Losing Mo Farah

Yesterday I hit the goal weight I set myself last year. I wasn’t expecting to. I came in from a show I’d done locally, it was a late one and I just wanted to get into my pyjamas, pour myself a large gin and wind down. I stripped off, stepped on the scales and there it was: 18st 6lbs. I’d made it, I’d lost 7 stone (or 100lbs or 45 kg if you’re on the fun side of the ocean) in just under 12 months. The Olympic gold medallist Mo Farrah, winner of both the 5000m and 10,000m not to mention champion of Quorn, is 7 stone.

This time last year I’d been 25st 6lbs (356lbs), preparing to get married to the woman of my dreams and hating how I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t in control of my body, the very idea of it was a crazy concept, up there with becoming a harmonica playing teen pop star or the economy not crumbling once we left the EU. Now here I am having lost 25% of myself, like a lizard escaping a predator only I was running from cake.

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(A year apart, photo on right by the incredibly talented Michelle Huggleston)

This is how I did it, why I did it and what happens next.

First off losing weight is hard. I do not wake up every day, weigh myself and find that I’m a stone lighter than I was the day before because I binge watched the new series of Orange is the New Black while pounding cream filled doughnuts into my mouth and washing them down with litres of cola mixed with melted Ben and Jerry’s, that doesn’t happen. Losing weight is hard. However if someone out there reads this and the whole Ben and Jerry’s thing has worked for them please get in touch because a) I want to go into business with you and b) I miss the taste of ice cream.

Secondly I have huge restrictions on my diet. There’s two whole categories of food I can’t eat, there’s an entire meal course that I now consider hostile territory, certain parts of supermarkets I have forbidden myself to enter.

Thirdly I am obsessed. I weigh myself multiple times a day to see how exercise and food affects me, I think about it constantly and I need constant reassurance from my wife that she will not leave me for a larger man. I am obsessed. Weight loss has replaced an entire part of my brain that was previously filled with interesting hobbies, alright maybe not interesting but they occupied my brain long enough to stop me thinking of my inevitable death and the ever present entropy of the universe. In no way is this obsession healthy but the other option is me getting so big they’d have to cut the front of my house off to get the lifting helicopter in and I’d lose my security deposit.

Let’s start with the basics:

  1. No carbs
  2. No sugars
  3. No alcohol
  4. No sweeteners
  5. 3 hours of exercise every day

I already know what you’re thinking “you said you couldn’t wait to pour yourself a large gin, gin’s an alcohol, what are you holding back Purchase?! Is your real secret gin?!” and my reply is “No, I wish. Though gin can aid in weight loss if it’s all you’re consuming. In fact you’ll lose 100% of your weight when your liver bursts, you die, freed from the mortal coil and left to float around as 10 watts of electricity. That’s a different diet known as the ‘my life has fallen apart’ plan”. The real truth is I don’t follow all the rules all the time. Life is long and blocking some of the joy you might feel in it is stupid, if I want a slice of cake or a large whiskey I’ll have it, I just won’t eat two whole cakes and a litre of Jamesons. That’s what Christmas day is for.

Here’s the diet this is mostly based on – Link  – but really it’s bits of lots of different things that make sense and have been repeated in any weight loss literature.

Also forget the bullshit the government funded in the 60s, doctors recommended smoking and amphetamines back then so unless you want your diet to be clubbing in Ibiza during the 90s the information isn’t relevant.

1. No carbs

Carbohydrates, carbs, Los Carbodiablos, Carboroneys. The filler of the culinary world. Carbs are the things you use to pick up and hold real food, they are the profit margins at any restaurant and they are food you can make by pouring a boiled kettle into a plastic tub. You eat way too many of them. Victorians used to eat an entire loaf of bread each every day, Americans add sugar to them because diabetes is too slow on it’s own. Strictly speaking it’s not no carbs, it’s low carbs. You can’t really have zero carbs without hating everything about your life and starting to have dreams about bread, the toast nightmares still haunt me. What you’re looking for is not eating any food with over 6g per 100g of carbohydrates or 6%, that’s it. Don’t eat bread, rice, pasta, cake, waffles, pancakes or quinoa.

