It all started with The Hairy Bikers. Well, it’s got to start somewhere, hasn’t it?
It was the Christmas holidays, between Christmas Day and New Year, when Lady Barton St Mary and I settled down in the drawing room in Randall Towers to watch the hirsute pair and their story concerning weight loss.
Now, watching two rather overweight hairy men lose pounds and inches was an inspiration.
So, on New Year’s Day, in addition to my annual alcohol free January, I decided to go back onto my special diet. Lady Barton St Mary bought the Hairy Biker’s ‘How to Love Food and Lose Weight’ book and stored it carefully on the bookcase for future reference.
I’d weighed myself straight after the TV programme. 13st 4lbs (182lb). Ok, five years ago I had weighed in at 14st 2lbs, so at least I wasn’t too bad. But until I was 40 years old, I was a skinny person, enduring all the skinny jokes. Most of them from The Sexton.
“Do you have to run around in the shower to get wet?”
“Mind you don’t fall down the cracks in the pavement!”
“Stick your tongue out and you look like a bus stop…”
But now I was overweight. I had a big, sticky out tummy.
“Even when you were skinny, you had a sticky out tummy,” explained Lady BSM, helpfully.
“It’s the way you stand.”
I tried to alter my posture, but walking around like The Hunchback of Notre Dame is uncomfortable as well as looking a little weird.
So I started my special diet, which I like to call the ‘non-beige diet’. This means avoiding all carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice, biscuits, pasta, sweets and (technically) alcohol.
Initially, this diet appears to be very challenging; lots of people who take an interest find it unbelievable that somebody could survive without shoving a spud in their mouth at least once a day. However, I had a bloody big fleshy football on my stomach that needed removing.
The first week I lost 4lbs. The second, a further 4lbs. The third, 2lbs. By the end of January, I’d lost 12lbs. It was working. I kept going as the tummy decreased in size.
By March, I’d lost so much weight, all my trousers were far too loose. I wore a belt to keep them up.
“Look at your trousers,” said Lady BSM, “they look terrible. Like a sack of spuds tied in the middle. You need some new clothes,” she advised.
We took a trip to John Lewis in Cardiff, where she encouraged me to try on some new clothes.
That was the start of the ‘new’ me. Let me explain.
Only wore cotton items and certain cotton items at that.
Liked to buy the same items. In the same colour and style.
Actively refused to try new looks and different styles.
In fact, my wardrobe looked a bit like the episode of The Simpsons, when Homer opens the closet to reveal dozens of pairs of blue trousers and white short sleeved shirts.
I gazed at all the lovely clothes and thought about how I could change my image.
“I wish I could wear all these clothes. I’d love to wear suits more often,” I confided to Lady BSM.
“Well,” she replied, looking at me levelly, “that’s up to you. You’re the one who refuses to wear anything different!”
It was the start of the new me. By April, I weighed 11st 5lb. I had a reasonably flat tummy. The daily regime of sit ups, planks and crunches had started to pay dividends. I’d dropped to a 32” waist from the heady heights of 36”.
So I bought a new suit. It wasn’t cotton. I decided that I needed to re-train my body to like other fabrics. Looking good in clothes helped.
Then I started to buy new shirts. Flowery ones as well as new formal shirts. I looked best in tailored and slim fit clothes.
I bought another suit. More shirts. Different shoes.
Lady BSM was starting to notice the difference.
“I think you’ve lost enough weight now. Interestingly, losing weight makes other parts of you look bigger,” she commented with a knowing look, saying that fat men’s ones often look a lot smaller. Goodness knows where she found that out.
She really started to take notice after what I call the underwear revolution. Let me explain. For years, she’s been trying to get me to wear trendy ‘hipster’ pants, whilst I grimly continued with traditional briefs, synonymous with men of a certain age. Then one day, I decided to try on a pair that had been given to me as a joke by Nurse Lynn at Christmas.
“I’m trying some new pants,” I told Lesley, my work colleague, as we mooched around Marks and Spencers Outlet Centre that lunchtime. She looked at me wearily.
“Too much information. What do you mean, new pants?”
“Hipster pants. I might buy some more,” I admitted, “but maybe not exactly the same as these.”
“What do you mean?” enquired Lesley.
I showed her the waistband of the pants Nurse Lynn had given me, which bore the legend ‘Unwrap Me.’ I didn’t think it appropriate to display the big yellow bow on the front. Lesley’s mouth formed a wavy line and she leaned on a wall to steady herself.
“Give me a moment, I want the nausea to pass,” she pleaded.
So there it was. I was hipster man. Within a month I had some Calvin Kleins in my knicker drawer.
Friends noticed the difference.
“Don’t lose too much weight,” they warned.
The Sexton listened to Lady BSM describe my transformation before offering an explanation.
“Obvious, he’s having an affair,” he told her helpfully.
I use moisturiser and hair product. I even own a comb.
“Well, well, what’s happened to you?” she smiled.
“I’ve become a fop and a dandy,” I offered. Lady BSM laughed.
I have a whole new wardrobe. I have an online stylist. I’ll even try different types of sock.
My belly still sticks out, though.