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27 September 2013

Unlucky for some...I won the Lottery on Friday the 13th!

I’ve always known that Camelot load the UK Lottery disproportionately against the punter.  If  prizes were awarded according to chances of winning, that measly tanner they dole out for three correct numbers would be at least £57.  Which is one of the reasons I've never dabbled in what must be one of the most boring gambles around.
I have always preferred the Irish Lottery, which has fewer numbers (45) and where you can get fixed odds online of well over 500/1 if the three numbers you select are among the six winning balls. A few years ago, I won THREE timeswithin a couple of months – including a freak double after I put my £1 internet stake on twice by mistake!
Why I stopped liaising with the leprechauns, I have no idea (note to self, must have a little dabble again soon). Anyway, it’s all been overtaken by EuroMillions, a mere 116-million-to-one  jackpot shot, and also costs twice as much to enter a line as its British equivalent.
I liken both draws to naming six playing cards, then picking those same six from a full pack spread face down in front of you. Logically it is nigh on impossible – but if more than 14 million people attempt it, the odds are that someone will come up trumps.But you can be sure it won't be you or me.
Having said that, a couple of weeks ago on Friday the 13th, I came closer to that EuroMillions jackpot than I've ever done.  My lucky dip numbers were 4, 15, 27, 33 and 48, with 6 and 10 as the lucky stars. The draw itself threw up 4, 6, 14, 27 and 33 with 5 and 10 as lucky stars.
Has 14 been 15, and 5 been 6, I would have won €6,600. Instead, my collection of three correct numbers and one lucky star – a 654/1 chance - won me the magnificent total of 13 euros.
Unlucky for some? Well, at least it was tax free.

19 September 2013

Parkinson's is no joke, Billy - but it's smiles better with a sense of humour

Billy Connolly - his humour will help him through
I HOPE Billy Connolly will take this the right way, but I’d love to shake  his hand.
If his Parkinson’s symptoms are anything like mine, we wouldn’t even make contact!
As a fellow ‘victim’ (I quote the word ‘victim’ because I have no problem living with the condition), I want Billy to know that Parkinson’s is not the beginning of the end.
It’s the beginning of a new challenge…and a reason to be cheerful rather than fearful. Let’s face it, we’ll both die with it, not from it.
I’ve been living with Parkinson’s for four years, during which time my writing hand (the left) has developed a tremor which worsens as stress levels increase. As a result, I am often unable to write my name – particularly if someone else is looking on.
It’s embarrassing and also gives me an insight into how someone with severe  dyslexia must feel when faced with filling in a form.
The bonus for me is that, accompanied by my shakes, I have joined an art class…and have amazed myself by producing very acceptable canvases using my RIGHT hand.
I prefer to shrug off the negatives. The left side of my body retains water, my hands are bloated and my legs are gradually weakening. I find it increasingly difficult to stand up from a sitting position and my neck, back and buttocks ache without a break.
That’s nothing to laugh about - but the consolation is that I can still lead an active life, unlike those who can’t stand up at all or are struck down by the likes of cancer, a stroke or a major heart attack.
In my case, the old heart is still pumping relatively satisfactorily, albeit with the aid of three stents in my coronary arteries. My response is to be grateful that the treatment for angina was carried out under national health cover, leaving me with, wait for it, more money than stents.
Billy Connolly is in a different league to me when it comes to making people laugh. But funny men are often the saddest of people away from public gaze. Remember Tony Hancock?
In the unlikely event of  Billy reading this article, I want him to know that nothing need change just because he has Parkinson’s.
I’m only a couple of years younger than him, yet manage to combine a limited  writing career with an active social life. But I’ll never have the sort of courage another comedy great, Bob Monkhouse, showed in the final weeks of his life.
Bob never lost his brilliant sense of humour and his legacy of laughter taught me to utilise every waking hour now that my body has begun to creak.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article in which I said I’d found a true inspiration in Monkhouse and believed that the best antidote to illness and ageing is laughter.
When Bob knew he was dying from prostate cancer, he not only kept smiling - he incorporated it into his act.
Not long before his death, he joked on Michael Parkinson’s chat show that when his doctor told him his illness was terminal, he asked: ‘How long do I have?’’
 ‘‘Ten,’’ said the doctor.
‘‘Is that weeks, months. what exactly?’’ asked Bob.
The doctor looked at his watch.
“Nine, eight, seven...’’
That wisecrack reignited my belief that when old age and/or illness strike, the most effective way to fight it is to have a little giggle about life, no matter how difficult that may be.
I half expected Monkhouse to throw in a line about his unique ‘sense of tumour’. He didn’t – but there's a fair bet he is up there in his celestial home right now haranguing St Peter with his one-liners.
In the meantime, I have told my kids and grandkids I want to hear them singing at my funeral, not being just plain miserable.
Top of my posthumous pop plan are a couple of choruses of  'Always Look on the Bright Side of Death’. And I have no objection if they want to throw in a line or two of ‘I Was What I Was’.
I won’t be able to join in, of course – but I’m sure I’ll hear it, wherever I’m not.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing Billy Connolly presenting his own Parkinson Show.
Now that really would be taking the Michael.

