ON JANUARY 10th 2013, I BEGAN A UNIQUE DOUBLE CHALLENGE. I NEEDED TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR HEALTH REASONS AND AS EDITOR OF A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER, I HAD THE IDEAL MOTIVATION. I COULD HARDLY ANNOUNCE TO THE COURIER'S READERS THAT I WAS GOING TO SHED TWO-AND-A-HALF STONE, THEN ADMIT A FEW DAYS LATER: ‘SORRY FOLKS, I’VE MESSED UP’’ I ALSO HAD AN EXTRA INCENTIVE – TO RAISE FUNDS FOR RESEARCH INTO CROHN’S DISEASE, WHICH HAS DEVASTATED MY GRANDDAUGHTER DAISY’S CHILDHOOD. THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES CHRONICLE THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS OF MY DIET WITH A DIFFERENCE - A DIET THAT BROKE EVERY RULE IN THE BOOK. MORE TO FOLLOW NEXT WEEK...
JANUARY 11, 2013
THE ONLY WEIGH IS DOWN: Now that I’ve made it to the New Year, I’m about to get a huge weight off my mind.And off my chest. And off the equine girth that used to be my waist.
Because this fat filly has had a ’mare of a festive season trying to prove that she really can eat a horse.
I would NOT normally reveal my weight under any circumstances. But even allowing for the fact that I am, to use a colloquial expression, ‘big boned’, I’m ashamed to admit that in the last 12 months or so, my weight has mushroomed by some 16 kilos. Or around two-and-a-half stone in old money.
In mid-2011 I tipped the scales at a bit over 12st, still far too much for a 5ft 5in woman and considerably more than I weighed five years ago. Now I am well over 14 stone…and that is way, way heavier than I have ever been.
Many expanding expats in their 60s would put the increasing corpulence down to the good life and do nothing about it. Which has been my strategy until now.
I also have too many friends who enjoy the occasional Indian or Chinese banquet at least eight nights a week – and who refuse to take my incessant screams of ‘no, no, NO’ for an answer. (OK, that’s a little weight lie).
Anyway, I have devised an ingenious plan (well, I think it’s ingenious) which will encourage me to lose weight and also raise money for a charity that means a lot to me.
I’ve been in the UK over Christmas and the New Year, but when I return to Spain next Tuesday (January 8) I plan to get myself weighed professionally and then launch the official Dumpy Old Gran Diet 2013 on this page next Friday.
If you want to join in the fun (not that I’ll be having any!) I’m looking for sponsors from 10 cents per pound, which amounts to just 3.5 euros if I reach my 35lb weight loss target. If I don’t make it, I’ll put in an equivalent amount myself to compensate. All the sponsorship money will go to CICRA, a charity dedicated to creating a wider understanding of Crohn’s Disease in childhood.
Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease - and incurable. The choice was easy for me because two of my granddaughters have Crohn’s.
For my own health’s sake I simply MUST lose weight – and what better way to do it? I already have three stents keeping my coronary arteries open while my leg muscles and joints are becoming increasingly weaker as Parkinson’s Disease begins to its toll. Great fun, this life.
Never mind a Prima Donna, I want to be a Leaner Donna…and the quicker the better.
Because, to paraphrase the old Hollies hit…She Ain’t Heavy, She’s All Blubber.
JANUARY 18, 2013
WEIGHT 93.2 kilos, 14st 9lb, 205lb...here we go!
START OF A LOSING BATTLE: How would you go about losing 16 kilos? (That’s around two-and-a-half stone to metrically-challenged geriatrics like me).
It’s not something I’ve thought about – which is a bit daft for someone who has just plunged herself into a sponsored diet.
Particularly since my general health limits the amount of exercise I can take to practically zero.
When The Courier’s medical guru Dr Machi Mannu heard the news of my diet, he admitted to being “a bit worried’’ because I have cardiovascular problems. But he added: “I can see you are bent on the idea and there is no stopping you, and so I support you all the way.’’
Dr Mannu’s biggest worry is that I will put too much pressure on my heart. So primarily I’ve got to attack the excess kilos by cutting down dramatically on my food intake rather than winging around a sweaty gym like a giant duck gone quackers.
Basically, I have been eating too much. Much too much. That is obvious when I tell you I am not a bread, chips or fried food addict. I don’t stuff myself with carbohydrates - in fact, I don’t particularly like them.
My problem is that if I do like something, I can’t stop. Put a packet of biscuits or a big bar of chocolate next to me, and I’ll down the whole lot with a cuppa. The biscuits AND the chocolates.
In other words, I’m a greedy bitch. And it has got to stop. NOW.
In fact, to paraphrase the words of Steve Redgrave after he won his fourth Olympic rowing gold medal, if you ever see me eating chocolate or biscuits again, you have my permission to shoot me.
