The F Word

When I first left home I was a UK size 8/10 but it seemed that, since living on my own, my clothes had somehow shrunk and I was forced to buy new ones.

When I was in my late teens/early twenties, a woman said 4 words to me that I will never forget; they shocked me to my core and changed my life forever.

The woman was a doctor and the 4 words were: “You are too fat”.

Eggs chips and beansI’d been living away from home for the first time and couldn’t cook so my diet consisted of frozen things that I could heat up in the oven or things that I could fry or heat up in a saucepan. Dinner, for example, was often oven chips, fried eggs and baked beans! I worked long hours in a shop but, fortunately (!) there were  number of shops nearby where I could pick up lunch. Marks and Spencer had launched their range of pre-packed sandwiches and I fell in love with their prawn and mayonnaise offering at first bite. Having realised that I didn’t need to subject myself to my appalling cooking for every meal I looked for places to buy breakfast; not only was I working long hours but I was out almost every night and rarely got home before 2am so I often didn’t wake up until after I’d dressed, showered and walked to work. It was at that point that my descent into fatness began: my search led me to McDonalds and their bacon and egg McMuffins. Bacon and egg McmuffinHad I known then what I know now I would have realised that I was at the start of an addiction that was to last for several months but, at the time, I was lazy, hungry and, invariably, hungover.

At first, it wasn’t too bad; I had a bacon and egg McMuffin for breakfast and a prawn and mayonnaise sandwich for lunch and whatever haphazard combination of frozen/fried foods I could sling together for dinner. However, after a couple of weeks I wasn’t satisfied with one McMuffin and started buying two for my breakfast; I didn’t realise that the sugar in the things was giving me a quick energy spike which left me begging for more when it wore off. Some time after that I found that I was hungrier at lunch time so I progressed to the packets of three sandwiches in Marks and Spencer – one was prawn, one was bacon and egg but the filling in the third has slipped my mind for some reason, perhaps it had something healthy in it.

My evening meals were never going to get any healthier as I was still heating food for myself (by no stretch of the imagination could it be called cooking) but they were, mysteriously getting bigger, I think I added sausages into my repertoire at this point.

Clothes too tightAnyway, you can see a pattern emerging and it didn’t get any better as the months went on. When I first left home I was a UK size 8/10 but it seemed that, since living on my own, my clothes had somehow shrunk and I was forced to buy new ones. I didn’t worry about it too much at the time as clothes shopping has never been a chore for me and, really, what was the difference between a size 10 and a size 12? I convinced myself that the shops were cutting their clothes smaller to save money and that, once they saw sense went back to their usual patterns I would be back in my normal size. Unfortunately this argument didn’t really wash when I found myself buying size 14/16 clothes……..

Eventually, after almost a year away from home I went back to my Mum and her healthy home cooking. I don’t really remember if anyone said anything about the weight that I’d gained, certainly nothing sticks in my mind but maybe they did and I just metaphorically stuck my fingers in my ears and went ‘la, la, la’ in my head. I digress; for the last couple of weeks that I was away and since returning home I’d had quite sever pain in my knees which meant that I really suffered when wearing my trade mark 3 inch stiletto heals. Obviously there was no way I was going to wear flats so I took myself off to the doctor. She listened to my tale of woe, looked me up and down and said those unforgettable 4 words. She also made me stand on a scale which showed that I had put on over 2 stone in less than a year thanks to my bad food choices.

SaladShe put me on a healthy 1,000 calorie a day diet and, after bawling my eyes out for a couple of hours, I stuck to it religiously; I lost weight, exercised more because, miraculously, the pain in my knees improved no end and eventually got back to my old weight. I have never been fat since because I never wanted to hear those words again or feel the pain that went with hearing them.

These days it seems that professionals are far more cautious in their approach to obesity and they speak about ‘weight loss journeys’ and being ‘plus size’ because that is the more sensitive and politically correct approach. Words like that are certainly easier to hear but I wonder, long term, if they are actually kinder. My doctor had no problem using the F word and, for me, by God was it effective!

Since then I don’t think I’ve ever owned a set of scales; if my clothes fit I’m happy and, I don’t know why but I have an almost pathological dislike of clowns ;O)


Should Ronald McDonald be Shot?

