let’s get physical – part 1

We’re having a lazy evening meal of pasta and sauce with chips for tea tonight, which is a carb overload and doesn’t look especially inviting when splashed across a comic book – so no recipe card tonight. No, I thought I’d type out some thoughts on my exercising history ahead of another article I’ve got planned explaining Body Magic, Slimming World’s sister programme where you are encouraged to exercise alongside the healthy eating.

My own story with exercising is somewhat predictable. I was a skinny little thing until my balls dropped, I grew a peach-skin ‘tache and my voice dropped, upon which I grew a cracking set of tits and filled out my trousers. PE was a nightmare because I had an absolutely horrible PE teacher who took great delight in making all the fatties be on the ‘skins’ team, i.e jiggle and wobble our way around a basketball court without our shirts on. My prevailing memory of PE was me deciding I didn’t want to do cross-country and shouting at him, across the changing room, that I had terrible diarrhoea and couldn’t possibly join in. His reply, with his midget hand firmly on his bony old thigh, was to yell back ‘WELL IT’LL MAKE YOU RUN FASTER’. I had to put the tears in my eyes down to the four hundred cubic metres of Lynx Africa that hung in the changing room.

Actually, in retrospect, I’ll give him that one. He was still a prick, though. Plus he used to wear the same rancid running leggings day in day out – blue Foothold ones that were strained around the gusset. You shouldn’t be able to tell if your PE teacher was Jewish or not just by accidentally glancing at his crotch. Tell you what, though – he was a cracking geography teacher. Odd that!

In high school, PE was no better, but by that point the teaching staff had essentially given up on the fat kids and we were allowed to sit on the mats and gossip. I mean honestly, the clues to my inevitable lifestyle choices were there. They did eventually tell us off when we brought scones, clotted cream and jam to our PE class – and that’s not even a fib. So, unlike most of the other lads who were happy kicking a bit of leather around in the mud or running aimlessly towards Newcastle Airport and back under the guise of cross-country, an enjoyment of sport was never fostered in me.

<flashforward wishy-whoo noise>

Paul and I decided to join a gym back in January, and told ourselves that we would look around the various gyms the region had to offer. We looked at one, and signed up for a year on the basis that a) it had a pool and b) it had a scented steam room. Honestly. David Lloyd in Jesmond. We were very keen to begin with, but stopped going, predominately because the weights area was absolutely full of preening, roid-rage arseholes who spent more time grunting in the mirror than using the machines. It was intimidating and always smelled of onions. I remember quite clearly one man who screamed ‘FUCK’ every time he lifted a weight and then looked around each time to see who was looking at him. Arseache. He was also one of those men who strut around the changing room bollock-naked so you can see all of his muscles. And they weren’t worth seeing. He had a cock like a mouse’s ear for a start. Also, for the money you pay, the machines are quite old – which is fine, but if I’m a gadget man and I like things to distract me from the crushing heart pains and the death-rattle breathing. I don’t think it’s particularly unrealistic to expect a top-end gym to have a bike machine whose foot-straps don’t snap and break every time you use them. I mean, for crying out loud, I don’t have hobbit feet. The pool was pleasant enough, even if we drew gasps and pained looks from the Henriettas and Lucilla lot as we hoisted ourselves out of the pool. We haven’t been for a while.

The scented steam room was a joy though. I might have came out with a face like a baggy scrotum but I smelt like a Florida orangery – and that’s what it’s all about.

I’ll write more on this at another time, I’ve enjoyed looking back over my fat shoulder! But for now, that’s enough mental exertion talking about physical activities.

weigh in – week six – a triumphant return!

Ladies and gents, your attention please. After a week of sticking to plan, ‘enjoying’ the super-speed soup for two lunches (and the subsequent chutney fountain that followed about three hours later), we have clawed our way back and…

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A wattle is those weird fleshy bits that some people get on their face instead of chins.

Hooray! In a weird bit of symmetry, we both lost 4.5lb – and I hadn’t had my usual pre-meeting Douglas, so there’s probably another one pound ready to be sent to sea. This brings us neatly back on track – and – I got my stone award! Nothing says I’M A WINNER like an A5 card with ‘YOU’RE A WINNER’ on it. Actually, I quite like getting the stickers and certificates, because I’m enchanted by the pretty sparkly colours. The plan for this week is 2lb off each, which will bring our weight loss to 28lb – and who knows what I’ll manage to dig up to compare THAT against.

