No sweetness, and lite everything: The things the health and fitness lobby don’t want you to know

Step by step: I wanted to lose weight; I didn’t want to lose my 20-year-old wardrobe

I’m now exactly 200 pounds. Six months ago there was another 31lb underneath my clothes – which is roughly the same weight as my five-year-old daughter. Photograph: Getty Images

I’m now exactly 200 pounds. Six months ago there was another 31lb underneath my clothes – which is roughly the same weight as my five-year-old daughter. Photograph: Getty Images

 

There are things the weight-loss zealots would rather you didn’t know.

A huge industry (ironically) is geared solely to convincing everyone that shedding pounds is the answer to life’s problems. It’s all sweetness and light (without the sweets, and everything is lite) when you are being encouraged to shed the pounds.

The lose-weight cabal lure you in with tales of being able to fit comfortably in the back seats of cars and standing up from chairs without grunting. But they leave out some vital information.

There are disadvantages to losing weight. For example, it’s cold. Who knew? It’s warmer when you have extra insulation wrapped around you like lagging on a boiler.

And there’s much nonsense about finding a whole new you, that’s there’s a new person inside just waiting to break out (just the one?).

Suddenly, you’ll be the life and soul of parties, dazzling people you fancy, gaining new friends, embarking on new adventures. In reality, you’ll probably be the same you; just a smaller version of you. That’s a good thing, right?

The list is endless. Most disappointingly, water parks are much more fun when you’ve a few pounds of momentum on your gut. Gravity dismisses thin people as boring. And, recently we’ve had to start counting the cost of losing weight.

The wrong wardrobe

Dropping ballast is expensive.I now own a wardrobe of clothes targeted for someone completely different.

This collection was acquired painstakingly over the past 20 years. I’m not joking. Not one item has ever gone out of fashion, mostly because nothing in the wardrobe has ever been in fashion.

It’s not that I have great fashion taste and am just too poor to prove it. No, I have no fashion sense at all. In fact, if my clothes have ever made a statement, it was probably: I didn’t have time. I’m not against being stylish; I’m just not clothes minded.

The point is, however, that I’ve always managed to buy only clothes that fitted. And seeing as I’ve been between 16 and a half stone and 17 stone for the past two decades, there was little need to throw anything out. So long as any top had at least one “X” on its label, it was perfect.

However, while I bought the clothes over the past 20 years, in six months I’ve managed to outgrow them all. Or they have outgrown me.

My youngest daughter, who is five, moves a weighing scales by the same amount as I have lost since March. She is the perfect physical reminder of my weight loss; it’s the difference between giving her a piggy back and walking hand-in-hand.

The motivation effect is high and worth doing regularly. Find something that correlates to your weight loss, even if it’s only a bag of sugar, and congratulate yourself on not having to carry it around. However, do not, under any circumstances, hold up a five-year-old girl in company and say: “Look what I lost!” (I won’t do that again.)

However, no longer carrying such a load has left more than a few dilemmas in the fabric department. How long do you hold on to clothes that are too big for you? And, if, rather than dumping the old, baggy clothes, they are left in the bottom of the wardrobe, is that an admission of defeat? Is it a signal that, some day, the likelihood is those clothes will be needed once again?

Psychologically, is it right to throw them out?

I wanted to lose weight; I didn’t want to lose my clothes. But perhaps there’s something to the saying that clothes make the man (as Mark Twain said, naked people have little or no influence on society). So surely swimming in clothes made for a bigger version of that man is not particularly a good idea.

Perhaps buying new slimmer clothes will inspire me to lose even more weight. Which would be great, as long as I’m not in the same situation again in another few months. It’s time to go shopping, with a detour to the clothing bank. 

Step by step
Intellectual approach to losing weight
Most apps on straps are rubbish
My daughter is trying to kill me
It’s not you, it’s me. Hold on, it’s you
You don’t have to turn into an ass
I met my next child’s godfather at a race
It’s tough when momentum runs out
No sweetness, and lite everything
Stopping the treadmill with your tummy
When it’s my turn to make dinner . . .
The kitchen table looks out for us
- Skinny friend eats like an elephant
Tomorrow we diet
How to get back into exercise
At what age do you fall apart?
I’d jog for wine
I’m a binge drinker
- What if losing weight makes you sad?
- 12 months later, time for health tips
- The ultimate global deception

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