Replace the carb part of your meal with protein or vegetables. As long as you’re not eating carbs or refined sugar you can eat as much natural fat as possible. Meats and cheeses are your friends now, you can deep fry the shit out of most meals as long as you use natural fats like coconut oil or lard. Yes I said lard.

2. No sugars

Sugar, the devil’s marching powder, child cocaine. Followers of Kali in the cult of Thuggee would kill entire villages of innocent people for a spoonful of it just like the children at a soft play area. You can’t avoid it, your body needs it but you control where you get it from. “Where can I get it from Chris?!” I hear you cry “You’re so handsome and strong” oh stop it you. Vegetables and tiny amounts of fruit you get it from veg. Eat veg. Veg. Veg. Don’t eat biscuits, chocolate, sweets, jelly, cake pops, any sweet drinks or edible underwear. You don’t need it, it doesn’t do anything for your body, it makes you feel like crap, you’re worth more than crap. Eat fruit but really limited amounts. Eating fruit will slow any weight loss down. Vegetables are much more nutritious than fruit and you can get most of what you need from them, if you want fruit eat berries as they’re the best of the bunch (PUN INTENDED)

CRAVINGS – At this point we should talk about cravings. Giving up carbs and sugar will make you hate yourself for months. Advice books and dieting professionals say it’s weeks which is absolute bullshit. The cravings will last for months, you have to push through it. It’s awful. The first few weeks you’ll have headaches, tiredness and loss of memory, it’s super fun. Once you get through all that you’ll sleep better, fit into more clothes and discover that foods have flavour beyond sweet or not sweet.

3. No alcohol

Come on seriously? You want me to explain this? Just do what everyone does up until the point you discovered that you were tall and menacing enough to be able to pass for 18 and don’t drink alcohol. You can have clear spirits like vodka and gin but I found it slowed the process. I find sometimes this rule needs to be broken as life is a never ending procession of idiots testing your patience so sometimes you’ll get home from work and someone will have been a dick at the office or you’ve been stuck in traffic or you met your ex and they’re doing better than you or it’s a Tuesday so you just need a strong double followed by a stronger double and an exceedingly long sigh. That sigh weighs 3lbs, sometimes gin is the only way to get it out of you.

Also drink a fuckload of water, your body loses weight quicker the more water you drink. Don’t drink more than 4 litres a day though or you’ll drown yourself.

4. No sweeteners.

Aspartame is cancer, don’t put it in your body. I know it’s an obvious thing to say but people still smoke. This one isn’t in any of the diets I’ve read but it’s something I found helped. You’re going to crave sugar so badly that actual medical professionals compare it to heroin addiction, there will be times that if someone hands you a baby and that baby smells of icing sugar you’ll have to stop yourself from licking it. Your first thought is to replace the sugar with sweeteners, DON’T. All you’re doing when you sub in sweeteners is prolonging your sugar addiction, you’re making yourself want sugar for longer. Best thing to do is just tear off that plaster, arm hairs and all, by going cold turkey. Sweeteners have also been linked to causing diabetes as they do shit to your body that sugar does but then you don’t get the sugar so your body over produces insulin. Yay.

You don’t need them. Eat parsnips, they taste like gingerbread when deep fried.

5. 3 hours of exercise every day

This sounds extreme. In your head you’re seeing an exercise regime to rival any body builder, athlete or Marvel film star. You don’t even know what the machines you need to use are called or what they do but damn do they look scary. 3 hours a day! Some of us with children don’t even sleep that much! 3 hours! 180 minutes!? Impossible!

You know what I do? I walk everywhere. I walk 8 miles a day. That’s pretty much it. Other than some stomach exercises because I want that to shrink faster that’s it. Walking. Find the time now or die earlier.