17 September 2013

The fats of life...continuing my diary of a diet with a difference



IT’S now six weeks since I started my Dumpy Grumpy diet – and I’m winning.
Well, I was until the weekend, anyway. One stone gone, one-and-a-half to go – at least, that’s what I intended when I set my 16 kilo weight-loss target in early January.
The aim was to raise £500 for research into Crohn’s Disease, a cause close to my heart because Crohn’s has blighted the childhood of  two of my grandchildren.
I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the generosity of family, friends and Courier readers, the sponsorship fund  zoomed past the target  this week. So it looks like CICRA – the Crohn’s in Children Research Association - could end up with considerably more than it bargained for.
 Which brings me on to the last traumatic week, in which my 13-year-old  granddaughter Daisy finally had the surgery she has needed so desperately for the last five months.
 Last Thursday, pale and emaciated after losing one third of her bodyweight, she underwent a five-and-a-half hour operation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, during which surgeons removed several feet of infected intestine.
They also found an abscess which was pressing on a kidney and no doubt causing much of the excruciating pain she has suffered over the past few months.
Four days after surgery, she was still being dosed with morphine to ease her post-op discomfort. And she looks unlikely to be leaving hospital any time soon.
The poor mite has even been stripped of her sense of humour - legacy of intense stomach pains if she attempts to laugh or cry.
“Try to be serious for a change,’’ my daughter Hayley ordered the minute I arrived at Daisy’s bedside on Sunday after flying in from Alicante. “When she’s awake, she finds it excruciatingly painful to laugh or cry so none of your silly jokes or songs, please!’’
So that’s it, then. Food deprivation followed by a ban on humour. Goodbye world, I’m off.
Well, almost. However, a little food deprivation to prevent other children having to endure the same sort of torture as Daisy is hardly a penance for an embryo whale like I was six weeks ago.
I’m a couple of sacks of spuds lighter now  and people have started asking me for my recipe for losing weight. As if I have become some sort of slimming expert virtually overnight!
 I can’t even comment on the exercise aspects that everyone says must be part of any weight-loss regime - because I haven’t done any.
What I have done is reduce the size of my meals – and eat a lot more often. I’ve also cut out potatoes, pasta, rice and, to a large extent, bread. And I don’t butter what little  bread I do have. Gone too are the sweet naughty things I love – - replaced by lots of fruit and green veg.
 It helps that I can buy a huge bag of mandarins/satsumas for two euros and scoff eight in a day with no fear of putting on weight. And I’ve been supplementing portions of fresh salmon, chicken and various cold meats with freshly boiled cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, broccoli and the like.
I’ve also continued to eat out but settle for things like steak and salad – and Sunday carveries minus the Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes. I’ve also found I can handle a Tandoori mixed grill at the Indian Ocean without penalty providing it’s with salad and no sauces.
It might sound boring to some, but I feel a lot healthier for eating what the doctor ordered rather than taking the fast-fried route to the undertakers.
So how has she done this week, I suspect a lot of you are asking. Well, my trip to the UK has prevented my official Wednesday weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo.
Which is just as well because it’s nigh on impossible to stick to a diet when your offspring are hounding you with goodies from the moment you wake every day.
Those are my excuses, anyway. It’s better than admitting I just might have put on an ounce or two since leaving Spain six days ago.
But I promise I’ll be back on course by my next weigh-in at Pueblo Bravo on March 6.
And I am praying that, five months after her classmates last saw her, Daisy will finally return to Ormskirk High School soon after that.
And be able to laugh at my corny jokes again…
TARGET- to lose 16 kilos and raise £500 for CICRA. Starting weight (Jan 10) - 93.2 kilos. Last weigh-in ( Feb 20) 87.1 kilos.
TOTAL raised for Crohn’s Research so far - £504.
MARCH 1ST, 2013
IT’S two weeks since my last official weigh-in – and I’m gagging to know how much nearer to my target I am. The problem has been that I am currently in the UK, so can’t have my regular Wednesday morning weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Salon in Pueblo Bravo.
Last time I was officially weighed, I was 87.1 kilos –a loss of 6.1 kilos, or just under one stone, since I started my sponsored diet on January 10. When I stepped onto the scales this morning at my UK home in Manchester, the reading was 85.7 kilos. Now that is very unofficial – but it does at least seem to confirm that I haven’t GAINED weight during my travels.
 I’ll hopefully be able to confirm the good news when I get back to Spain early next week. In the meantime, I’m putting up the unofficial figure so we do at least get some continuity in coverage of Dumpy Old Gran’s great weight meltdown.
So unofficially, I have now lost 7.5 kilos in seven weeks…that’s 16.5 pounds, or one stone 2.5lbs. And I feel a lot better for it – not least because I’ve raised over £500 for the Crohn's in Children Research Association in the process.
I’ve still got 8.5 kilos more to lose so if there’s anyone out there who would like to sponsor me, you’ll find the donation page at www.justgiving.com/donna-gee  Onward and downward!
TOTAL LOSS, 7 WEEKS, 7.5 kilos (16 lbs 8 oz)
(UNOFFICIAL)  January 10 - 93.2 kilos, February 28 - 85.7 kilos

MARCH 8TH, 2013
OK, I got it wrong. My weight loss while I was in England was not as impressive as I thought.  When I weighed in on my return to Spain on Wednesday, the scales at the Beauty and Wellness Salon in Pueblo Bravo clicked up a total loss of a few ounces under seven kilos since I began my diet on January 10.
It’s the first week I have had to report an INCREASE in weight, but when I headed off to the UK on February 16, my main consideration was that I should come back no heavier than when I left.
So I am delighted to announce that, after two weeks and five days with my family in England, I tipped the scales on Wednesday one kilo (2.2lbs) lighter than at my previous official weigh-in three weeks earlier.
Meanwhile, my 13-year-old granddaughter Daisy, who suffers badly with Crohn’s Disease,  is finally on the mend after major surgery three weeks ago which involved removing part of her inflamed intestine.
There were  complications which I won’t go into – and she still suffers spasms of pain.
But she was discharged from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Sunday and will hopefully be able to return to school shortly for the first time since October.
We are already past the £500 figure I set out to raise for CICRA – the Crohn’s In Children Research Association - when I began my Dumpy Old Gran Sponsored Diet eight weeks ago.
However, donations are still very welcome and can be made at www.justgiving.com/donna-gee
TOTAL LOSS, 8 WEEKS -  6.9 kilos  (1st 1lb)
Start weight 93.2 kg; Weight now 86.3 kg

MARCH 15TH, 2013
Time for a plateau (no, not a gateau)
A PLATEAU, they call it. The point where your weight-loss success rate suddenly sticks. Where you cling loyally to your diet, yet the only thing you seem to lose is your patience.
Well, I reckon I’m just about plateau-bound. Last week I discovered I had lost just one kilo during the best part of three weeks dieting while I was in England. And when I jumped onto the scales at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo for this week’s weigh-in, I discovered that another seven days of voluntary food deprivation had rid me of a mere 200 grams. That’s seven ounces to those of us who can’t make sense of the metric revolution.
That leaves me still almost one kilo short of the halfway point in my bid to lose 16 kilos by the end of June.
When you find yourself stuck on the plateau, dieticians say it is essential not to turn to the gateau. They insist the key to success is to stay resolute and keep going. That’s what I do - I keep going to the fridge and wishing it was loaded with chocolate rather than salad.
My target when I started my diet on January 10 was to lose 16 kilos (35lbs) and to raise £500 for the Crohn’s in Children Research Association (CICRA). I’ve given myself until June 30 to reach my goal weight...and am delighted to say that the CICRA fund now stands at more than £600. If you’d like to donate, go to www.justgiving.com/donna-gee
TOTAL LOSS, 9 WEEKS - 7.1 kilos (1st 2lb)
Start weight 93.2 kg, Weight now 86.1 kg

