Simple Steps 2…….

16 Mar


My interest went from piqued to intrigued after seeing that with a little effort a couple of my small but significant symptoms vanished but Christmas was approaching and knowing me I knew NOT to even attempt any promises of change just yet, Christmas was time to eat piles of cakes and have an excuse to drink from dawn to dusk!!

Then the wise wife mentioned something called “Dry January” No alcohol for a whole month! “Yeah No Problem….Easy!” so we signed up….

TRUTH? I was flapping big time! In the past 20 years barely a few days had passed without me being in some sort of altered state.

Christmas & New Year passed and it was time to start Dry January……GULP!

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The first week was mind numbingly tremendously difficult and at one point or another both Sam and I were purposely nasty to each other to try and goad each other into giving up and having a drink – we didn’t want to be the one that gave up but would have gladly had a drink if the other had got pissed off and thought “Stuff It”

The second week was a little easier and we planned on how absolutely and completely messed up drunk we were going to get on 1st February – All this time I had still carried on with my 2ltrs water and supplements as this had become habit, did it without thinking.

By the third week I noticed I seemed a bit more aware, a bit organised and a bit more cheerful – huh go figure, 3 weeks without some alcohol and I was surviving.

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End of January came and went – BLOODY NORA I didn’t fancy a drink, I had planned that upon finishing Dry January I would get mind blowingly drunk as soon as possible but I didn’t want to break my record.

For a low achiever to finish a simple task like not drinking alcohol for a month was yet another eye opener. I could complete these tasks, my confidence was growing.

We shared a bottle of Moet a couple of weeks later on Valentines day… get me! how civilised…..hahaha.

Lesson learned? I could cope without copious amounts of whiskey and wine in fact I coped better, decisions were made easier, problems overcome quicker and feeling chipper, no hangover all the time, no craving bad food for a few days after a binge – whoop whoop! I had found a way to again help me on my way to health and happiness. I decided to carry on with drinking less. I still drink today but every few weeks or at events, parties or holidays but not to excess. We did the same this year, did not drink from New Years Day to Valentines Day. We are currently trying to go March to June (My Birthday – All bets off!) without any alcohol.. Crazy Huh!!

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Dry January (which I genuinely believed I would fail) gave me such a psychological boost, it made me realise I could accomplish things if I just tried.

After the success of getting rid of the headaches and heartburn, increasing my water intake and now a whole 6 weeks with no alcohol I was emboldened – I had carried on listening, taking notes & growing my learning sphere but other than the water and basic gut supplementation had still not put this information into practice and nearly 4 months in I had lost hardly any weight as my diet had not changed at all.


I decided that for the rest of the year (2013) I was going to slowly change my bad habits, using the “simple principle” one bad thing at a time.

In the past I had tried the “Starvation” all or bust types of dieting, yes starvation!, ANY diet that restricts calories whilst promoting their own PRODUCTS is restricting and yes you will lose weight but its not healthy or sustainable to a vast majority of people.

You see everything I had been listening to and reading over the past few months was telling me that nutrition was personal, everyone was different so you have to find which type of eating suits your body best.

That is not as difficult as you may think, the baseline is the same for everyone then you just tweak fats, proteins or carbs up or down until you’re FEELING awesome and energetic then guess what?……….. your body will automatically set its weight and fat will literally strip away from you.

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The slimming clubs are all geared up to sell products and not lifestyle changes. You will lose weight at first, everyone will but that’s because your restricting calories but it will send your metabolism completely out of whack, slow it down after a while to protect vital systems, start breaking down muscle to save energy so yes weight loss but not healthy.

Sure the group aspect is great and the initial weight loss is too and for a small amount of people these types of plans will work long term but that is just because it so happens that this type of nutrition suits these small amount of people – who are then plastered in the magazines to promote the system – If these really were successful plans the companies would soon go out of business! They rely on you FAILING then returning for them be SUCCESSFUL!!!!

As for what I do now, all the information & recipes are FREE! <SHOCK> <HORROR>

You need nothing but time to implement it all. These multi million pound companies are not a conspiracy but they are protective of their profits as any business should be.

