered sausages isn't the issue. I need to stop the self-sabotage that keeps me from solving a problem that I know how to solve.

But I do the food diary and it is with this that we begin each session. We discuss how I am feeling and Mary says I can discuss any other issues that are going on in my life, offering some interesting techniques for dealing with anxiety. Sometimes we eat to stuff down other feelings. Sometimes we stay fat so we have something clear on which to focus our self-loathing instead of dealing with other issues.

Then she reclines my chair, covers me with a blanket and talks me into a quiet place. When I am in a half coma she replaces her voice with a new CD, the one that I will listen to twice a day for the following week, and slips out of the room. I am dimly aware of the movement and normally by the time she returns I am waking gently, zoned out and happy.

Week Three begins as gently as all the others but the phrase "aversion therapy" and the little zapper I have been given make me suspect there might be an edge. Suffice to say there are maggots and dog vomit in my favourite bad food, and by the time Mary glides back into the room I'm lying on the La-z Boy, wide-eyed and clutching the blanket. The softener is I don't have to shock myself when I'm going to sleep, just during the day.

My brother laughs heartily at the vision but suggests that with a bit of judicious editing I could use this week's CD for my own ends. Apparently, every maggot has a silver lining. Play it to Beloved while he sleeps, "There is dog vomit in your golf shoes."


I've a top rack of a six-pack. I could be in for a fab-ab time

Pat Fitzpatrick

STARTING WEIGHT: 13st, 7lbs/ 85.9kgs

Mixed news this week. Let's start with a positive. I have an ab. Or is it two abs? I'm not sure. But after two weeks of strength and fitness workouts, I have the top rack of a six-pack.

It just appeared last week out of the blue, a ledge of rib appearing out of my midriff. I took on this eight-week regime for all the right reasons. I thought it would get me doing some exercise when the kids went to bed, rather than watching Mad Men with a pack of fun-sized Crunchies on my lap. It's working on that front. What I didn't realise is that it might make me a bit vain.

I'm going to be honest here. I've started looking at myself in the mirror a bit more since I got the ab. I'm starting to appreciate why Cristiano Ronaldo whips off his jersey to flash his six-pack when he scores a goal. Hopefully, this won't lead to me releasing a perfume for men called Essence of Fitzy. That's not really my style.

The bad news this week comes in the form of a confession. I haven't been following the diet aspect of the course that closely. It is based on the Paleo or Caveman Diet. The menu for this week looks delicious. Omelettes, grilled fish, chicken curry, vegetable Bolognese and the like.

The problem is time. We are like a short-order kitchen here at the moment, trying to cook meals for ourselves and the two kids. I'm sure the cavemen had no problem saying "look after yourselves, honey, I'm just going to have an omelette and head out to run after a woolly mammoth." But we're slightly more modern in our house and I'd never get away with it. To be honest, we eat well, anyway. That probably explains why I've lost three pounds since last week. So things are going well. As long as I don't lose the run of myself over the ab.


I'm using my head to lose the weight

Triona McCarthy

STARTING WEIGHT:  13st, 2lbs/83.6kgs

You know me - I'm always on the lookout for easy ways to lose weight. My latest top tip to reduce weight is to first turn your head to the right, and then turn it to the left.

Repeat the exercise every time you are offered something to eat. Yes, that's what I've been doing all week long when out and about at various functions.

As a beauty columnist, I have to go to a lot of appointments where beauty PRs ply me with coffee and cake and even cocktails, and generally I'm the only one in the room that eats and drinks it all and have even been known to take a doggy bag home with me.

Yeah, you guessed it, we don't have a dog, I'm the bloody dog! Rough, rough!

Which is what I've looked like for the last while what with two pregnancies back to back, working away and eating too much and not getting enough exercise.

Believe it or not, I'm not a very vain person. I don't think that song is about me.

That reminds me of a joke. We need a joke now, don't we, as apparently a belly laugh makes you burn calories, another easy way to lose weight, doncha think? So here goes, hold onto your control pants.

I asked my partner Will, "Do you think I'm vain ?"

He said, "Why do you ask?"

"Well, girls as good-looking as me often are."

Har di har, har, har!

So, yeah, I'm honestly not terribly vain and so I've let the weight pile on, but like I said before, I'm really good with clothes and can hide it.

Peeps are shocked when I say I'm a size 16, although I prefer the look of smaller clothes so often buy things too small for me, which drives my Mum and my sisters insane.

I always think I'm going to slim into them.

For example, I do a lot of shacketing.

I totally made that word up. It's when I wear my jackets over my shoulders because I can't get my arms into the fecking thing!

It was actually really easy to dress when I was pregnant as I could legitimately let my belly hang out.

Different story now, though.

I see people not really sure if I've had the baby or not and a girl in Butlers chocolates may have asked me when I was due a few weeks ago!

So the good news is that I've lost 2lbs this week.

I feel I'm definitely getting fitter thanks to Steph's workouts, and I'm still loving all the gourmetfuel food and never feel hungry and don't even feel like bingeing on my day off.

I love eating healthily and now I crave what I can eat. In the same way when I was eating badly, I just wanted junk all the time.

I swear I never had a pizza delivered for breakfast one morning, okay, more like midday, when I was a total party girl and was so hungover that when the delivery guy rang to say he was outside my front door, I might have asked him to come round the side of the house and get him to hand it to me though the window while I was still in bed!