Increase the fat

Right well this sounds wrong but it’s an important part of what I do to lose weight. I eat a lot of natural fat rich foods. If I want a snack I’ll have clotted cream, we have full fat milk, lots of butter, basically anything that Gillian McKeith hates I now eat. For this to work you need to increase your natural fat intake, this is harder for vegetarians but there are options available to you. Your meals should be vegetables, proteins and fats. Also nuts, eat nuts.

Right that’s it, you’ve got the info I’ve got. Go forth and subtract, or not, up to you really.

Why I did it

I’ve been big my whole life. Up until the age of 25 my weight matched my age. I come from a family where eating is seen as a replacement for feeling, every occasion is marked with a meal and over indulgence. It’s your birthday, you eat cake! It’s Christmas, we have 15 boxes of chocolates and a table full of food for 3 people! It’s Tuesday and you’re feeling a little sad so here’s an entire pizza, 30 mozzarella sticks and a tube of cookie dough. It was so ingrained into me that I replaced everything with eating. Sad, happy, disappointed, bored, everything. It defined me. Also it held me back. When you’re 25 stone you’re at the point where either you’re happy with who you are and that’s great or you’ve given up and you don’t care what happens to your body. Guess which one I was. My body wasn’t my own, it was a thing my mind lived in and I assumed it would kill me some day. When I got married last year I was the biggest I’d ever been, the wedding was perfect and I was the happiest I have ever been in my life but when I looked at the photos I was disappointed in myself. That wedding was my future all in one day but if I wasn’t careful I wasn’t going to be there to experience all of it. It’s terrifying to have the perfect family and think about them at your funeral, I was doing that while looking at the happiest day of my life.

It wasn’t just that though. 3 seperate agents had said how I looked was preventing them from signing me. They all said exceedingly similar things “Your material is excellent, your stage presence is great but we just can’t sign you looking like that” and of course when I got that rejection I would get sad and eat a packet of biscuits.

Also food is an addiction, the way I was using it was an addiction. Food was escapism as much as drugs or alcohol or sex is for other people. I wasn’t facing my problems, I was eating them and the more problems I ate the more they piled up. The only thing that can be solved by eating it is getting caught with marijuana when a policeman pulls you over.

Since I started this I’ve slept better, thought faster, been more active, been so much happier and focused. My relationships have got better, I’m more positive. I don’t think it’s because of the things I’m eating, I think it’s because I’ve taken control. Like a younger brother finally being accepted by his older sibling with a Nintendo, I’m in control.

Also I can now buy clothes in normal shops. Going from a 4XL and 44 waist to an XL and 34 waist means I can now order things online, I get why you thin people talk about shopping so much, when you’re not choosing from either a giant black tshirt or a giant dark blue tshirt your world opens up. I totally get sales now!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

I’m going to try and get down to 16 stone. It’s an arbitray number but as I haven’t been 16 stone since I got my provisional driving license it’d be lovely. Also my wife has told me that I’m not allowed to be any smaller than 16 stone, it’s already a little jarring for her to be able to get her arms around me it would be traumatic if she could lift me up and carry me up the stairs when I fell asleep on the sofa.

 

I am not the man I was when I started this, mathematically I’m 25% less than the man I was but mentally I’m 150% of who I was. I still doubt myself, I still fail, I still berate myself even when I’m succeeding but I don’t hold it over myself like the sword of Damocles but made of cake. I am more confident, I feel like I’m worth something and finally I feel like I look good. Last week my wife asked me if I thought I was ugly and I said yes I did, she was surprised because she didn’t think that anyone thought they were ugly. I thought I was ugly and it was something that came between me and the world, it was a grudge I held. Now I get it, now I feel like the guy I am in my head. I worked hard at this and it shows on my face.

Which makes a change from it being custard.

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Why it’s fashionable to blame the victim

Do you know how I personally know that society defaults to victim blaming rather than attitude adjustment? Because there’s a million adverts on TV for weight loss products but not a single advert for a self help book on tolerance.