With a camera, that is.
The diet began yesterday, January 10 – the 13th birthday of my granddaughter Daisy, who suffers from Crohn’s Disease. She is permanently in pain from chronic inflammation of the digestive system, is as much underweight as I am overweight - and spends more time in hospital than she does at home.
As a result, she has been unable to go to school for the last two months and fears all her friends will desert her.
CICRA, the Crohns in Childhood Research Association, survives purely on donations – and I hope to raise at least £500 over the next six months to help their research programme. If anyone would like to donate, the link to my Just Giving page is printed below this article..
I’ll be weighing in every Wednesday at the Beauty & Wellness Centre, where proprietor Lindsay Seaber and assistant Val Hill will supervise my drop from a size 22 to a size 16 (I wish!)..
My target for the first week is to lose at least one kilo (hopefully a lot more). I said goodbye to the sticky toffee pudding at the weekend.
From now on it’s sensible eating – not only for weight loss but also because my heart condition demands it. White meat, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna – and lots of fruit and veg.
Dining out will centre on salads and I’ll cut out alcohol (I’m not a big drinker anyway). I’m also going to try elements of the Slimming World diet which helped me lose a stone and a half in the late 1990s. The theory is not to eat proteins AND carbohydrates on the same day. And it works (well, it did in 1999).
I would scoff a large tin of kidney beans for lunch and a can of baked beans for tea. I was so full of beans that I put the wind up everyone. But I also blew the pounds away.
JANUARY 25, 2013
AFTER ONE WEEK: 90.8kilos (93.2), 200lb (205), 14st 4lb (14st 9.5lb)
MINE'S A THIN AND TONIC: I'm not quite ready for the catwalk, but I’m strutting around like a peacock (or should that be a peahen?) after the first week of my sponsored diet.
Well, wouldn’t you be if you’d got rid of 2.4 kilos of greasy blubber? That’s 5.3lbs less than I weighed on January 10, the start of my battle to shed at least 35lbs.
I stepped on the scales at the Beauty and Wellness Centre on Wednesday quietly confident that I’d shed at least a couple of kilos.
OK, I admit I nipped onto my very unreliable bathroom scales at home to get an inkling of where I was up (or down) to. And they had told me much the same thing.
Privately, I had been hoping to lose at least 3lb in those first seven days. In reality, I lost 5.4lbs. The joy of that achievement was countered by finding out later that I was still marginally over that horrendous 200lbs landmark...albeit by just a couple of ounces.
So, how did I change my eating habits during the first week? Well, basically I just ate less. I have never been a big fan of weight-loading carbs like chips, pasta, bread and fried rice but if I like something, I will happily have a second helping. And it’s rare for me not to clear the plate.
I also love chocolate and biscuits...but the only sweet thing to pass between my lips now is me whistling the Welsh national anthem. Well, trying to anyway!
Anyway, despite the joy of Week One, I’m not getting carried away. (‘That’s because no-one can lift her’, did I hear someone say?’)
I still have a mountain to climb to get myself back into some sort of human shape (yes, I feel like a cross between Mrs Blobby and the Michelin Gran). But nothing will stop me now - not least because I have an extra motivation.
My 13-year-old granddaughter Daisy, who suffers from Crohn’s Disease, is currently on morphine in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool after being admitted over the weekend in severe pain.
It’s the latest setback in a chronicle of suffering and lost childhood as she enters her third month off school. While Crohn’s is currently incurable, researchers are working to find an antidote - and I want to help them to help kids like poor Daisy.
Those 2.4 lost kilos have provided a new platform from which to continue my Up and Down Campaign, as I think of it. The Down is where I want my weight to go and the Up is to raise at least £500 for CICRA, the Crohn’s in Children Research Association.
If anyone would like to donate, no matter how little, you can do it online at https://www. just giving.com/Donna-Gee
Many thanks in advance - from CICRA, from me and from Daisy.
FEBRUARY 1, 2013
POUND FOOLISH: “You've lost nearly a pound. Well done!’’ said Val, feigning pleasant surprise at the info displayed on the scales.
My initial reaction to seeing the flickering figure ‘89.9’ had been one of joy because I’d dipped under 90 kilos. But the reality was disappointing.
Val, the chirpy Glaswegian who weighs me in, rubbed in the minimal weight loss by adding enthusiastically: “That’s 300 grams you’ve lost in the last week!’’
My mind went into overweight - sorry, overdrive. Hang on, I thought, I was 90.8 last week and I’m 89.9 now. That’s almost a kilo I’ve lost.’’
A quick revision confirmed that I had in fact dropped 2lbs to hit the 14 stone mark in my battle to lose 35lb.