People are getting fatter and fatter thanks to McDonalds and their counterparts and, quite frankly, it seems as though they really don’t give a s**t so, I’m not going to take it back, that giant plastic clown deserves to be shot!

I realise that this may be an ever so slightly emotive title and I am not advocating that anyone should start shooting giant plastic clowns with nauseatingly cheesy grins and stupidly big feet (yep you’re right I don’t like clowns) but I do think that McDonalds and their ilk should be held to account for their contribution to the current obesity crises in the USA and the UK. They currently have a promotion which actively encourages their customers to buy larger portions of their ‘food’ in the hope of winning prizes. I use the term ‘food’ loosely as I believe that the packaging has slightly more nutritional content than what’s inside it!

mcdonalds buttermilk chickenHowever, in response to public criticism, they have now helpfully added a nutrition calculator to their site which apparently allows their customers to make informed choices. This for example will tell you that a sweet BBQ bacon and buttermilk chicken burger has 830 calories, 39g of fat etc and it will also show you what these are as a percentage of your daily values. So, with this particular burger, the saturated fat content works out as 53% of your daily allowance…….more than half…… one burger………without fries………or a drink……..or a desert! The only two things it doesn’t give a percentage for are trans fats and sugars which are, without doubt, the two most dangerous things on the list. The sugar content of this one burger is 18g and the daily recommended allowance is 25g; that means that it contains roughly 75% of all the sugar that you should consume in one day – not really caramel sundaysurprising that they didn’t want to add the percentage to this one is it?

If you add a vanilla shake to that, that’s another 59g of sugar which is more than 200% of your daily allowance; not only that but you’ve also just opted to take on board another 490 calories. If you manage to resist the McFlurry and other ice-cream deserts on offer and instead opt for the apple pie you will be consuming another 230 calories and another 12g of sugar. However, if the sugar high that you will be experiencing after eating 3 times your daily recommended amount in one sitting isn’t enough for you, they do offer a hot caramel sundae. It doesn’t look very big but it does contain a whopping 620 calories and another 57g of sugar.

The upshot of all this is that, if you take the burger, shake and a caramel sundae you have pretty much blown your calorie intake for the day as that lot adds up to almost 2,000. Yes, you did read that correctly – almost 2,000 calories in one meal. However, much worse, you will have also worked your way through 134g of sugar!!!

Fresh Fat Chinese Boy Meme mcdonalds make fat kids youtubeSo Mr McDonald has very kindly broken down your fat, carbs, calories and vitamins (!) so that you can include his ‘food’ as part of a balanced, calorie controlled diet but he has carefully neglected to mention that regular intake of his products will make you fat. Yes, I’m sorry but I am going to be that blunt because it’s a fact. Even if you take some of the salad options they’re going to push you over your daily sugar limit in no time at all (yes I did say salad); the Southwest Butter Milk Crispy Chicken Salad has over 500 calories but it also has 9g of sugar which is over 35% of what you should be eating in a day. If you decide to have a ‘fat free’ chocolate milk with your salad (a label which is used to fool people into thinking that they’re eating healthily), you will add another 22g of sugar and that’s you done for the day.

All this begs the question WHY in the name of all that’s holy do people keep going back to McDonalds??? It’s really surprisingly simple – SUGAR is addictive. It’s more addictive than cocaine. People will tell you that McDonalds ‘food’ tastes great but, if they banned it from their diets completely for a week and then went back to it they would realise that it actually doesn’t taste great, just very, very sweet.

Obviously, despite the relatively low cost of their meals this means that McDonalds will continue to make enormous profits. Effectively they have a captive audience; they have created a band of followers that they know will keep coming back to get their ‘fix’ so it’s not in their interests to reduce the sugar content of their offerings. The business model has been so successful in fact that it has been copied many times over and there are now hundreds of fast food chains who tempt people in with ‘healthier’ and ‘low fat’ options in an effort to appease the authorities who are having to find the money to fund the current obesity crisis but until they reduce the sugar content nothing will change. People are getting fatter and fatter thanks to McDonalds and their counterparts and, quite frankly, it seems as though they really don’t give a s**t so, I’m not going to take it back, that giant plastic clown deserves to be shot!

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