I’ll leave you with a tale from yesterday. Paul has a friend who was celebrating his 90th birthday, so naturally he volunteered me a couple of hours before the party to make a cake to serve 20 or so people with a Russian theme. Well, I really pulled it out of the bag – as the icing was from Dr Oetker and the candles from Sainsburys. Hastily, we arranged the cake, and Paul thought it would be a great idea to put NINETY BLOODY CANDLES in a star shape on the top. I told him to exercise caution. Paul, being Paul, ignored me, and decided to take the cake to the pub and light the candles using my cooks blowtorch because ‘it would be quicker than using a match’. Indeed it would. But ninety candles pushed together and lit with a blowtorch produces a giant flame unlike no other – and god bless him, he put it down in front of the ninety old man and told him to blow it out. I’m nearly 30 and thanks to a few years of dedicated, blessful smoking (I’ve seen stopped) I’ve got crap lung capacity and can barely blow the froth off a cappucino. So this 90 year old chap had no chance, and the entire cake went up in flames.

Oops. Still, think of the syns he saved…

J

another long day – boooo

Apologies for the absolute lack of recipe cards this week but I’ve hardly been home to fanny about on my iPad, let alone have the time to make fromage frais sound like an inviting prospect. I’ve had nandos for my evening meal yesterday and Wagamamas for tea tonight. Can I just say, I’ve never felt like more of a fat bastard than when I staggered out of Nandos with five full paper bags of food. Admittedly I was buying for eight but who isn’t going to look and think ‘REALLY, WITH THOSE TITS’ at me. Bah. I’m not going to pretend I’ve made the right choices but my work has overtaken me for once! I’ll start anew tomorrow. But let me give you a quick take on my lunch today.

Normally, on the extravagant sixty minutes that my chains are released and I am free to leave my desk during the working day, I will go to a quiet place, like my car or the park, to read, sleep, eat dinner or imagine various psychopathic fantasies upon the various degenerates of Newcastle. However, today, I made the fatal error of venturing into town in order to pick up a prescription. In half-term week. Ugh.

There’s a shop in Newcastle called Fenwicks which you have to cut through the men’s clothing department in order to get to the food hall. It’s the worst possible experience for a fat bloke, let me tell you. It isn’t the clothes that are the problem, though – I have long since accepted that my clothes come measured in metre increments rather than inches. No, it’s the staff. The floor seems awash with those posing peacock men who strut around with their o-so-achingly styled facial hair and jeans so tight you can almost see their individual sperms wriggling around. Let me say something: men who have beards should be burly, rough men who thinking washing their arse is foreplay. They do not belong on ‘men’ whose idea of a bad day at work is someone raising an eyebrow and criticising the way they’ve stacked the XXS Fred Smith accent shirts. Perhaps I’m just jealous and/or paranoid, but it’s like an explosive decompression on a plane with them sucking air through their teeth as I blunder across the floor and they catch sight of my two year old Florence and Fred shirt, let out trousers and wide shoes that look like I buy them from Build a Bear. Such attitude! Such pretentious, sneering attitude and it is completely unwarranted. I’m reminded of Edina from Absolutely Fabulous who said ‘…and you can drop the attitude love, you only work in a shop’. Spot on. I have no problem with people working in shops, I’m not a snob – but honest to God, you’re selling the shirts, not designing them. You beanpole buggers. Lunch acquired, I went to get my MASSIVE DRUGS (betnovate actually, I have a tiny annoying bit of dry skin on my foot).

The pharmacy, of course, was full of the usual work shy reprobates who haunt town during the day like milky skinned vampires, shaking and clutching their methodone scripts like a winning Euromillions ticket. I fully admit that I judge people immediately on sight (and bugger off, because we all do), and when a woman easily in her forties, with that pinched arse mouth look that you can only get from ten billion Sterling Blue hurriedly choked down outside of a Mecca bingo hall, wants to push in the queue because she’s in a rush…well she got short shrift from me. On top of that, I had to wait almost thirty minutes for them to spin the Medicine Wheel of Fortune and give me my bloody cream.