No, I definitely never did that!

Thank God I met Will, who, as I've told you before, is the feeder in our family.

I can't cook.

My favourite thing to make for dinner is - reservations!

Even when photographer Tony Gavin called to do my photos for my LIFE magazine column and brought the most delicious-looking cakes, I said no and when I was filming my new series for TV3 called Triona's Quickies, I once again just drank coffee and did the head-turning, left-then-right exercise, because I'm such a header!



Why is everyone treating me as if I might have an eating disorder?

Brendan O'Connor

STARTING WEIGHT: 13st, 10lbs/87.3kgs

The strange thing is this: For years I was overweight and probably borderline obese, but no one I knew ever really commented on it, apart from maybe my Mum, who would gingerly encourage me to lose weight. I was risking heart problems, diabetes, cancer, bone and joint problems and lots of other things. I was very unfit and my blood pressure was on the high side. But no one saw fit to say a word to me about it. In fact, they did the opposite, always assuring me that I could carry it, and other reassuring platitudes like that.

Now I am much fitter, much healthier and much lighter. I get much more exercise and I eat a much healthier diet. However, I still need to lose some weight, particularly around the middle, which is the most dangerous place to have fat sitting. And so I am trying to do it. And basically people are treating me as if I have an eating disorder. "You don't need to lose any weight," is the constant refrain of not only people I know but strangers too. As gratifying as that is to hear, it's not true. I know what a healthy body should look like, and mine is not healthy. It says something about the culture we live in that obesity is pretty much encouraged while losing weight is met by a reaction that is, at times, downright hostile.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, I am on something called the Taylor Made Diet. A man delivers a bag of food to my house every two days. I eat that food and pretty much nothing else.

So. Week Three nearly over and I have to say it's working. Mostly. I am losing weight. I am feeling good. I am told I am glowing with health. And I don't feel hungry. Mostly. Apart from the odd time I just want to give it all up and eat what I want. And I so miss certain things.

For example, I miss feeling stuffed. I miss eating until I want to explode or fall asleep. I miss administering anaesthetic by food. I miss comfort eating. I miss when you sit down and eat a big starchy old dinner and then pile on a load of sugar on top of it, and then you go catatonic on the couch in front of the TV, getting up occasionally to top yourself up with some crisps or chocolate. I miss those mini diabetic comas where you just throw caution to the wind.

What I don't miss is the constant sugar roller coaster. What I am really realising through this diet is that most of the time, when I eat the rubbish I eat all day, I am not actually hungry, just bored and coming down from the last rubbish I ate. The idea of low-GL eating is that you do not get those sugar spikes and therefore you do not get those sugar lows that make you want more sugar. For me it has been about stopping food as an addiction. And I actually feel the addiction is being broken. For example. You know how people who manage to kick addictions find that they have a lot of time on their hands? I am actually finding in the evenings that I have more time on my hands. I also have more of an interest in other things. Now that my whole evening doesn't revolve around food anymore I find I have more time and headspace for other things. Though I do feel that slight emptiness that ex-addicts apparently feel. Like when my wife comes down from telling the kids a bedtime story and asks can she get me anything. And I ask for a glass of water and maybe a few berries.

On the other hand I think my habit of gluttony is abating. On Sunday, on my day off, when I can technically eat whatever I want, I find I'm not such a piggy. I wonder if this diet is teaching me moderation. Could it be that I am learning the meaning of 'enough'?

Of course there are hiccups. The whole edifice is reliant on my not having to make any decisions. Just eat what comes in the bag and nothing else. But the box let me down one or two days when there was too much of a celery bang off the soup. I went into a panic. I had to go to the supermarket and try and figure out a harmless lunch to have. The certainty of the box of food and the security of it coming every two days is perhaps my new addiction. I'm not ready to go it alone yet. Three weeks in and the weight loss is slowing obviously but I am down 11 pounds.




Sparkling water and cordial - and still the monkeys wreck my head

John Drennan

STARTING WEIGHT: 16st, 5lbs/104.1kgs

PROGRESS: Nearly but not quite

MOOD - Blacker

WEIGHT LOSS - That's my business. Get a court order if you want to find out.

I am like a little downy ball of fluff right now ... in dieting terms at least. Like a fledgling bird - a pleasant little puffin if you like - I am perched upon the top of a vast chasm.

Still preparing for flight; still anticipating the great adventure; still tremulous. Well, they do say that in diets, anticipation is better than consummation.

Of course life still gets in the way of the great launch with all its bells and whistles.

Last weekend, for example, we had the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis. Happily the pious new moral nature of Fianna Fail means we will be safe from appalling prehistoric practices like afternoon pints.

So happily a modest quiet time involving many workshops was (not) enjoyed by all.

It was unfortunate that my phone mysteriously switched itself off and I missed those 27 urgent calls. Sorry about that, office.

And I still don't understand how I woke up on Sunday morning with 20 monkeys playing the banjo in my head.

It must have been the sparkling water and blackcurrant again.

The diet books, meanwhile, look very nice on the table.

Like an Egyptian sarcophagus they have turned into quite the feature.

John Drennan is reading 'The Fast Diet' by Dr Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer, €11.90, Short Books; and Fast Cook, by Mimi Spencer, €10.99, Short Books

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