Out of all the topics involved with victim blaming right now that is the least newsworthy but, as a fat white dude, it is the only one I’ve experienced personally. People shout things from cars, they make snide backhanded comments and they call me an “Unfunny fat fuck” which is both alliterative and accurate as I am more passionate and less hilarious in my lovemaking.

I realise that being overweight doesn’t necessarily make me a victim, doughnuts don’t hurl themselves into my mouth when I stroll down bakery aisles. I’m not assaulted in darkened alley ways by two men who hold me down and pour buttercream into my mouth. But people don’t know why I’m big, do I have a thyroid problem? Am I diabetic? Is this an allergic reaction to unexpected aggression? They don’t know.

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(and they don’t want to come out from under their bridge long enough to find out)

Yesterday I asked what people thought was the cause in the rise of food bank use, I was looking for a reason beyond “The government”. What I was hoping for was a way we could look at it and say “it wasn’t this specific government, it would have happened under any government” what I got was justification for this article. Here’s my favourite answer:

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That’s right you heard it here first, the reason people use foodbanks more now is because more people donate food! ALTRUISM IS THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING! Last year I saw people commenting that the rise in social housing was causing the housing crisis, UKIP supporters were claiming that immigrants cause racism because without immigrants there wouldn’t be anyone to be racist to.

And who could forget the age old classic “Well what did you expect to happen going out dressed like that?!”

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(Well if you’re going to walk around with your back to people, you’ve got to expect someone to put a few bullets in it haven’t you?)

It’s a strange way of thinking but the more I dwell on it the more I get it. People’s first reaction whenever anything bad happens is to find someone to blame for it. It’s a base evolutionary instinct adapted, inadequately, to modern day situations. As cave people we would see a problem and find a solution, the problem wouldn’t be with ourselves as that was something we could fix immediately. We die because we leave our cave, ok so it’s that tiger killing us as we leave, right we need to kill the tiger. Our ability to see problems and solve them accordingly is why we evolved into the virus like mammals we are.

So cut to today and people see problems in the world around them, problems they’re not directly responsible for causing. Take the rise in food banks, your average person hasn’t cut anyone’s wages or sanctioned anyone’s benefits, they haven’t shut down a hospital or personally forced a person into a life of addiction. What they see is a problem that they haven’t manufactured. They look at the people they do relate to and think “If I didn’t cause that problem they couldn’t have either because I didn’t” it’s a very straightforward way of thinking, almost computer like in it’s logical progression

I am like this

Those people are suffering

Those other people are like me

They aren’t causing the suffering because I am not causing the suffering

I don’t identify with the people who are suffering

The people who are suffering must be causing their own suffering or they wouldn’t be suffering

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And that’s how easy it is to blame a victim. All that needs to happen is for the person to not identify with the victim, that’s all it takes.

We all do it too. The examples I’ve used are extreme prejudices and situations but how many of us have seen someone get a parking ticket and thought “well you deserved that” not knowing the situation, how many of us have seen a mother screaming at her children in the street and thought “she’s a terrible mother” rather than “Maybe she just needs someone to help” we’ve all done it because as soon as we can’t identify with that person’s suffering we’re numb to it. We have to be, our inner caveperson screams at the tiger outside the cave.

It’s a terrible problem right now. I could go on and on about what’s happened in a Tory Britain, about injustices and horror stories but really I’d either be preaching to the choir or fuelling the fires of animosity. Either way you know the story. Working class people vote Tory because they WANT to identify with them, they want to be rich and successful and have everything. Rich people vote Tory because it’s in their best interest to. Both aspects of those two society cross sections don’t identify with the suffering they see on TV. Why would they? They haven’t experienced it and they’ve worked hard their whole life, everyone else must have had the same opportunity to have that same life right?

