(This also appears in BLYHART’s Journal, but as most of you know, BLYTHART and BLYTHPHOTO are one and the same person – Dave Edwards).
Here is a subject dear to many people’s hearts … but oh so difficult in practice – losing weight.
I am trying to lose weight for the sake of my health (as many of us should) and find it is a process that involves a lot of “tough love”.
It’s a mental process as much as a physical one in my opinion.
At this point, I can hear a few of you muttering, “What’s this got to do with art or photography?” Well, while grudgingly admitting that maybe photographers get more exercise than artists, I must mention that the majority of artists spend an awful lot of time sitting at a desk. I’d like to bet that many of you have a few chocolate “refreshments” by your side too :-)
Diets are all very well. Many people go on a diet and lose lots of weight, but then when they have reached their target weight they stop dieting … and of course back comes the flab.
Re-education is the secret; it is a change in life-style that is needed, not a temporary diet.
At this stage I must stress that I am not one of those clever people who knows it all – far from it … I am struggling with all this.
I’m 5’ 10" in height (1.778 metres), I once worked as a postman (mail man) for 25 years and never weighed more than 168 pounds (or 12 stones as we Brits call it). A fortnight ago I weighed 196 pounds. I have gained 28 pounds (two stones) in ten years.
In the last fortnight I have been eating sensibly and I now weigh 190 pounds. Okay – six pounds is not a miracle weight loss, but it is a step in the right direction.
Philosophically, I see weight loss as a simple distinction between WANT and NEED.
When I was a postman, I did A LOT OF WALKING and I carried heavy bags all day. That needed lots of fuel and I got into the habit of eating x amount of fuel per day. When I retired on health grounds I continued to have the same appetite, but it was because I WANTED the food, as I no longer NEEDED it.
Let me share a little secret with you …. I recently had to have a surgical examination done in hospital. The preparation for this involved going without food for 27 hours. I stuck religiously to this and do you know –
How many of us have a snack “to keep us going until dinner time”. We often look at drug addicts or even smokers and think to ourselves, “well, I’M not addicted to anything.” Okay – try doing without your lunch and then ask yourself if you are addicted to anything.
I am now trying to educate my body into judging approximately how much food I NEED to get me through a day.
We all have our own failings (this is “be honest” time). My failing is a love of chocolate and sandwiches.
My wife is a sensible cook and makes sure we get our fruit and vegetables and not too much fat or sugar (which of course turns into fat). As I said though, my failing is chocolate and sandwiches. I have conditioned myself over the years to believe that it makes me feel good to have some food in my hand while I am watching TV.
I also like a bar of chocolate to “keep me company” on car or bus journeys.
For the last fortnight I have been (it’s a struggle) forcing myself to resist choc bars and sneaky sandwiches, crisps (Americans call them chips) etc.
So to sum up, by concentrating on main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and severely limiting eating between meals I have lost six pounds in a fortnight. I am slowly learning the difference between eating because I NEED food and eating because I WANT food.
One last thing … I’ve only been mentioning food, but of course, as we all know, the expression “beer belly” speaks volumes. I now drink on average only one and a half cans of beer per week. A look at the stomachs of male drinkers in any pub will tell you that beer puts on weight at a terrifying rate. All alcohol does, in fact.