MARCH 22, 2013
18.5lbs thinner and I’m ready
to trip the light gran-tastic
THE worst part of dieting is sticking to it. Particularly when you have mega-blubber to shed.
I mean, how does a whale see the horizon when it’s submerged by its own vast weight?
In human terms, I’m referring to the poor souls who allow their girth to expand to the point that they face literally years of deprivation to regain anything like a normal shape.
That ever-more-distant horizon was an important motivating factor when I began my sponsored slim on January 10.
My target weight was so far away that I would soon have been hopelessly chasing it for the rest of my life.
Two-and-a-half stone was reachable within a few months. Expand that to five stone and you are looking at a minimum of a year’s severe dieting.
In my case, I was eating myself to death - literally. I’d put on a good ten kilos in the previous 18 months, courtesy of Chinese and Indian indulgences, second helpings as a norm - and an insatiably sweet tooth.
It was clear I HAD to diet so I devised a diet strategy. By publicising my progress  in my Courier column each week, I would put myself into a Catch 22 situation.
Imagine the humiliation if I had to tell you all: ‘Sorry folks, but I’ve started pigging again. Can’t do this diet stuff’.
Of course, I also had the powerful motivation of raising money for Crohn’s Disease, which has devastated my granddaughter Daisy’s life. I’m please to say she is vastly better since her recent surgery (see picture) - and thanks to everyone who has asked for an update.
The incentive was enormous - and at 14st 9lb (93.2 kilos), my 5ft 5in frame was beginning to resemble an archer’s bow.
Even more worrying was that, as someone who suffers with angina, my heart was being seriously overworked.
Ten weeks on, I’ve not only passed halfway in my battle to lose 16kilos  (2st 7lb) - I feel like a different person.
Gone is the breathlessness I felt whenever I walked 50 metres at anything faster than snail’s pace. Gone are the worrying angina pains. And gone is the lethargy that made the tiniest household chore a major challenge.
I now march rather than shuffle and I can actually manipulate a pair of tights on to my feet. Younger readers can laugh..but it’s a battle royal for us creaking OAPs.
Sponsor me at www. justgiving.com/donna-gee

(don’t laugh, kids - you try it when you’re an OAP!).
Admittedly, my prime consideration was to raise money for CICRA, the Crohn’s In Children Research Association.
TOTAL LOSS, 10 WEEKS - 8.4 kilos (1st 4.5lb)
Start weight 93.2 kg, Weight now 84.8 kg
My obsession with jumping onto the bathroom scales at every opportunity has been anything but the weight-loss killjoy the dietary experts say it is.
I am well aware that I weigh more at night than in the morning - and that readings can fluctuate wildly.
But after nearly six days in which I had GAINED a pound, it was a pleasant shock to see the digital display plunge by a whole kilo in the 24 hours before my weekly weigh-in. 
If that’s not an incentive to keep hammering the hell out of those scales, I don’t know what is.

