When we moved to Cyprus in September 2018, I was, by my standards, pretty trim. To put my standards into perspective, “pretty trim” was still, technically, “obese.” Everything is relative, I guess.

Heavy me is 125kg. Portly me is 115kg. Pretty trim me is 105kg. Skinny me is 95kg. This is my own personal scale. According to the Body Mass Index, I should be targeting 80kg. Anything more and I’m overweight, apparently. Right now, I’m 113, on my way down towards pretty trim, (Christmas notwithstanding)!

Now, should I ever reach 95, I’ll start thinking about whether 80 would suit me, but, baby steps. I know there is some contention about BMI, but for my own purposes, I suspect, it’s a pretty good guide. Certainly, the medics and I can agree that two-digit kg is better for me than three-digit kg.

If I want to be 99, how come I was 125?

I am not a Doctor, nor a nutritionist. I have no view on anyone’s weight but my own. That said:

Things I was doing, pushing my weight up, in no particular order:

  • Eating too much
  • Drinking too much
  • Eating the wrong stuff
  • Drinking the wrong stuff
  • Not moving enough

I was last skinny me in the nineties. I was living in Central Europe, partying hard. I ate out twice a day, and was in the pub every night. Gradually getting bigger and less fit. Unknowingly, I set patterns that remain with me now, 30 years later.

I smoked like the proverbial chimney. This probably did suppress my appetite somewhat, but it also contributed to my need to constantly be consuming something. I had several default states. Smoking, drinking, eating, or sleeping. At times, I smoked three packs a day.

On the 27th of January 2014, I quit smoking. Right there, I began a chain of events that will see skinny me return next year. I had no idea that was the case. I just knew that smoking would kill me, unless I stopped.

I did. Doing so, gave me an immense sense of agency, and a realisation that I could do anything. Grandiose, I know, but true. I never believed I could quit smoking. I loved it. Why would I quit? We all die of something, don’t we? When I did quit, I realised how powerful habits are, and how I had conditioned myself to do all the wrong things with enthusiasm.

When the nicotine cravings came, I got up and walked. Around the block. The craving passed, and I found the short stroll made me feel calmer. Less anxious. I started walking more. In 2016, my great friend Stu suggested we might go for a very, very, long walk. Walking is a huge part of my life now.

Did I lose weight? Nope. I would go for a long walk, and feel good about a three course lunch with a bottle of wine, or two. It’s desperately unfair, but I am capable of consuming vast amounts of calories, far more than I could ever hope to burn through exercise.

To lose weight, I need to address the “calories in” side of the equation. For that, I have a secret weapon: Mrs L.

Next week, losing weight.