To top off that lovely hour, as I walked behind the building to climb the stairs into work, there was someone, not even a trampy looking fella, having a shit behind Sainsbury’s.

Welcome to Newcastle folks, stay all week.

 

 

welcome to the cat hotel. there’s 1kg of coffee and 720 teabags available

firstly, I want to get something off my chest. Those awful adverts for eyelids-in-crumbs dispensary Iceland where that creepy orange manchild Peter Andre dances around exclaiming about super-cheap nonsense food. Haway. Peter Andre would never, ever shop at Iceland. But, if there’s one man who will be used to blowing his wad on a cheap prawn ring that can satisfy up to twenty punters at once, it’s Jordan’s ex, Peter Andre.

SO, enough of that. Today’s post is introducing one of our secret weapons – the Shed!

When we moved into our current house, we were amazingly lucky – tonnes of space and storage. Well, actually, not that lucky, the old dear who lived here before us died mid-poo and bless her heart, hit her head off the loo on the way down – which was tragic, but also (whisper it) a smidge vexing as it caused a very slow leak and soaked the bathroom floor – what a way to go though, we call her Elvis. We live in a very ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ type of street, with pretentiously named houses such as ‘Willow Cottage’ and ‘Tena Towers’ (might be a fib, that one) lining the paths. So of course, we immediately endeared ourselves to them by changing the name of our house to something a little more graphic. Maha.

 

For the first year, we did nothing more than internal redecoration and completely ignored the tip-top shed down the side of the house, which, when we ventured inside, was chock-o-block with old tins of paint, Presto carrier bags, British Telecom bills, boxes and boxes of old papers, white dog poo etc. Once we cleaned that out, however, we had ourselves an empty shed just ready to be filled with the inevitable accoutrements you’d expect from two manly, burly men living together – perhaps petrol lawnmowers, barbecues, chainsaws and other various penis-replacements. Nah. Not us.

No, we fitted a magentic cat-flap, added a flower box, carpeted the inside, added water bowls and an automatic food-dispenser, spent £90 on a cat-tree and opened the ‘Cat Shed’ up to our cats, who were just at the stage of venturing out the house. We were worried that they’d get wet outside and mew sadly at our back doors. The stress was getting too much hence the Cat Shed. They loved it. Well, Bowser did, Sola is a snotty cow who still sleeps in the compost bin just so she can come in the house smelling of rotting grass and give us dirty looks.

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Bowser enjoying the cat hammock I fashioned from an old hanging basket frame and his cushion. Nice!

But how does this link to bloody Slimming World, I hear you sob. Well. Despite the Cat Shed being the main use, we decided to build a ‘store’. Now, I’m not one of those hoarders and I strongly feel there is little chance of me dying alone surrounded by soiled underwear, newspapers and empty Kitekat tins. But take a look at this:

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This was, without doubt, one of the best things we’ve ever done – and it’s normally a lot more stocked than that. What you see here is a bank of all the things we use a lot of on a Slimming World diet. We buy big whenever there is a great offer on, and keep the shed stocked. It means we can always rustle up a meal even if we have ‘nothing in’ – because how easy is it to ring for a Chinese when all you have in the fridge is a limp lettuce and FROMAGE BLOODY FRAIS. So what do we keep in ‘bulk’?

  • Branston beans – I can’t do cheap beans, they taste like pebbles in bumwater to me. At the other end of the spectrum, Heinz beans have gotten to be so sweet that diabetes is a serious concern. We buy slabs of beans from Costco for £7 for 24;
  • passata – a lot of SW recipes are tomato based, and we buy our passata from Aldi for 29p or so for the carton;
  • sugar free drinks, teas and coffee – so much cheaper at Costco, as long as you go for whatever is on offer;
  • tins of carrots, peas, butter beans, kidney beans, chickpeas – they’ll last forever, and are perfect for chucking into stews, shepherds pie, all that sort of nonsense, again always buy big when there is a deal on;
  • onions and potatoes – we used to buy the potatoes in the plastic bags from ASDA, but they’d invariably go green or sprout despite being in a closed cupboard. Now we buy a massive paper sack of them and keep them in the shed (cold, dark) and one £3 lasts a bloody month, and ditto onions;
  • that plastic container is full of things like ‘Pasta and Sauces’, noodles, instant mash – basically syn free cheats;
  • pasta and rice – all sorts of varieties, but again, it’ll last until the end of days.

