Belfast Telegraph

How sticking at my diet and losing weight has given me a real lift

By Claire Harrison

Way back in the dark, cold depths of January, April seemed like a long, long time away. Back at the start of a 12-week weight loss programme, reaching late April seemed like a deadline that had zero chance of happening. Sure, I would probably survive to see it alive, but I doubted very much I would still be sticking to a strictly no chocolate, beer, crisps, cake or any food fun whatsoever regime.

Cast your mind back to the end of January, when I wrote about my decision to do a U-turn on my long-held pledges of no New Year's resolutions and no diets. I've never liked diets. I love food too much and I was genuinely accepting of being a size 16.

But I was forced into a sharp reassessment when I jumped on a see-saw with my husband and four-year-old daughter on one side and me on the other - and I started to sink towards the ground.

Around the same time, my employer was looking for pleasantly pudgy guinea pigs to take part in a 12-week weight loss programme called £s for lbs, which bribed us with a promise of a charity donation for every pound lost.

I signed up, full of determination after the see-saw incident, but also fearing the realism that I have no discipline whatsoever when confronted with a slab of hot chocolate fudge cake.

So, here I am, 12 weeks later, and delighted to report that miraculously I am 10lbs lighter.

Overall, 19 of us signed up for the Business in the Community initiative - and about half made it to the very end. The fact that I was one of them is incredible. I'm full of admiration for all my colleagues who stuck with it - particularly the two joint "biggest losers", who lost a whopping 18lbs each.

Together, we lost 146lbs. If you'd said to me at the start that I would be 10lbs lighter - and a dress size smaller - within three months, I would have been cock-a-hoop. But the truth is, I'm actually a bit disappointed, because I know I could have done better.

I plateaued about two-thirds in before I got consumed by a particularly bad fortnight which disappeared in the blur of a wedding, two birthday parties, a college reunion and a hangover day when I headed to the chocolate stash.

Despite all that, I still managed to break even after those two weeks.

What has changed for good is my attitude towards food and snacking. In fact, it's a long time since I thought about the 12-week deadline.

Somewhere along the line, I subconsciously succumbed to a new long-term attitude that will not allow any return to my old habit of eating a bar of chocolate and packet of crisps every single day.

I also used to have a "sheep and lamb" attitude to food. If I knew I was going out for dinner that night, I always thought "Well, I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb" and indulge all day long. Now, I do the complete opposite because I know I'm going out.

So, after my final weigh-in, there was only one thing for it. I had to go back to the offending see-saw with bemused husband and daughter in tow.

We clambered on - them on one side and me on the other - and teetered on the brink of balance for an excruciating second or two.

Then, slowly, but very definitely, I started to rise up in the air.

A tweet worthy of Dynasty’s Alexis

Of all the cat fights Joan Collins could pick, I wasn’t expecting her to pick one with, eh, Joan Collins.

The grand dame of showbiz has gone to great lengths to distance herself from a namesake Irish politician, who was arrested at a Dublin water protest. “The very idea!” the actress tweeted in horror.

Joan Collins TD hit back, denying she was ever a Hollywood glamourpuss. The fired-up politician clarified that she had never taken an honour from the Queen, “nor did I wear shoulder pads in the 80s”.

“The very idea!” she blasted back at the Dynasty star. Now that’s a spat Alexis and Krystle would be proud of.

Sorry, but this is still selfie-obsessed

Oh for gawd’s sake. No sooner is the “no make-up selfie” out of the way, then along comes the Selfie Esteem movement. Good Morning Britain launched the initiative after its survey found 41% of women said pictures on social media made them feel bad about themselves.

So GMB is curing this low self-esteem with an inexplicable campaign encouraging well-known faces, such as its presenter, Susanna Reid, to take a “no filter” close-up and post it on social media. The celebs are now all modestly piling in but, just like the no make-up selfies, you’ll have to search hard to find any unflattering visogs. These never-ending gimmicks are so annoying, I’d rather just suffer the low esteem.

Belfast Telegraph


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