Victim blaming has become the sociological norm. No matter what we think we still, as a planet, vote in the people who have the potential to cause the most damage. Labour are suggesting free school meals for every child and the only thing the right can respond to it with is “where’s the money coming from for that?!” but the Conservatives have given tax cuts to corporations, in practise rather than just policy, and funded full on wars without the right so much as suggesting maybe spending £80,000 on one missile is a crazy expenditure and don’t you think we should clear down some of our credit cards before we go shopping again darling? I know you love those shoes but we really should think about making housing affordable again, oh you know what I could never say no to you, you can have second houses for every minister rather than just getting them to Skype into any important debates they should have a presence at, we don’t need free healthcare anyway.

The fact that this viewpoint is becoming more prolific shows a shift backwards, a survival instinct kicking in as we feel the world shifting. Maybe if we stopped worrying about the tiger outside the cave so much we’d notice the one inside here with us.

Poppies

Poppies. Wear a poppy, don’t wear a poppy, that’s up to you. If I don’t wear one assume it’s because:
 
– I had one and lost it
– Don’t have one and don’t want one
– Am afraid to align myself with people using it for racist political agendas
– Had an opium addiction that I beat and the sight of poppies reminds me of all the times I sucked a stranger’s dick in an alley for just one more hit
– My father was killed by a poppy and I still haven’t got my revenge
– It’s on another jacket
– It’s in my pocket because this is an expensive jacket
– I’m allergic
– I only give to charities who advertise with cute animals
 
Pick any one of those reasons, think it in your head then react accordingly, again in your head. Whatever you choose with poppies is your decision and much like same sex marriage no one else’s business.
 
Let people do what they want, it’s a poppy.

Motivating myself

I have a million things to do today. That’s hyperbole, I have about 16 things to do today but really if I really thought about it I could make it up to a million. I mean if I really thought about it I could break down any of the things I have to do into composite parts and eventually get to a million things to do today but with a greater sense of achievement as I accomplished minuscule goals like “put foot into sock” score “put foot into shoe” boom “tie up shoe” fuck I am rocking my to do list today.

So I have 16 things to do today and I know I have to do them before the kids get home, as soon as our girls are home I won’t get anything done and I love it. I’m not going to pretend that I hate them being here because it stops me from doing the things I need to I LOVE HAVING AN EXCUSE. “Chris why didn’t you do that admin?” ah man I had to play Boggle with my kids. Bummer I know I would have loved to have finished that admin, you know there’s nothing I love more than endless excel spreadsheets but if I don’t play boardgames with my kids then they might grow up to be serial killers and that would just be irresponsible, do you want more serial killers? No? I thought not.

I am the king of procrastination. Even now I’m sat here writing this when I should be writing material for shows.

Next week we’ve got three big shows see here so I’m doing a bunch of PR and rejigging material for them but also I’ll be restarting my Let’s Save the World podcast and booking the acts for our next year of shows. I want to get as many people involved with all of that as possible so sign up for updates on the front page (if you haven’t already) to get updates about all the amazing things coming up

Being too social

First off sorry about the lack of blogging, there are now over 5000 (closer to 10,000 including all the other places this goes) of you and it’s ridiculous for me to leave it months without updating. I will be rectifying that. Thank you to everyone that’s hung on though, I’ll make sure it’s worth it.

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(worth it, right?)

Secondly a confession. I am a social media whore. I have a hole inside me that can only be filled by sharing my whole world with friends, family and complete strangers. What this has done is severely reduced my productivity (NO WAY! SPENDING TIME NOT WORKING IS REDUCING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY!? WHAT IN THE HELL?!). I’m not the only one, people the world over waste time on the countless forms of social media just clicking through the same 3 pages hoping for notifications to pop up of people interacting with their cat photos and undereducated semi political messages

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(#jesuislettuce)

There have been countless studies on it, many of them funded by the platforms themselves in order to find out how to keep people on those very sites, and they all come to the same conclusion: we are lonely.

