Express & Star

Andy Richardson: Pass the Jaffa cakes – the pounds keep falling away

“Hey mate,” my friend said, as we stood in a car park and talked about incidental music. As you do. “Yes?” “Mate, have you, erm, lost some weight?”

I’ve finally taken the plunge...

Ha. Damn right. Twenty-five big fat pounds of it. And there’s more to come. “Just a little,” I said, though the scales have reported a happier story in which consistency is rewarded by looser fitting trousers.

Hurrah. I’ve spent most of my adult life being a little heavier than I might have liked, though, in my mind, I only ever cast back to the time when I was light, fit, and supremely healthy.

That phase, relatively short-lived, across five or six years, coincided with a penchant for marathon running and my weekly mileage of 30-35 miles meant I could eat a whole loaf of bread for breakfast while maintaining snug-fitting 30’ waist jeans.

And that, remarkably, is where some sort of internal barometer has remained over the years.

I’ve spent a disproportionately long time holding onto a wardrobe full of clothes that I’ve not been able to wear for approaching two decades, though there’s been a refusal to let go of the slimmer version of myself.

And so, after years of I-really-must-stop-eating-a-whole-packet-of-Crunchy-Nut-Cluster-cereal-in-a-day realisations, I’ve finally taken the plunge.

And, story of stories, it’s worked. A three-pronged attack that has avoided any of the 30-35 miles per week that I used to run has worked wonders.

My face no longer looks like Santa’s, and as I reach the halfway point on my, ahem, ‘journey’, things are looking up.

I’ve walked this route before, of course.

After an initial month of lockdown, during which the days at home were mostly spent eating crisps, I knocked two stones off a desired weight loss of three – before promptly getting back out into the world and realising there were loads of great food shops and restaurants that I’d missed while being shut at home.

Funnily enough, the two stone returned in half the time it took to lose it.

And so, in the words of Whitesnake, Here I Go Again. Except this time, yeah, this time…

While previous attempts have focused on loads more exercise, this time – for reasons I’ll share another day – there’s little time for that.

And so I’ve eaten lots of apples, rather than Crunchy Nut Cluster cereal, while, somewhat bizarrely, watching the similar journey of a relatable-but-totally-different mother of two somewhere on Instagram. Funny the places we find inspiration.

Juicing has become a thing. As have thoroughly healthy drinks stuffed with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

But the game-changer has been this: intermittent fasting. Here’s the thing: I like discipline. If I know what to do, I’m perfectly happy to do it. Wear a tie?

Fine, I’ll wear a tie. Turn up at 7am? Fine, I’ll arrive at 6.50am, just to be on the safe side.

Make sure you post this by Thursday. Don’t worry, it’ll go on Wednesday.

With the exception of birthdays, which my brain fails to compute, I’ll happily fit in.

I’m reasonably sure in another life I must’ve been a collie dog, listening to a farmer’s whistle and herding sheep into a pen.

So if I have an app on my phone, telling me it’s fine to eat between those hours, but not any later, it’s as easy as not eating a whole packet of Walker’s Sensations to follow.

And so it began. An eat-for-10-hour, don’t-eat-for-14, quickly moved to 9-15, then 8-16, then 7-17, and now, who knew, it’s 6-18. And it works.

If I want chocolate brazil nuts for breakfast, or a vast sausage bap for lunch, it’s all gravy, providing I eat within the allotted time.

Providing I don’t eat my own bodyweight in cheese late at night, or, of course, get through a whole packet of sugary cereal, I achieve my objective.

Consistency works and my trousers are no longer snug. I’m 25lbs down on a 45lbs transition and the challenge will then become to keep at that level, rather than yo-yo straight back – which I’m more than capable of doing.

Still, must dash. The intermittent fast starts in 30 minutes and before that I need to eat a whole packet of Jaffa cakes.

Time is money. It’s also calories.

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