For probably the first time in my adult life I’ve managed to lose weight AND keep it off over a sustained period of time. I’ve done this by eating and drinking anything I wanted, never being hungry, and never eating boring food. The Wee Fat Lawyer’s Diet Book explains how. It will be published in On The Side in five instalments. Each week, Tom Cooks! will have two accompanying articles. The first will have a few recipes from the book. The second will serialise The Wee Fat Lawyer’s A – Z of food.
At my very worst I weighed 200 pounds. For someone of 5 feet 8½ inches – the half being very important when you realise this is as high as you’re going to get, this meant I was clinically obese by the BMI scale. Through much of my adult life I have tried diets, mostly short lived and generally unsuccessful. I did get things down a bit. Through most of retirement I was round about the 182 pound mark. A damn sight better than before, but I was hardly a sylph. Unlike most I stayed pretty steady during lockdown, though put on a couple of pounds in February 2021. A pal said, why don’t we start a diet in April. Instead I began in March. Three months on, I have lost 17 pounds and am still going the right way. This is a guide to how I did it while eating well, eating and drinking anything I wanted to, and never being hungry.
Recipes which appear in italics will feature in future episodes of Tom Cooks!
I am a child of the pre-metric age. While in my recipes I have embraced metric measurement, I can’t get my head round body weight in kilos. Equally I don’t expect you to get your head around stones (1 stone being 14 pounds). So I’m compromising with you by going transatlantic and using pounds (lbs) as a measurement. Here is a conversion table.
While I have read widely on food matters in the six years of producing Tom’s Food! I have no qualifications in the fields of nutrition or dietetics. Anyone with any specific medical condition, or anyone who experiences any unusual symptoms while dieting should seek expert professional advice (and not from a lawyer, regardless of his girth). Any calorie counting which I quote comes from using an app called My Fitness Pal. It’s free to download. I am sure that there are others, but those who know more about these things than I do say it’s one of the best. So my first tip for you as you start your preparation is to download it and familiarise yourself with it.
What Do You Mean, Preparation?
I spent quite a bit of time contemplating why previous attempts at weight loss had gone wrong. At the root of it is mindset. It’s fairly easy to take off a few pounds; however, if you want to keep them off and maintain a target weight, you do have to commit to certain changes in your life style. Maybe that begins with the first question.
Why Do You Want To Go On A Diet?
Perhaps you looked at yourself in a mirror standing sideways. Well, I wasn’t going to get personal at this stage, but yes, I agree, it’s not a pretty sight. Or those favourite jeans threaten to cut you in half once you manage to do them up. Maybe it’s something more serious. Medical grounds, for example. Perhaps your GP has told you that you’re in line for Type 2 diabetes. That’s a potential killer, but one which can be avoided. You get breathless going up stairs? Your knees hurt? There may be many reasons for these latter two, but if your lungs and joints weren’t having to lug the equivalent of an extra 10 bags of flour their job would be easier.
What Do You Mean By A Diet?
Oh, I just need to cut down for a couple of weeks, take a couple of pounds off.
Come off it! You saw your reflection in the mirror. There may be a few of you out there, the super fit ones, who really do just need to shave off a couple of pounds. But the rest of you, stop kidding yourselves, otherwise prepare to fail.
Why Diets Don’t Work
The answer to this lies in another question. What will you do when the diet is over? The vast majority of people simply revert to their previous eating patterns. And they made you put on weight, remember? So what do you think will happen? You worked it out – you’re not daft. Madness, they say, lies in doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Let’s look at a more fundamental question.
Why Are You Overweight?
This, like the theory of weight loss itself, is absurdly simple. Let’s get borderline scientific. You have heard of calories. A calorie, or kilocalorie to give it its full name, is a unit of energy.
Think of your body as a car. To make it work it needs to burn energy, the process known as metabolising. Unlike a car, your body needs fuel even if it seems entirely inactive. Your body is totally inactive only when you’re dead. Even when you’re fast asleep, or slumped in front of the telly, you still need to burn up a certain amount of energy. A machine working at high speed needs more fuel. That equates to you when you’re taking exercise.
We’ll have a look at the complexities of your metabolic rate later. All you need to consider just now is that the energy your body needs is measured in calories. And, conveniently, all of the fuel you consume (food and drink) is also measured in calories.
If you tried to fill your car with more fuel than it needed, the tank would overflow. Our body doesn’t have an overflow system, so it converts the surplus into fat, preparing you for a time of famine, when it could burn up these fat reserves to keep you alive.
OK, Tom, cut the pseudo science, what are you saying?
Firstly, my apologies if you are feeling patronised and awarding me 10/10 for stating the bleedin’ obvious; however, experience suggests that people will happily overlook the basics in the hope of some miracle result. I know. I’ve been guilty of that in the past. I’m writing this because I have made a success of it this time by recognising a fundamental truth.
If you consume fewer calories than your body burns up, you will lose weight
It really is as simple as that. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, come with me. A diet can help you lose wight, but if you want to attain and maintain your ideal size you must be prepared to modify some of your habits.