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Wednesday, 10th November 2010
How exactly does one break a 20+ year habit / addiction???
By Kevin Walton

I thinks it's pretty darned obvious to anyone who knows me and isn't clincally insane, that I have a bit of a weight problem. It's just far too easy to take the quick and easy (and oh so yummy) option when it comes to meals. Just whip down to the corner lunch bar and grab a cup of chips and a pie for lunch. Or even pop out to Wendy's or KFC if you're feeling particularly stressed and need to unwind a bit. Every single day I say to myself, "This is it; this is the last time I'm doing this! From now on, I'm making a healthy lunch to bring to work with me and I'm eating that or nothing!" I come home, go through the nightly routine of getting things done (which usually involves a quick and fatty dinner because I'm too tired to cook anything else) and then spend the rest of the night working on wedding videos or watching TV, etc. Eventually it starts to get late and I become tired and need to go to sleep, lunch still not made. I think, "Oh well, I'll do it in the morning". But then morning comes and I am so not hungry first thing in the morning. The last thing I feel like is food, and the thought of preparing food just makes me feel ill. So I leave it and think I'll be fine for the day and will have something when I get home after work. But then morning tea or lunch time rolls around and the hunger kicks in again along with cravings for all the yummy stuff that I shouldn't be eating and can't even really afford. I give in... just this one... last... time..... again.
I constantly assure my wife that I am trying to change my habits and that I'm cutting back during the day. Often, for a while, it's true. But then life seems to take over again and I keep thinking I'll try again tomorrow. "I will get there eventually" I tell myself.

I did really well for a while before I met my wife. I was on a very strict diet programme; one which actually involved no physical exercise what-so-ever. It was so hard to start with, but then I just started taking one day at a time. It wasn't too hard to find the time to prepare the food then either because I was self-employed, single and living at home with no rent to pay so no pressure to work long hours. In a mere 2 months I lost 20Kg! I felt great!
Then I met my wife and it just sort of all went out the window. It wasn't because I'd won her and no longer had to try; that wasn't it at all. I think it was more, in the early stages of a relationship you want to enjoy yourselves in each other's company. You discover that you have similar tastes in food and so you go out together and wine and dine together on your favourite things... alot! After all, they say the way to a persons heart is through his/her stomach. But then you get married, by which time you have developed a slightly more civil attitude towards things and you start to realise that things can't really continue the way they have been if you both want to live long and healthy lives. But then, because you're no longer single and living at home, you do have rent and expenses to pay, so you do have to get full time jobs to pay for everything. Life takes over, things get busy, you're exhausted at the end of the day and just want to vege and remember the good old times with your old friend, Mr Take-Aways. Then... along come kids. Game over.
It's all a matter of time and energy, neither of which I ever seem to have nearly enough of. I get so angry and frustrated with myself sometimes because I look at other people who all seem to be doing perfectly fine and I just can't understand how on earth they do it! Oh, and don't get me started on people who seem to live on junk food 24/7 and just simply never put on weight! AARG!

On top of the impending health issues that I am seriously setting myself up to face, food is quite simply damned expensive! We've been having a particularly rough year financially and we're scraping every cent we can from wherever we can to make ends meet; meanwhile my addiction to junk food is slowly tearing a hole in our back pockets! I never think of it as being such a lot of money at the time, but when my wife discovers the bank statements and starts going through them, pointing out a lunch here and a snack there and my over-powering addiction to Mountain Dew here and there and bloody everywhere, you very quickly realise that it all very slowly and gradually, over time, adds up to an absolute s*@#load of money! Imagine my popularity status around the house when this happens. Of course, I try to apologise and make all the usual promises that I will change and that things will be different… and I do absolutely mean it. I mean it every day when I tell it to myself as well, while I’m walking to the lunch bar for my “last ever binge”.

I do want to change my habits. I need to. Not just for my wife; not just to keep her happy and stop her going off at me every few months when she finds the bank statements. Of course, I absolutely love my wife and the last thing I would ever want to do is upset her. But, I need to do it for myself. I want to feel absolutely great again like I did after those 2 months of dieting. I need to do it for my kids. I need to be around for them in 30, 40, 50+ years time. I need for them to not be embarrassed being seen with me as they’re growing up. I need to have the energy to play and have fun with them and to love them the way a father should. And yes, I do also need to do it for my wife as well; so that she's not left alone as a solo parent to our kids with a huge mortgage over her head. So that she will have her husband in her life, so that we can grow old together.

The ridiculous thing is that, as I discovered 5 years ago, I am actually capable of losing weight a heck of a lot quicker than I gain it. Before I started my big diet all those years ago, I was 164Kg. I lost that 20Kg in 2 months, but then it look almost 5 years to put that same amount of weight back on. However, now the problem is accelerating. I can no longer weigh myself on our household bathroom scales because they only go up to 150Kg. Our local Chemist has a set that goes up to 200Kg, so now I weigh myself whenever I go in there to pick up a prescription. I weighed myself about 6 months ago and found that I was 168Kg. Now you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow! That’s pretty bad”. That got me thinking that it really was time for me to start doing something about it. Time’s flown by pretty quick since then, and the business and stress of life has continued to plague me. I had to go to the Chemist again to pick up another prescription just last week. What I haven’t told my wife yet… what she will discover when she reads this, is that I now weigh 174.5Kg. The heaviest that I have ever been in my life by 10Kg. This, from a guy who, in high school, vowed that he would never allow himself to exceed 100Kg.

I realise this probably all sounds like a big blame game. "Oh no, it's not my fault. It's life, business, time, lack of energy, etc". No, that's not what I'm trying to say at all either. Of course this is all my own fault. Yes, life is busy, but then so is everyones. I should have made the time. I should have found quick and easy, healthier alternatives to junk food years ago. I should have been more self-disciplined! I could even have made healthier choices when dating my wife too, instead of dragging her down into the pit of dispair with me. If I'd done that and stuck to a healthier life-style from the start, then the energy issue wouldn't even exist.

So, this is it! D-Day is here! Better late than never. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. No! Stuff it! This IS it! And it’s obvious that I simply can’t do this on my own. I need help and support. What can you do to help me? Throw recipes at me! I need quick and easy to prepare and cook meals that take no more than 30 minutes from the time I walk into the kitchen until I sit down to eat!

I already have rice risotto down pat, and mince with mixed vegetables (although I’m sure there are healthier options than that even). I need variety to keep things interesting and prevent me from getting bored with eating the same old stuff all the time. That was my one gripe with the diet I did before.

Please, if you have any good and healthy ideas, please lay them on me.

And for the record, no, this will not be a diet. Personally, I prefer not to do anything with the word "die" in it. And the worst thing about diets is that everyone else watches what you eat! No, this will be a life-style change. So any other suggestions you might have other than recipes will be greatly appreciated too.

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