MARCH 29, 2013
Who said you can’t eat Indian and Chinese and lose weight?
IN the fullness of emptiness (otherwise known as dieting), a stone and a half is not a massive amount of weight to lose.
I am not in the same league as those ‘Slimmer of the Year’ winners the formal diet groups use to promote their weighers (that’s a play on ‘wares’, you know I can’t resist a pun).
Anyway, I mean  those sylph-like ladies  whose ‘before’ picture portrays a bouncy castle with a moonface perched on it – and whose ‘after’ photo makes Kate Moss look like Humpty Dumpty.
At the start of this week, my official weight was 84.8 kilos (187lbs) – a far cry from the 205.5lbs I blubbered in at   11 weeks ago.
It’s now reached the stage where people are actually NOTICING  that I’m visibly less portly than when I began Dumpy Old Gran’s Sponsored Diet 11 weeks ago.
I’ve also been staggered at the number of strangers who offer me encouragement and advice – and ask me whether I am following the Weightwatchers, Slimming World or whatever diet.
It happens  just about everywhere from supermarket car parks to Indian restaurants and even Wok Buffets.
Yes, believe it or not, Donna’s Delicious Diet allows me to dine out three or four nights a week – and still lose weight.
It’s all down to instinct. I have friends who keep telling me I am doing it the wrong way but I am losing weight and they aren’t, so there!
Anyway, I tailored my own diet to keep it simple. The basic DDD rules are…
minimal intake of bread, potatoes, pasta and rice
lFry as little as possible - if you have do, fry it in its own juices
lEat lots of fresh veg and fruit
lAvoid biscuits, cakes, sweets and gooey desserts (two squares of chocolate allowed each day).
lAnd finally, as little alcohol as possible.
Fish and most meats are OK as long as grilled, oven-cooked or microwaved. I opt for chicken much of the time for health reasons, while steaks are reserved for restaurant forays. For me, a medium-rare sirloin accompanied by a nice salad takes some beating, even when I am not dieting.
At this rate, I’ll soon be the best judge of steaks in the Costas (all offers gratefully accepted!)
And those Indian and Chinese outings? Well, I can still get away with a Tandoori mixed grill, which was always my favourite Indian dish anyway – plus ONE poppadom. The difference is that I used to drown it all in curry sauce and top it up with a Peshwari nan. Fat lot of good it did me.
Until Sunday, I had a blanket ban on Chinese food because so much of it is fried. But since my three companions voted unanimously to stop off at a Wok Buffet  and I was in someone else’s car, my plan was to just sip a drink while the others poured oodles of grease into their digestive systems.
Had this been a traditional Chinese restaurant, I would not have eaten. But I had no problem jumping out of the frying pan, tempting as it was, and enjoying  a large prawn and tuna salad. That was  followed by a cocktail of fresh  strawberries, lychees and kiwi fruit, none of  which broke my self-imposed rules.
My friends tell me  I should drink eight glasses of water a day, that I can’t do it without lots of exercise and that I mustn’t eat after 7pm.
So what am I doing right?
Still, the way things are going, I’ll soon be a catwalk figure. Yes, I’ll be able to walk my cats that challenging 200 metres to the recycling bins and back without gasping for breath!
As well as my ongoing weight reduction, I’ve also lost a total of 55 centimetres in body measurements, including eight centimetres off my midriff. And that’s with very little exercise because of the danger of straining my less-than-perfect heart.
Going back to the diet itself, I never did eat a lot of carbohydrates, so it’s been no problem cutting out chips, pizza, pasta and potatoes, and minimising my bread intake. I’ve also developed a taste for fresh cabbage, cauliflower, carrots etc, which go down nicely with roast chicken, cold meats, salmon and tuna.
I’ve got into a routine that is rapidly becoming a lifestyle, rather than a food-deprivation experience. And I can’t imagine ever going back to my old greedy ways, which would have killed me.
SNACKING every hour or two on interesting things like olives, pickled gherkins and cherry tomatoes seems to do my diet no damage. But my favourite nibble is a frozen banana! They taste much nicer frozen and last a lot longer - just try one and see! Peel it before you freeze it or you’ll never get the skin off.  Eat it like a lollipop (it will soften gradually as you nibble) but beware freezing fingers.
I’ll do it my weigh!
I’M  beginning to think I have a Fairy Godmother whose magic wand only works from 6pm on a Tuesday until around midday Wednesday.
That’s the only way I can explain the bizarre plunge my weight seems to take in the 24 hours prior to my official weekly weigh-in.
I keep pretty solidly to the diet regime I have set myself, yet it’s only in the immediate build-up to stepping onto the scales at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo that I finally seem to sink below the weight recorded the previous Wednesday.
Last week, when I lost 1.2 kilos  (2lb 10oz), my bathroom scales (which tally almost identically with Centre owner Lyndsey’s -  indicated a GAIN of up to one kilo the day before my weigh-in. So in effect, I lost 3lb 10oz or more in 24 hours. Unlikely, maybe – but the same thing happened this week.
On Tuesday, I tipped the scales at home at around 86.5 kilos (compared to 84.8 the previous week). By Wednesday they were reading me as low as 83.6 kilos- and at weigh-in I was 84.1.
Those in the know like Lyndsey and her assistant Val tell me I should only weigh myself once a week. But old habits die hard – and old journalists are like Alice in Wonderland; they just get curiouser and curiouser.
The good news is that I have now lost more than 20lbs - and feel 20 times healthier than I did when I set out on January 10 to lose 35lb - of 116 kilos - by the end of June.
TOTAL LOSS, 11 WEEKS, 9.1 kilos (20 lbs or 1st 6lb)
Start weight 93.2 kg, Weight now 84.1 kg, Goal weight 77.2 lbs

APRIL  5, 2013
I’M heading for England on Sunday, in the knowledge that my last trip to see my family did little for my weight-loss efforts.
 If I remember rightly, I managed to trim one kilo off my  then-portly frame during a near three-week stay.
This time I’ll be in the UK just a fortnight, nearly a week of which will be spent with my elder daughter Hayley, who is renowned for her cooking. And her  speciality, a massive, very cheesy, more-more-moreish shepherd’s pie, is simply irresistible.
The ultimate test, in fact, of my resolve to hit my target weight  as soon as I can.
Ryanair will  be pleased (will they hell!) that my Wednesday weigh-in this week recorded another drop of 800 grams. It leaves my total weight loss at a few ounces under 10 kilos and  means I have shed the equivalent of a full Ryanair hand-luggage allowance since the last time I flew from Alicante to the UK.
I reckon that should qualify me for a free luggage voucher. Twenty kilos worth at least...
TOTAL LOSS, 12 WEEKS, 9.9 kilos (1 stone 7 lbs 13 oz)  
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; April 3rd -  83.3 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

APRIL 26, 2013
I SHOULD be feeling guilty after my first weigh-in for three weeks revealed I’d lost just 400 grams during my 16-day ‘holiday’ in the UK. Even the excitement of cheering my beloved Cardiff City into the Premier League couldn’t shift any more surplus energy. The consolation is that I more than achieved my goal of not GAINING weight while I was away - though I’m not sure how. I had one enormous blowout when Brenda - my lovely hostess in Cardiff - took me out for a luxury ‘high tea’ and I forgot myself. Endless exotically filled sandwiches, cup  cakes, sugar-coated biscuits and mini gateaux later, I conceded I must have put on at least a kilo. But one week and several blowouts later, I’m wondering just how I managed to  guzzle much too much and continue to lose weight.
Wednesday’s weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Studio in Pueblo Bravo was both a relief and a disappointment. A relief that I had lost 400 grams and disappointment that it could have been so much more had I not stuffed myself in Cardiff.
I now have nine weeks to lose the remaining 5.7 kilos of the 16-kilo target I set myself when I started Dumpy Old Gran’s sponsored diet back in January.
With more than £700 donated so far to Crohn’s Disease research, I owe it to my sick granddaughter Daisy to push that figure up to £1,000. To reinforce my determination, go to www.justgiving.com/donna-gee
TOTAL LOSS, 15 WEEKS - 10.3 kilos (1 stone 8 lbs 10 oz)  
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; April 24th -  82.9 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