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(nothing good happened in this picture, everything about this photo tells me the story ends with a phonecall and crying)

We want to reach out and find people who like the same things as us, people who can define us as individuals as well as providing us with the comfort of a herd. It’s hard to know who you really are in a vacuum (MAINLY DUE TO THE NOISE, AM I RIGHT?! *HIGH FIVES*) so to have a large group of people constantly able to tell you that yes you are right dirty foreigners should go home to their own country or no you shouldn’t have to work for a living, everything should be right there on a plate for you means that you can say “That’s who I am! I am a lazy, entitled, racist!” it’s not great but at least you know. No one likes uncertainty

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(well some people do, some people use it to cement their position but then I’m using the term people loosely)

and that’s the main problem with social media, it can be a great tool for communication and spreading the word or getting behind a cause but mostly it’s a catalyst for narcissism and rampant paranoia.  Even this post is a massive display of arrogance and self importance, what do you care about a fat guy who’s trying to distance himself from social media? You don’t! Or rather you shouldn’t because really all we’re doing is creating little groups of people all thinking they’re right then being completely surprised that there’s other people with different ideas. We’re isolating ourselves.

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(and we all know how that turns out, Pauly Shore cries himself to sleep every night)

and that isolation is a terrible thing. Just days ago was the 2 year anniversary of Robin Williams suicide, as I’ve said on here before Robin is the reason I do comedy and it hit me hard. Whenever anyone takes their own life it’s a terrible thing, it means that person can see no other future ahead except pain and they don’t want it. I tried it once, spoiler alert: I failed, and only by talking about it did I get over it. Talking is a great tool for getting over depression so here’s a video of me talking about it so other people can feel like it’s ok to talk about it Talking about suicide but with jokes

But it can go the other way, people reach out and no one reaches back or even worse people think it’s ok to abuse other people because it makes them feel better, this in turn isolates the person being bullied further. Again this has become the majority of interaction over and above supportive messages on social media which just goes to prove that if you leave humans with any kind of wonderous new discovery they’ll find a way to be an asshole with it.

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(hey guys I’ve got this thing that makes the food taste better and means we don’t get poisoned by it, it makes it hot, what are you doing guys? GUYS?!)

Really what I’m saying is I’m pulling out of most of social media unless it’s to interact with people who want to come to a show. That does mean I’ll have more time to make shit and update this so hurray to anyone who cares. It’s easy to get lost in the great echo chamber and as Jean-Paul Sartre gets famously misquoted on “Hell is other people”

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(proof)

Brexit and other tasty breakfast treats

Brexit, the stupid name given to a decision we shouldn’t have to make. I know a lot of people will disagree with me and suggest that this is a great example of democracy and to those people I say “WE AS A COUNTRY CAN NOT BE TRUSTED! WE VOTED IN THE TORIES!”. I’m not saying we’re all stupid and don’t know what’s best for us, I’m saying there is solid evidence that we’re stupid and don’t know what’s best for us.

I’ve said this all before on a video so rather than reading words on a page watch and listen to them fall out of my mouth like cake crumbs at an 11 year old’s birthday party I managed to sneak in to:

Essentially I’m saying vote Remain but only because we don’t want to give any more power to people who have proven that the only thing they do with it is make their friends richer and the vulnerable deader.

Also to lighten the mood here’s some jokes I wrote to offer as a sacrifice to you guys for all the posts I haven’t made in the last year, this is being rectified and you can expect to see a regular blog here again.

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(Thanks to Richard Wood for taking those great photos of me at Cardiff Glee)

SOLO SHOW NEWS!!

After a sell out run of work in progress shows at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival I’m now performing my solo show “Distant” for real at the Lichfield Garrick Theatre on Saturday March 5th. I’m so damn excited about it because this is a show about things I believe in, it’s counter culturalism at it’s best and I fully intend to change some minds. As I said we had a run of sell out dates in Leicester so would love to fill the theatre on March 5th.

I wrote this show as a reaction to where I was a year ago and how far I felt that was from where I wanted to be. Now I’m closer to that, saying things that I feel matter instead of just empty distractions. If you like intelligent comedy, sticking it to the man, the word “fuck” or just a fat guy who’s passionate about change then you should come.

Grab tickets here – Ticket link

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