The way our nation eats is killing us. Slowly maybe but make no mistake, it is killing us.
Fast food, high sugar, high fat, processed and junk foods. All highly marketable, all ‘the norm’ and all killing us. This is a conversation I often have. The way we are encouraged to eat by advertising, by peer pressure, by availability and by visibility is poisoning our bodies, making us fat and, for many, very, very miserable.
It’s not a popular topic. No one really wants to give up their favourite crisps and Irn Bru snacks. No one really prefers apples over chocolate. No one thinks a wee evening run is better than being curled up on the sofa.
Or do they…
Meet my good friend Darren. We had one of the above conversations one fine morning a year or two ago. He was just over 23 stones in weight and very jolly with it. The absolute life and soul of the party and a lovelier, larger than life character you could never hope to meet. During the course of our chat though, it became apparent that he was actually quite miserable and a bit lost. An incredibly busy and public spirited man, Daz was forever at meetings and doing things for other people and really I think, he just forgot to take any care of himself. As a result he was eating takeaway meals five nights out of seven, ate no breakfast but snacked on high sugar fizzy juice, crisps and chocolate to keep himself going all day. It’s what people do, it’s hardly uncommon or even particularly unusual but it had led to him being morbidly obese and he knew he was limiting his own life.
To his eternal credit, Darren decided enough was enough. He believed he could change, so he did. Boy did he change!!
All of his own accord and completely self-reliantly, Darren took back his life. Without any slimming club, pill, powder, shake or gadget, Darren has lost 7 stones in weight. To put that into perspective, that’s just less than one of me!! By cutting out the sweet stuff, by replacing it with fruit. By mostly knocking the fizzy juice on the head and by cutting out the takeaway visits, he’s lost a terrific amount of weight, all by his own determination.
He could hardly manage a mile’s run this time last year. Now he’s up to nearly 8 miles, works out after work to tone up and is looking towards a half-marathon soon. By building up slowly, sensibly and by relishing the fact that his fitness was increasing daily, he kept going. And that’s really all it takes. Keep going, keep putting one foot in front of the other until it gets a bit easier.
Darren’s journey represents everything I believe about how we should approach what we eat. We don’t need anything other than the power of our own minds to achieve our goals. We need spend no money, buy no equipment or seek help from vendors of dubious ‘detoxes’.
We have the ability to change our lives, change our bodies, improve our health and, be happier. All we need is determination, focus on long term goals and friends who will help and encourage us along the way.
I’m not alone in being proud of Darren, we all are. An amazingly warm and funny guy. He’s lost a huge part of his body but none of his humour (could do with ditching a few of his jokes mind you) and he is happier, more confident (if that’s possible) and full of excitement about how much more he can achieve. There are no limits and Darren is the perfect example of just how effective simple, sensible changes can be.
7 stone so far and counting. Go Darren – all of us are right there behind you, cheering you on! What a guy 😀