MAY 3, 2013
ANYONE else would have been miles away enjoying themselves - but I made a wasted journey.
  The locked doors of the Beauty and Wellness Centre at Pueblo Bravo told me my Wednesday weigh-in was a non-starter. It was a Red Day.
I’d taken a tentative reading from my own bathroom scales and estimated I’d lost 700 grams in the week – or just over 1.5 pounds. That reading won’t be far out, I reasoned. My home weigh-ins usually tally pretty accurately with the official Wednesday ones.
Twenty four hours later I was back at the Beauty and Wellness Centre. I had to know – even if I was a day overdue. And I’m glad I went…because salon owner Lyndsey checked me in at 81.5 kilos. A loss of 1.4 kilos or just over three pounds.
That’s DOUBLE what I’d been a day earlier…and it’s not the first time it’s happened.
I stick to my self-planned, minimum carbohydrate diet pretty meticulously. I also break the general rules pretty meticulously. I am forever jumping on the scales…sometimes a dozen times in a day. I drink far too little water. I get very little exercise. But I’ve lost nearly two stone since January 10. And, more importantly, I’m now just 4.3 kilos from my target of losing 16 kilos by the end of June.
I’ve also been motivated strongly by my granddaughter Daisy’s illness. She’s over the worst but her Crohn’s symptoms could return and I want to do everything I can to  help the battle to find a cure.
I was flattered when Lyndsey told me at yesterday’s weigh-in: “You’re doing great. Nobody else would have stuck at it as long as you have.’’
That’s because nobody else has an army of readers to motivate her. I CAN’T fail – they’d never forgive me if a chickened out.
TOTAL LOSS, 16 WEEKS 11.7 kilos (1 stone 11 lbs 12..7 oz) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; May 2nd -  81.5 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

MAY 10, 2013
IF there is one thing the British expat community excels at, it’s raising money for charity.
Everyone seems to be raking it in for a cause – and some people make a career of it. Albeit an amateur career.
I’m talking about gifted fundraisers like Susan Reader, the brain behind the Fun Walk through El Raso on May 26 in aid of Crohn’s Disease research .
Susan and Sofia’s Bar owner Dee Williams are spearheading the organisation of the Sunday event, which will benefit CICRA, the Crohn’s in Children Research Association.
It’s a cause I began to support at a time Crohn’s almost cost my 13-year-old granddaughter Daisy her life.
My own ongoing sponsored diet has already raised over £750 and with Susan and Dee’s help I’m confident of lifting that sum well into four figures by the end of this month.
What staggers me is that people like Susan find it so easy to (a) think up fund-raising ideas and (b)  ask people to part with their cash.
Personally, I find it extremely difficult to ask anyone for money, even when the opportunity begs to be taken.
On Sunday, for instance, I was cornered at a restaurant in Dona Pepa by a group of Pink Ladies (with a few pink gentlemen in tow). I happily parted with a few euros for cancer research and the collectors’ words of appreciation were both warm and sincere.
Maria’s pink panthers know exactly how to claw in much-needed funds for the AECC…and  here was my opportunity to pick the pinkies’  pockets in return.
I have no idea if they recognised me, but the logical thing would have been to ask them to support the  May 26 Fun Walk.
The problem is, I have no idea HOW to ask without turning bright red in acute embarrassment. On this occasion, I didn’t even let on that I’m the person who puts their campaign reports and photos in The Courier. That surely would have guaranteed me a euro or two’s sponsorship.
Instead, all I have on my sponsorship form is one entry – five euros from my boss Barry. So it hurt when Marie, our community President, told me on Tuesday that her form is almost full of sponsors for the 2.5km walk. It also delighted me, of course…because we are in this together after all.
But why can’t I pluck up the courage to ask people to sponsor ME? Well, not in the flesh anyway.
The obvious way to do it is  via my ramblings in this column. So, how about sponsoring me to walk as much of the route through El Raso as my Parkinson’s and angina-battered heart will allow me?
Just one euro will do if it’s all you can afford.
For more info, email me at donna@thecourier.es
I BLAME it on my neighbour Claire - but I actually added 600 grams to my dwindling frame over the last week. But I promise to avenge the strudel attack which threatens to destroy my four-month diet.
“Come round for a cup of tea and a chat,’’ begged Claire. So I went...and  was shamefully talked into sampling the most delicious home-made fruit strudel imaginable.
It was so nice that I couldn’t resist a second helping - and quickly discovered just how heavy the consequences can be.
The message is clear: beware chocolatey Claires.
TOTAL LOSS, 17 WEEKS - 11.1 kilos  (1 stone 11 lbs ) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; May  8th -  82.1 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos
MAY 17, 2013
Being a hostess is heavy going
I BREATHED a sigh of relief when my latest visitors flew back to the UK on Sunday because I was starting to feel like a pregnant whale.
Last week my four-month diet went into reverse for the first time – and I gained  400 grams. This week I lost just 200 grams, leaving me just six weeks to shed the remaining 4.7 kilos of the 16-kilo target I set myself when I started my sponsored slim in January.
So while I love to having visitors, I’m glad to see the back of them as I home in on the hardest bit of all.
One of my problems is that because I have angina, my heart will only stand up to light exercise. So the food/exercise ratio the dieticians recommend is completely unbalanced. That’s my excuse, anyway!
Nevertheless, I hope to complete the full 2.5km course at the El Raso Charity Walk on May 26. Since the proceeds of the event are being donated to the same cause I am dieting for, I’d be a real misery  to settle for the 500-metre ‘Baby Walk’, wouldn’t I?
I also guess I can get more sponsorship if I take the scenic route, though my embarrassment about asking people verbally to sponsor me is certainly not helping.
Either way, I intend to find out just how much exercise is safe by taking the long route, with the help of a heart monitor given to me by The Courier’s medical expert Dr Machi Mannu. At least I’ll be able to keep a check en route  whether I’m alive or dead!
Susan Reader, the amazing voluntary fund-raiser who is organising the Fun Day, has a message for prospective walkers and supporters of the Crohn’s in Children Research Association..
“If you are unable to join the walk, may I ask if you would you put your name on Donna’s sponsorship form,’’ she urges. “Just 50 cents or €1, as I would like to get Donna’s fundraising which is already at €750, to over €1,000. Together we can do this.’’ (If you could only see me blushing as I write!).
The walk starts at Bar Sofia at 10am. Registration for ‘semi serious’ walkers is at 9.45am but sleepyheads can settle for Bucks Fizz or a small beer at the Old Finca and that token 500m walk to Bar Sofia with an optional Treasure Hunt along the way.
Susan concludes: “If you don't want to walk, then why not come along and join us anyway? After the walk, there will be a variety of food on offer at Bar Sofia, along with music and a Fashion Show plus a few interesting stands. Oh, and could all walkers please dress in black and/or white!’’
Email your pledges to Susan at sueinthesun@hotmail.co.uk or call in to see Dee at Bar Sofia. You can also donate online at www.justgiving.com/donna-gee
TOTAL LOSS, 18 WEEKS - 11.3 kilos    (1 stone 11 lbs ) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; May  15th -  81.9 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