This goes back a few blogs to the YOYO dieting! If you have tried these plans and failed, please please do not blame yourself, your willpower or dedication – this just disempowers you – it means you’re one of the majority of people whose body is not geared up for Starvation – Me included, I can eat nearly 3000 calories a day with zero weight gain now!!!

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So, my bad food habits were colossal, in both number and portion size! I was going to keep it simple. I identified that a bulk of my snacking came from the garage forecourts I was delivering fuel too. I decided to cut out all the pies, crisps, coke, chocolate bars and sandwiches and eat what I liked for dinner (takeout or home cooked)

I joined a gym (AGAIN!! you know, I was once a member of 2 gyms at the same time, paying out over £150 per month and NEVER going – ooopsy ) but the same as the dieting it had been all or nothing, I joined a gym, went hell for leather for a month, 4 times a week then missed a week then went once a week then once a fortnight blah blah blah – This time I only promised myself that I would go to the gym once a fortnight and do stuff to try and give me back a bit of mobility – no real plan as such.

So back to the snacks, this might seem like quite a big thing to do all at once but really I only made one big purchase a day – a carrier bag full of goodies for the day – about £16.00 worth so it would only be ceasing to do that – I would still allow myself a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps but compared to what I was having it was fine. Ideal? Nope don’t be daft far from optimal but a little better than before. I had to address the issue of food, I was hungry, a lot! So with long shifts, What would I eat?

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In the past on many occasions I have been told “I have all the gear but no idea” Lol and never a truer statement be told…. I used to throw myself into all new fangled ideas, spend a boat load of money on new stuff, gadgets, books whatever then never use it. I decided to use this skill to further my health….

My first and probably my best purchase ever was my 6 Pack Fitness lunchbox from a company I heard about on a podcast. It has 5 chilled compartments and a section on top for supplements.


Looking a bit like a carry on case it was a touch embarrassing and got quite a bit of notice from the lads at work! A locker room full of hairy ass lorry drivers taking the piss every morning builds character I can tell you!! Not known for our attention spans though a few weeks later they moved on to other things and later on when my weight loss started happening it sparked interest as they couldn’t believe the amount of food I was bringing in yet still losing weight.

The plan was to make sure I had so much food with me that I always had something I could snack on – I had 5 lunch boxes inside my “carry on case” and starting to implement things I had heard and read over the past few months. With lots of steamed veg with BUTTER melted and mixed in, meat and eggs, banana, apple, orange and a jar with some Nutella mixed with nuts and sultanas to curb my sweet tooth; not ideal but better (see the theme) Ideal will come much further down the road – I am still not ideal yet but enjoying the journey baby…..

I could still have a takeout if I liked, so I was never too far from a “treat” telling myself, ooh I will have a kebab, pizza, fish & tattys, pie ‘n’ mash or Chinese tonight helped me just stick to my lunch box grub during the day.


I also decided to knock whiskey on the head for a while, I loooove whiskey. Its the one drink I really enjoy but drink it like water so decided it was my special drink – I was going to save it for special occasions. I was also going to limit myself to 1 bottle of red wine a week. I had done 6 weeks with zero so knew I could easy cope with this, though without Dry January I would never have attempted it!

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“Small Incremental Changes”  – I was moving, making slightly better decisions and would make no more promises to myself until I had all of the above moved into habit. Whether that took 6 months, 1 year whatever – no pressure, no time limit – impossible to fail so all good for the ego and confidence. Please note that I am still not really concerned about weight – still just trying to be healthier not necessarily lighter!

In the past I’d had all the tuna pasta low fat shit, Weight Watchers & Slimming World snacks purchased by the box load from meetings, I’d had Slim Fast shakes, meal replacement shakes, low fat ready meals, salads, raw veg, soups & rice cake cardboard tasting crap that meant after a couple of days you would see me treat myself with my beloved jelly babies or throwing it all in the bin and popping in the truck stop.

Not This Time : I wasn’t doing it all at once and by ensuring I had plenty of tasty food in my lunch box EVERYTIME I felt hungry…..naaaaaa naaaa naaaaaaaaaaaa I ATE!