I can look in my shed and make a superfree meal from whatever is in there, and it does stop us from ‘falling off the wagon’. If you’re going to have a lot of food in there and you don’t have cats mincing in and out, get a few mousetraps to stop them nibbling. Poor little buggers. Go for the humane ones at least!

So – the moral of all this blathering on. I mentioned in a post earlier in my blog about planning, and this plays into that big-time. By ensuring we can never go hungry, we don’t have a reason to cheat on the diet. And we’re lucky, because we have the space to do this, but it could be done on a smaller scale – maybe keep a few trays of veg and tins in a cupboard upstairs or something. That way, you’ll never need to ‘make do’. Plus, we save a lot of money doing this, because we’re not ‘on-the-spot’ buying all the time. Anyway. That’s enough from me.

Oh, actually, before I go, another Iceland advert with Peter Andre just came on the telly where he was travelling by bus. The permatanned human niknak would never travel by bus. But, if there’s one man who will be used to riding a sweaty box capable of accommodating up to sixty men at once with an impressive top deck, it’s Jordan’s ex, Peter Andre.

moaning really intensely, or MRI for short

Today has been a testing day, I’m not going to lie. Normally I’d bury my face in a box of Milk Tray until every pore was filled with cheap, naff chocolate, but as I’m dieting I’m just going to vent a bit.

Firstly, some grotty little chav almost crashed his shitty little acne carriage into my new car this morning. Not quite sure why he thought that pulling out of a junction into my oncoming-at-60mph car would be the best move for him, but he did, then he had the temerity to beep his horn at me and give me the finger. Bah! Let’s hope his next inevitable dose of roaccutane is a lethal one. Oh and for the record, you don’t need a fucking spoiler on a ten-year-old Vauxhall Corsa. It isn’t going to launch into the air straining to get to 70mph on the A1.

Then work happened.

After I was released from work, I had a pleasant day availing myself of the MRI scanner at North Tyneside Hospital. Nothing too dramatic, but I have to have a regular check on my heart as it’s a bit dicky, and the last thing I want to do is collapse on the floor at work making Donald Duck noises like poor old Jim Robinson in Neighbours. I got there, and after finding the first available car parking space just outside of fucking Aberdeen and paying a kings ransom for the chance to park on a bit of windswept tarmac more pockmarked than the aforementioned chav’s face, proceeded to mince to entirely the wrong department. How we chuckled and laughed as I launched myself red-faced to the correct reception desk with only a minute to spare, only to be told the machine had been malfunctioning (brilliant news! just what you want to hear ) and they were running late. Forty minutes of browsing ‘Your Kitchen’ and not daring to turn on my phone in case it reacted with the MRI scanner next door and created a wormhole through space (though I’d probably get back to my car quicker that way) later, I was in.

Now, the staff were absolute loves. They really were. And going into an MRI scanner doesn’t bother me, I find it quite soothing. But I can see why they’re scary, considering it looks like you’re being slid into a colossal metallic Samsung-branded anus. The day got better when they gave me a ‘medium’ gown to change into, meaning my hairy sarlacc pit was on show to all and sundry (as it happens, I managed to put it on the wrong way anyway, so had to change again so my moobs were showing). Then, two phrases I don’t hear often enough in my life ‘I hope you’ve got good veins, as we’re going to need to put a canula in and inject you with a contrast’ and ‘trainee, I’m going to need you to shave him’.

Well for fucks sake. I’ve had a bit of a run with tests lately on my heart which have required me being shaved, and each one has resulted in a strip of my chest hair being removed. I’m very hairy, and seemingly my body hair is made out of steel wool, because the poor trainee hacked away at me with a disposable razor for a good few minutes without making much of a difference. You’ve never experienced awkward until someone is holding your left tit in one hand and scraping away at your chest with an NHS-Never-Shave with the other. Bless his heart, he did try making small-talk with me and kept up the eye-contact, but when he said ‘I can’t even grow a moustache, never mind a chest like yours’ it quite killed the conversation dead.