MAY 24, 2013
The going’s so heavy at pudding time
I’m back on course with a vengeance...and about time, too! The three weeks up to Wednesday had been a nightmare. First, my weight went UP for the first time since  I started my diet - and the following week I only managed to recoup half of that gain.
The result was that I had to shed 400 grams by this Wednesday just to get down to where I was three weeks ago.
At 81.9 kilos (12st 12.6lbs), I was almost five kilos short of my goal of losing 16 kilos (35lbs) by June 30. And I’d begun to think nothing would shift the remaining blubber.
It hasn’t helped, of course, that I can only take minimal exercise because of a heart problem. But I have meticulously followed my regular routine of avoiding carbohydrates and confectionary.
With little more than  five weeks to go, I was desperate to be a loser again. But first I had to negotiate my way around weekend outings with friends for a Chinese banquet and then Sunday lunch.
I could not be so rude as to just sit and watch, so my only carbs were a few noodles at the Happy Garden on Saturday...my roast spuds being left on the plate at Lo Marabu on Sunday. OK, I did see off the Yorkshire pudding (no, not John Prescott). But the overall strategy worked - because I scaled just 80.6 kilos (12st 9lb) at Wednesday’s weigh-in.
I now need to shed 1.5lbs a week to hit the jackpot. Then I plan to hit the swimming pool  in a bikini.  Well, perhaps not...
DONNA GEE set out in January to lose 16 kilos (35lbs) and raise £500 for the Crohn’s in Children Research Association (CICRA). That figure was reached some time ago - and Donna’s revised target is now £1,000. If you’d like to donate, go to www.justgiving.com/donna-gee. Better still, come along to this Sunday’s charity Walk and Fun Day at El Raso - and please bring something for the raffle if possible!
TOTAL LOSS, 19 WEEKS - 12.6 kilos  (1 stone 13.5 lbs ) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; May  22nd -  80.6 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

MAY 31, 2013
‘Ounce’ upon a time on the gateau plateau
ALL the excitement of the last few days has overshadowed the BIG event -  achieving my target of reducing Mrs Blobby to something less than ‘clinically obese’.
Well, I’ve managed that...but even now, my official Body Mass Index remains at 29.57, or marginally beneath that horrible word ‘obese’. I’m sure the table wants to call me ‘fat’ for ever...but it’s now settled for branding me as ‘overweight’. What a cheek!
Personally, I would call my new figure ‘sylph-like’ but what would computer programmed jargon know about accurately describing a successful if a little smug weight watcher?
I’m waffling on because I’ve not had a good week. In fact I am still 3.3 kilos short of my target weight after losing 100 grams in the last week, which by my reckoning is just a few ounces.
The big worry is that time is rapidly running out in my Battle of the (Shrinking) Bulge. My excuse is that Sunday’s Charity Walk and Fun Day wrecked my routine, as well as dwarfing my own efforts to raise money for Crohn’s research.
It’s not that I’ve been eating the wrong things...I’ve been guzzling too many of the right things. Either that or I’ve hit that damned plateau again. You know, the ‘nothing lost, nothing gained’ limbo land where nothing changes for weeks and you wonder if the plateau is made of gateau.
I put off my weigh-in to Thursday this week in the hope of just a tiny reduction over the eight days since my previous weigh-in. I got it...those 100 grams  could not be tinier.
DONNA GEE set out in January to lose 16 kilos (35lbs) and raise £500 for the Crohn’s in Children Research Association (CICRA). That figure is about to hit  £2,000, thanks to a charity Walk and Fun Day organised by Donna’s friends at Ell Raso last weekend (see Page 7) To donate, go to  www.justgiving.com/donna-gee
TOTAL LOSS, 20 WEEKS - 12.7 kilos (28 lbs ) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; May  30th -  80.5 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

JUNE 7, 2013
Kilo talk: 13.1 down ...less than three to go
I WEIGHED in a day earlier this week as I began the last four weeks of my five-month battle to lose 16 kilos in a sponsored diet for research into Crohn’s Disease in children.
I flew to the UK late on Tuesday for some medical tests, so my normal Wednesday check-in at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo was not an option.
As it happens, the news was good - I had lost 400 grams (just under 1lb) in five days, taking my total loss since I began the diet on January 10 beyond 13 kilos.
The remaining equation is simple. I must lose the last stubborn 2.9 kilos of that 16-kilo target during the remaining 23 days of June - or live in embarrassment for the rest of my podgy life. I won’t be weighed officially for the next two weeks, so see you here on June 21...
TOTAL LOSS, 21 WEEKS – 13.1 kilos (28.8 lbs) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; June 4th -  80.1 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

JUNE 14, 2013
I’M not sure how much weight I’ve lost in the last week because I’m 1,500 miles away in Manchester and have been unable to have my usual weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo. But I reckon I’ve lost at least another 300 grams - and possibly as much as a whole kilo!
 And I’ve managed it despite guzzling too much food at a couple of family barbecues at the weekend.
There I was, within sight of the goal weight I set myself in January, taking the cheesy option and succumbing to the temptation of daughter Hayley’s brie, cheddar and Danish blue.
And to think that 72 hours earlier I’d been given an unexpected boost with Ryanair’s announcement that flight 9072 from Alicante would be foodless because of an administrative mix-up (or something equally pathetic).
I had long since given up listening to the camp steward who seemed determined to break the world record for spouting amplified non-stop gibberish at 35,000 feet.
I had spent the entire flight trying to chat to the lady sitting next to me...only for young Campo to drown out almost every word with a succession of meandering announcements.
Then came that unfortunate weekend blip, though I managed to get back on course during the early part of this week. Well, that’s what the scales said anyway - indeed, at one point the reading dropped as low as 79.0 kilos.
I’m not convinced, though, so have settled for an unofficial 300-gram loss. Just 16 days to lose these last couple of kilos - and I’ll be celebrating with the biggest bar of chocolate I can find!
TOTAL LOSS, 22 WEEKS - 13.4 kilos - unofficial (29.5 lbs) 
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; June 12th -  79.8 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