I’m still more than three stone above my ideal weight but I already feel more energetic. And now I’ve plunged past the 90kilo/14-stone mark, I’ve got 85kilos in my sights.
I’m also looking for a maths tutor who understands fluent Glaswegian.
After two weeks: Weight 89.9kilos (200lb or 14st 4lb). Total loss 3.3 kilos.
THANK you again to everyone who has supported my fundraising effort for the Crohn’s In Children Research Association. I am fast approaching my £500 target figure - just three weeks into my sponsored diet. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/donna-gee or call the Courier office
IN FOR A POUND: I feared the worst at this week’s weigh-in on Wednesday - even though I had stuck to my calorie counting meticulously. Well, semi meticulously because I did have one little lapse . But I promise I ate that slice of homemade jam-and cream-filled sponge cake only because the friend who baked it looked so sad at my initial refusal.
That was on Monday - and I had visions of having to tell you today that I’d regained the 2lb I lost last week. At best, I thought I’d tip the scales at 89.9 kilos for the second week in a row.
The good news is that I actually lost half a kilo (1.1lb). The bad news is that it’s the least I’ve shed in the three weeks since full English breakfasts vanished from my life.
As a result, I am now suffering from severe sausage withdrawal symptoms. These consist of fantasising that I am climbing up Walls in Richmond carrying a 200lb bacon slicer.
Even worse, the bacon slicer is my local butcher.
After three weeks: Weight 89.4kilos. Total loss 3.8 kilos.
FEBRUARY 8, 2013
WEIGH ONWARD AND DOWNWARD: Weigh yourself only ONCE a week, the dieticians tell you.
The best I’ve managed in four weeks is three days of flabstinence - and that was my first three days of dieting, when I just wanted the image of Mrs Michelin Man out of my life.
Ultimately, of course, I had to accept the proof of the puddings and this last few days I’ve felt like the Princess of Scales.
Problem is that my desire to know if I’ve shed any more micrograms is so overpowering that my customary two to three nightly loo trips are now double-purpose missions.
It’s a sort of ‘Where there’s a wee there’s a way’ routine - and in just a couple of weeks, it has taught me that I am my heaviest in the evening - and that my weight drops progressively through the night - varying by 1lb or more.
I also now know that I am at my lightest at around 11.30am....which is why you’ll invariably find me weighing in around that time every Wednesday.
Initially I feigned shock at the revelation that I’d shed a kilo or so.
But I always have a good idea what the official scales at Pueblo Bravo are going to show - because I have a regular preview at home. Along with countless repeats.
Someone has now suggested I give my bathroom scales away before they glue themselves permanently to my feet.
Mind you, that would be like putting me on a pedestal...as befits the Princess of Scales I mentioned earlier.
After FOUR weeks: Weight 88.7 kilos. Total loss 4.5 kilos
FEBRUARY 15, 2013
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES: Promise you won’t tell anyone and I’ll admit it. I had TWO weigh-ins this week - with a bizarre result.
Thinking I would be unable to make my normal Wednesday appointment because of a court appointment, I jumped onto the scales at the Beauty and Wellness Centre 24 hours early. Shock, horror - I had PUT ON 200 grams since my previous official weigh-in.
The idea of the red box in the middle of this article showing negative equity for the first time was unthinkable. So back I sneaked before heading for court on Wednesday (as a witness by the way - not to be locked up). And you can see the good news in that very same red box.
Unbelievably, my weight had plummeted in less than 24 hours from 88.9 kilos to 87.1 kilos! It’s a mystery why...but I’m certainly not complaining!
Next week I have a bigger problem. I’ll be in Manchester on a family visit so will be using my own scales. So expect me to lose at least another stone by then...
q I had arguably the most embarrassing experience of my life at last week’s weigh-in.
The Beauty and Wellness Centre has two loos, one for women and one for the guys. Anxious to register as big a dip in weight as possible, I headed for the Ladies and proceeded to do what people do.
Everything went as panned, sorry planned, until I went to flush the toilet – and found the flusher missing.
I washed my hands wondering what had happened and, horror of horrors, as I re-entered the salon, looked at the door I’d just come out of and saw a big Out of Order sign staring at me.
How I hadn’t seen it when I went in I have no idea.
Anyway, three buckets of water and several profuse apologies later, normal service was resumed.
And I was left wondering whether I’m losing my sight altogether – or if it was all just a flush in the pan.
IN the five weeks since starting my diet, my weight has dropped from 93.2 kilos to 87.1 kilos - or just under a stone. My target is to lose 35 lbs (16 kilos) by the end of June.
TOTAL LOSS, 5 WEEKS, 6.1 kilos (13lbs 7oz)
(To Be Continued)