So, there I was, lying on the metal tray, feet just poking into the machine and the last question I got asked was ‘Would you like Michael Buble to listen to during the scan?’. I nearly fell off the tray in indignation. I wouldn’t want to listen to Michael Buble if I was on fire and he was calling the fire brigade, let alone endure his dinner-party crooning for an hour complimented by the German-techno sounds of an MRI scan. I politely declined and they put The Eagles on instead.

The scan itself took an hour, and whilst yes it is a smidge claustrophobic, you’re given what in all honesty looks like a douching bulb to squeeze at any time if you get frightened, at which point (I presume) the tray slides back out and you’re given a hot cocoa and a reassuring cuddle. I’m a BIG guy, and I didn’t feel trapped – your nose is about 10″ from the top of the machine. I keep my eyes closed and imagine I’m lying on a beach somewhere. A beach that smells oddly of ozone and farts. You shouldn’t really move, as the stiller you are the better the quality of the scans, but I can guarantee you’ll need to pick your nose, your teeth or your arse just as soon as you like. There is a LOT of noise – lots of clanging and whirring and buzzing, but it isn’t alarming and just a sign that the machine is doing its thing. The radiographers (not sure that’s right) talk to you occasionally, in my case telling me to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, hold your breath (to see what my heart does under pressure) and breathe again. It’s the same thing keeping that twat Joey Essex alive. Anyway, at one point the woman was clearly distracted and forgot to tell me to breathe again, meaning I went almost a minute without taking a breath. No wonder my heart is buggered!

After forty five minutes, the tray slides out, you’re given a cup of water and a thunderous round of applause (only on BUPA) and sent on your way. I got halfway back to the carpark before realising I’d nicked off without them taking out my canula, meaning a trek back and a ‘ooh what am I like’ moment. The sight of my blood pumping out of my arm as I distracted the nurse with my witty chat about Renee Zellweger made my toes curl a bit. But that was that. I was unusual in that a cardiologist was there to have a quick neb at my results, but my doctor will get the full report in due course.

I stopped by the proctology department hospital shop and chose a finger of fudge. I feigned a sugar crash with the old vinegar-tits on the till but she was having none of it, charging me 45p for a bloody Fudge bar. I mean I ask you. 5 and a half syns but I needed something sweet as they didn’t give me a lollipop for being a brave boy. NHS cutbacks see.

So that was my day. Actually not that bad. I apologise that this isn’t a post about Slimming World but this is a personal blog, after all, and if it gives a bit of insight to anyone going into an MRI scanner at some point that’s no bad thing. I’ll be back to waffling on about fromage bloody frais tomorrow!

J

PS: see? I wasn’t kidding about Donald Duck.

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weigh in week five

Honestly, sometimes it’s just too easy to get the innuendo in class. The actual quote was ‘using both hands’ but I mean, no-one likes a boaster.

Well, here it is, in alarming red – our first weight gain. Gasp. Time for our weigh results:

weekfive

Bloody Paul and his jeans! Given it takes two sailors four minutes to fold his shirts, a great expanse of denim clad over his arse is definitely going to add to his weight. So we’ll gently say that really, between us, we’ve only gained 2lb. But still! It’s not like I can say that I’ve got water retention, or even better, that it’s my lingonberry week. No, we’ve both gained weight because although we’ve been following the plan with our meals, we’ve had a few too many syns – I’ve been stuffing my face at work (through a combination of overtime = takeaway and sweets) and not moving around very much. Paul’s much the same, and he shamefully confessed that he’d been indiscreet in a service station on the way to London and had a Nutella dip. Which I very much hope was a chocolate spread snack and not something George Michael-esque. We’ve both become complacent. Weigh ourselves at home perhaps?

So, to kick us up the arse a bit, we each bought a twelve week countdown (so members of our group, you’ve got at LEAST another 12 weeks of us looking confused/bald/heavy) as a commitment, and I’ve got a pan of Slimming World Super Speed Soup on the hob, which frankly smells like a rotten arse but is supposed to do wonders for the weight loss. I’ve said I’ll lose 5lb next week and Paul reckons 3lb.

Time to dig in.

Recipes coming this week – steak and chips, burger in a bowl, baked canneloni, speed soup and others. Wish us luck!

J