JUNE 21, 2013
I’ve a confession to make - I don’t think I’ll be making a celebration splash in my new swimwear on July 1. I know I promised I’d get 16 kilos off my blubbery frame between January and June...but this last few pounds is simply refusing to depart.
I blame it on the hospitality of my two daughters (well, someone has to be the scapegoat!) though I knew it would be difficult to keep the momentum going during my latest visit to the UK.
In the event, this week’s official weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Pueblo Bravo confirmed that I trimmed off 600 grams during my 13-day trip - taking me below 80 kilos but leaving an unrealistic task in the immediate future.
The challenge is to lose another 2.3 kilos in the final 12 days of my battle of the bulge. And since I have no desire to chop off one of my hands, all I can do is continue the diet until the scales hit that magical figure of 77.2 kilos.
The original target was to shed 16 kilos/2st 7lb of my 93.2 kilo/14st 9lb blubber, so I don’t think I’ve done badly. Try lifting 14 kilos of shopping and you’ll understand why I feel so much better.
However, this final couple of kilos represents the difference between delight and despair. My self-imposed penance is that the diet regime will continue until I hit that magical target of 77.2 kilos.
And that means loads more salad days until mid-July at least. I just hope it’s July 2013 not 2014!
TOTAL LOSS, 23 WEEKS 13.7 kilos (2st 2.3lbs - or 30.3lbs)
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; June 19th -  79.5 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos; To target -  2.3 kilos
June 28,  2013
Final charge of the light brigade
A WEEK ago I was ready to surrender to the enemy in the kilo fields of the Battle of the Bulge. With less than a fortnight to the official ceasefire, I was more than five pounds off my June 30 target - and ready to concede defeat.
But, miracle upon miracle, I’ve managed to lose 1.5 kilos (nearly 3.5lbs) in the last seven days. Which means I’m back on course to hit that two-and-a-half stone weight loss after all.
I seem to have been dieting for ever to get where I am – and to fall short would mean I’ve failed the challenge I set when I began my Sponsored Slim in the New Year.
However, my penultimate weekly weigh-in at the Beauty and Wellness Centre in Dona Pepa means I am just 800 GRAMS off the 16-kilos I vowed to lose. That’s less than 2lbs...after a 21-week marathon stretching back to January 10, when I began my campaign to raise £500 for the Crohn’s in Children Research Association (CICRA). It has hopefully taken the gross figure raised by my amazing friends past £2,000 –you can check the figure at www.justgivingcom/donna-gee.
The sponsored diet was inspired by my need to slim down (I was heading for 15st when I started), and more importantly, by my granddaughter Daisy’s battle against Crohn’s Disease.
Daisy’s life was saved by major surgery after an abscess in her intestine began to threaten her vital  organs. But that is history because she’s now back at school and looking forward to a holiday of a lifetime under the Dream Flight programme in October .
Daisy, who is 13, was officially nominated for the trip to Florida by a nurse during her time as a patient in Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and will fly out to Disney World in October for a free, all inclusive fiesta along with other brave youngsters who have suffered serious illness.
So all is set for a happy ending all round - providing those final 800 grams will shove off in the next few days. Daisy is well and pain-free, lots of money has been raised for CICRA – and diva Donna with a dazzling diminished diameter! Well, perhaps not quite dazzling – but 12st 2lb is a lot healthier than the 14st 9lb hulk that began the year.
PS All future donations should be made in the form of chocolate, cake and biscuits                     DONNA GEE
TOTAL LOSS, 24 WEEKS - 15.2 kilos (2st 5lb)
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; June 26th -  78.0 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos

July 5th, 2013
Light read? Try Mrs Whale’s Diary
IT was just before 2pm on Tuesday that it finally registered. I jumped on the bathroom scales for probably the 1,000th time in the last five-and-half months - and there it was. My number was well and truly up.
The digital display flashed briefly, then settled on exactly 77.2 kilos. Not a particularly memorable figure - but the one I had been desperate to see since starting my sponsored diet in aid of Crohn’s research way back on January 10.
I had reached my goal weight! Fully 16 kilos (or 35lbs) of blubber gone...and more than £2,000 raised for CICRA, the Crohn’s in Children Research Association.
Thirty-five pounds, two and a half stone or whatever else you want to call it, I had reached the end of my journey. And it’s irrelevant that another 700 grams had melted away by the time I weighed in officially for the last time on Wednesday.
The 14st 9lb whale had dumped those 16 kilos of blubber in 22 weeks - with virtually no exercise because of my heart problems.
I beat the bulge using my own ‘minimal calories’ recipe of no carbohydrates, cake or gooey desserts rather than the methods recommended by Weightwatchers, Slimming World and other programmed diet regimes. And I can confirm that it works. Well, it did until I celebrated my achievement by giving a late breakfast the full English treatment at Bar Sofia in El Raso on Wednesday! (See picture).
If you’d like to know more about slimming without exercise the Mrs Whale way, send an email to me at donna@thecourier.es
If there’s enough interest I’ll make a week-by-week diary available of my descent from 14st 9lb to exactly 12 stone, which will hopefully provide some useful hints you can utilise if and when YOU decide to take the plunge.
TOTAL LOSS, 25 WEEKS - 16.7 kilos (2st 9lb or 37lbs).
January 10th - 93.2 kilos; July 2nd  -  76.5 kilos; Target weight - 77.2 kilos


