Having got through Christmas without putting on any weight (which I count as a major victory) I have started my attempt to lose weight in earnest today. If only every day of a diet could be as exhilarating, full of hope and easy as the first. Yet at the back of my mind is the knowledge that however determined I have been in the past my diet has ultimately failed (even if the ones in my 40s have been successful for longer).
Anyway I kickstarted the myfitnesspal app, which I have used on and off recently, but which only works if you do it ALL THE TIME. I am very impressed with the changes they've made to it, most notably the new barcode scanning feature which (so far) seems to work brilliantly and saves a lot of time in getting the info into your phone. And mainly it's just really exciting, like you're in the future. I have been eating healthily and not drinking since the 27th and was amazed by how much energy I had today. My wife and I went for a run and I felt pepped up enough to attempt the long "quarter Marathon" run between the bridges. I massively enjoyed it and we did the six and three quarter miles in 80 minutes, which isn't too bad. My Moves app, again seemingly confused whenever it goes near water, had me running over the Thames a few times and estimated an 8 mile distance, so it's not perfect, but it's still helpful to know how much you've run and walked in the day.
The major benefit of the run though was an additional 1000+ calories to play with, meaning I didn't get into positive equity until dinner time at 6.30pm. And I ended the day with a 1000 calories in hand. Myfitnesspal informed me that if I did this every day for 5 weeks I would lose over 8kg, though I think it overestimates my commitment. But it was a terrific start to my campaign to destroy a quarter of myself and remarkably I didn't really feel hungry at any point in the day (and I also spent about an hour moving boxes of programmes around as I reorganised my storage).
What I always forget after dieting for a while is how great being healthy makes me feel and how much I enjoy my meals once they come along. Fat people (including me) often claim that their problem is that they love food too much. I realises today that this is not my problem. Because if you love food then a smaller amount, which is savoured, is much more enjoyable than loads of it. In fact when I am eating "heartily" the stuff barely touches the sides, let alone my taste-buds. When I am being a glutton it's not because I enjoy food, it's because I am just shovelling it in without really thinking about it. If I eat a massive bar of chocolate I don't really have fun on any level (and I assume it's some psychological issue that makes me equate eating until I feel sick with being happy) and try to make the stuff disappear as quickly as possible to assuage my guilt (it doesn't work) but a small piece gives you all the pleasure without any of the problems. If you loved food you'd eat one piece of chocolate (or whatever) a day, but as I've said before if I eat a piece of chocolate I want to eat all the chocolate in the world. So for now I will just abstain.
But the realisation of the lie I had been telling myself, that I ate too much because I loved food was very helpful. Because today I loved my food by only eating a sensible amount.
I find myself ridiculous of course, because if history teaches us anything it is that I will lose weight and then put it back on again. But life is nothing if not a triumph of hope over experience. I told my wife to enjoy the old Rich while she could, because the new Rich was on his way, "So make the most of these curves while I still have them."
And if there is any flicker of hope within the inevitability of my self-delusion it is that my primary motivation now is health rather than vanity, though there is definitely still a tiny part of me who hopes (in vain) that he can somehow recapture his lost youth and become an international supermodel and sexist (by which I mean someone whose job is to have sex with people as a reward for them being brilliant and attractive). I am not sure that being thin would really be enough for that though.
We'll see how it goes, but loving (and laughing at) my enthusiasm. I feel a bit like I did in 2008 where I did manage to achieve a significant leap in my fitness (until Tim Key cracked my rib!)
Still time to guess what weight I will be on 31st December 2014 by the way - there will be a prize for the one who gets closest. I was 97kg at the doctors (I've lost a couple already) and am supposed to be 72kg. Email your guesses to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of 2013 if you want a chance to win.
We went to see Saving Mr Banks tonight, which despite the implicit spoiler in the title ("Don't you get it? Mary Poppins isn't there to save the children!" I wonder who she's there to save then - oh yeah, it's in the title) is a very moving and funny film. Well worth a look, especially if you've ever had to write anything with someone else. Suddenly working with Stewart Lee doesn't seem so bad!
And hoping that I achieve nothing of note in the last two days of the year, I have updated the "history" section of the website to include the stuff I got up to in 2013. I did more than I had realised.