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The food in my carry on case was all cooked in butter & coconut oil and tasted out of this frickin world and knowing I could have take outs, a home-made pudding each day and a bottle of wine a week meant I coped with my “Stage 1” approach quite easily.

I still craved the crap when I saw them on the shelves but it was easier to resist knowing it was never that far till I could have a treat at home or gorge on food in my lunch box.

crash kapow

Week 1 – 9lb weight loss

Week 2 – 6lb weight loss

Just over a stone in 2 weeks – WTF!!!! I was still eating kebabs, I was still drinking wine, I was still eating pudding and I was still having either a packet of crisps or a choccy bar a day! I was more than a little confused I can tell you, I wasn’t expecting any weight loss for a few months until I had changed quite a few more things but here I was a stone lighter in 2 weeks…..again WTF!!

I had seen this type of weight loss before in my previous escapades but by seriously restricting my diet, being miserable and dreaming of all the bad crap I couldn’t eat whilst tucking into a dry rice cake but all I had started doing was adding healthier foods cooked in FATS.

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So here I was still eating these bad things although much less than before – I was finding that as I was eating every 90min to 2 hours that I never got that hungry and by proxy purchased less and less snacks and when I had takeout my appetite was seriously decreased – I was starting to leave stuff half eaten as I was full (I think it was body telling me it no longer wanted this shit)

I, without thinking about it stopped eating bread, I never intended to at first but I stopped buying the sandwiches then slowly stopped having toast and sandwiches at home. Bread just shouldn’t be in your diet anyway, read up on gluten, whether your sensitive or not. It is being linked to all sorts of illnesses and generally is just rubbish, your body receives NO nutrients from gluten so worth considering – its a big commitment which I’m still not ready to face just yet but by removing bread and cereals it seriously reduces intake.

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I started to somehow feel different, I wasn’t napping throughout the day, I was more cheerful, more helpful and much more even tempered. I was losing weight sure but subtly my whole demeanour was changing.

Was food actually changing my whole attitude, aptitude and dare I say it my personality???? It would seem so..

I started to keep a diary with foods I had eaten (NOT calorie counting) and at the end of each day I would score myself between 1 and 10 on mood and food. Weirdly over the next couple of months I could directly correlate a low mood score to a low food score 2 days previous….pause for thought huh?


This intrigued me even more, seeing on paper that when I have a day eating crappy food then a couple of days later I have a bad mood, low willpower and low energy – Coincidence? I thought so but when the pattern emerges time and time again it made me wonder.

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It was after about 10 weeks I had lost just over 2 stone when in my mind it all came crashing down around me!

I was in the kitchen talking to Sam when BAM the lights went out – I hit the floor hard, poor Sam tried to catch me but it was like a love-bird trying to stop a charging hippo…. at least she says she did, I still think she twatted me with a frying pan.. lol

I was panicking I was scrabbling at the counters trying to stand but every time I started to stand my legs buckled and down I went – I was petrified!!!

Hospital beckoned, again!


Was this it? My health quest over? I was trying to become healthier and lighter and had nothing but positives until now. I thought everything was going good, I was making better decisions and here I was unable to stand, passing out and scared to death – what had I done? All my negativity came rushing back – I really was destined to be poorly… I returned immediately to my previous mindset – Every thing had gone wrong!

Or Had It?

PMSL Sorry about the Danger Mouse type ending but just could not help myself <giggle>

Next : My Worst Fears Confirmed!


Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Main Story


4 responses to “Simple Steps 2…….

  1. Colin Champion

    March 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Brilliant Den enjoyed reading it

  2. Michaela

    March 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Loved reading this! It’s great because it’s so easy to relate to! I have even looked at the six pack lunch boxes as think they are a great idea, bloody expensive but if they work well worth the money! Looking forward to reading more Dennis, keep it coming!

    • Den

      March 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you – To be honest the bags made it possible to ensure I always kept nice prepared grubbage close to hand – It keeps it cool all day, mine sits on the passenger seat of my lorry from 4am and everything is still chilled and fresh when I snack around 4pm. They are expensive, maybe there is another company that does something similar.

  3. Lesley Barker

    March 18, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Excellent work Dennis! Love reading this, next bit,now pleaseeeee! Doing great xxxx


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