JULY 12th, 2013

No exercise, little water - but it worked!
IT TOOK me almost six months – and I admit I surprised myself. But I somehow managed to lose more than two-and-a-half stone by following a random diet. 
It was a diet I concocted myself – and a diet with next to no exercise because I have a heart condition.
Call it Donna’s Dopey Diet if you like, because my plan conflicts in some ways with the generally accepted ‘rules’ of the dieticians in several aspects. I didn’t drink loads of water, as most slimming experts advise. Eight glasses a day? I doubt I drank that much in a week…and what I did drink was generally tomato juice or fizzy water rather than the boring tasteless stuff you get free from the kitchen tap in the UK.
Dumpy Old Gran is now Dainty Old Gran (relatively!), though I still have a spare tyre around my midriff. That’s the legacy of being unable to engage in a weight-loss programme involving aerobic exertion due to a combination of angina, backache and arthritic laziness.
About 15 years ago, I lost 21lbs on a Slimming World diet. But I knew I’d be unable to follow a set regime and since I simply HAD to lose that 35lbs to raise money for my sick grandchild Daisy, it had to be a diet that was simple. Anything remotely complicated was a no-no as I’d be sure to forget the recipe. So I decided to base the whole thing around a carbohydrate shutdown.
I’ve never been a big fan of  rice, pasta or potatoes – including chips - so cutting them out was no big deal. I also decided to keep my bread intake to a minimum. For breakfast (when I was bothered), I’d have a single round of toasted wholemeal with a thin coating of butter and strawberry jam and a cup of tea or coffee with a little semi-skimmed milk and a sweetener.
I tend to get up late, so it would usually be mid-afternoon or later before I was hungry again. If my tummy began to rumble earlier, I’d snack on a pickled gherkin or a few cherry tomatoes. If that didn’t do the trick I’d have some fruit. As much  of it as it took. For lunch, if I was at home, I’d make myself a chicken, ham, smoked salmon or tuna salad, and dress it with balsamic vinegar rather than mayonnaise or oil. Followed by a 125-gram creamy yoghurt for dessert. At 111 calories per 100 grams, I saw my favourite muesli yoghurt as an acceptable treat – providing I didn’t have more than one a day .My other special treat was two squares of milk chocolate each evening.
For dinner, I’d prepare a saucepan full of green veg and carrots, boil it all for about ten minutes and serve it up with chicken, steak , chops or liver - or if I felt fishy I’d go for oven-grilled salmon or mackerel. No limit on the amount of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, etc
Initially, I thought that eating out would be a no-no. But I ended up dining in all sorts of restaurants at least twice a week…and still lost weight. In, fact, only once in the 22 weeks of my diet did I GAIN  – and that was a result of  being wined and dined by  my daughters during a visit to England.
Like most people these days, I  love Indian and Chinese food . But while I’ve yet to find a decent limited-calorie  Chinese meal,  I found I could eat Tandoori dishes without putting the pounds on. Typically, I would order a Tandoori mixed grill with salad and a single poppadom with a small amount of mango chutney. No rice, curry sauce or nan bread, yet I’d enjoy the meal more than ever because I didn’t go home feeling bloated.
In ‘normal’ restaurants, I’d order a steak and salad with perhaps a few grilled mushrooms. Desserts were one of the things I missed…though if hot cherries were on the menu, I admit I did occasionally indulge. I had my consolation in those two squares of chocolate waiting for me at home. I also found a new treat in frozen bananas, something I first heard mentioned during my Slimming World days in the late 1990s.  Just chuck  a few peeled bananas in the freezer, leave them for a few hours -  and treat them like ice lollies. You can even push a stick into one end  to make the banana easier to handle. You’ll find they begin to thaw as you eat them and somehow taste much nicer than in their natural form.  
Well, that in a nutshell is how I shed 2st 9lb in 22 weeks without ever feeling hungry. But a word of warning. It’s little over a week since I reached my goal weight, during which time I’ve been celebrating big-time.
The slap-up meals are already taking their toll. I’m not saying what the scales read this morning…let’s just say I need to go on a diet.
Thanks so much for all your emails and good wishes. And I am happy to say that my granddaughter Daisy is now healthy and happy - and looking forward to visiting me next month!

Follow up article (published July 26)
THE FATS OF LIFEI put on over a stone in two weeks!
AFTER nearly six months of dieting accompanied by my weekly ramblings, boasts and dopey eating suggestions, I intended to take my weight off your minds forever.
But the bizarre happenings since I completed my self-set challenge of losing 16 kilos (35 lbs) have fired a warning that would leave any vegetarian weight watcher as sick as a carrot.
I’ve discovered to my cost that it is far easier to GAIN weight than it is to shed excess pounds.
Two weeks ago, I was Queen of the Lean after slimming down from 14st 9lb to exactly 12 stone – and with it, raising a heavy amount for research into Crohn’s Disease.
I celebrated reaching my goal weight with my first full English breakfast of 2013…and over the next few days continued to celebrate. And celebrate. And celebrate.
It was restaurant time again – Indian, Chinese, calorie-rich starters, desserts, the lot. And even sillier, I let my sweet tooth loose on everything from biscuits and cake to rich milk chocolate.
One night last week, I had a mad 15 minutes before going to bed during which I saw off the entire remnants of an evening I had hosted for three friends. A pile of egg mayonnaise sandwiches, EIGHT small cup cakes and a whole 500g bar of milk chocolate went down the hatch in a frenzied attack on anything containing sugar.
It was the stupidest thing I could have done after working so hard to reach my goal weight – and I have paid for it big-time.
On July 2, I weighed 76.5 kilos, or exactly 12 stone. When I stepped on to my bathroom scales at lunchtime this Tuesday (July 23), the rotten Japanese nip-on-and-offs repaid me for my sins. Unbelievably, I had regained almost ONE-THIRD of my entire weight loss over the 22-week  duration of my diet. More than A STONE…in a fortnight.
I simply couldn’t believe it. Surely such a weight gain in so short a period is impossible, I thought, resigning myself to another couple of months back on Donna’s Dopey Diet.
By the end of the day I was down to a slightly more respectable 81.1 kilos, thanks to my prescribed daily water tablet which I invariably seem to forget to take. So, less than 12lb gained in 14 days then. Big deal.
Fortunately, I’ve got the message before guzzling a route to becoming the widest mountain in the Costas.
 The problem is regaining the motivation that drove me on last time, namely the suffering of my granddaughter Daisy, who faced major surgery to beat off the ravages of Crohn’s Disease.
The last fortnight has taught me that KEEPING weight off is much harder than reducing kilos in the first place. But I’m not going to let down the many sponsors who put their faith in me achieving my target.
The diet is back on…with 12-stone again  the thin-ishing line. And I’m announcing it publicly because it’s tough to tell thousands of readers ‘Thanks for your support  but I’ve made a pie and mash of it’.
For me, accepting a challenge in the public glare is the ultimate motivation. How embarrassing to be spotted at an unguarded moment guzzling a plate of pie and chips.
I promise that won’t happen -  I’ll stick to fried chocolate with my chips..