Saturday, February 05, 2005


When You Gain Weight, Life Can Pass You By

It was the morning after St Patrick’s Day in Cork, and Mary woke up feeling like death. Her head was splitting, her stomach felt bloated and her whole body ached. Then she remembered what she had eaten and drunk over the past few days and instantly felt worse.

She staggered to the bathroom and stood on the scales. ‘My God!’ she said, in disbelief. She was thirteen stone: the heaviest she had ever been! She looked at her face in the mirror. Her eyes were puffy, her skin was blotchy and red, and her double-chin was bigger than ever. She turned away in despair. What was to become of her?

She grabbed a baggy trousers and top to cover herself and went downstairs to look for the indigestion tablets. She didn’t find the tablets. Instead she came face to face with the curdled left-overs of two Chinese takeaways and a pile of empty beer cans.

Putting her stomach on hold, Mary cleared away, cooked some breakfast, got the kids up for school, cleaned their shoes, made their sandwiches, organised her husband and fed the cat. By nine thirty, she had the house to herself. Utterly exhausted, she sat down with a cup of tea and a magazine.

Unfortunately, looking at the magazine just made things worse. Why? Because it was full of lovely slim women wearing lovely clothes: the sort of clothes that Mary craved but knew she could never wear because she was too fat. After a few minutes she put the magazine down and sighed a long sigh.

What was to become of her? She was 40 years old, thirteen stone and life was gradually passing her by. She felt embarrassed by her figure, too awkward to go out, and she was too tired to do anything. Even worse, there was precious little romance in her life and her "romance" was almost non-existent.

She tried to put these gloomy thoughts aside but her mind wouldn’t let her. If she weighed thirteen stone today, what would she weigh this time next year? Fourteen stone? Fifteen stone? She shuddered at the thought, but she knew it was true. After all, if anyone had told her that she would be thirteen stone at 40, she would have laughed and said: ‘I’m never going to be that big!’ But here she was: thirteen stone and rising.

But what could she do? Dieting was no good: she’d tried that lots of times and it never worked. Besides, she knew she was too fond of herself to give up chocolate, coleslaw and all the other nice things that made her life bearable.

So how could she get her weight under control?

Then, just as she was feeling really sorry for herself, she suddenly thought of something: wasn’t there a piece of apple tart left over from last night? She opened the fridge and there it was! She wolfed it down and immediately felt better. She’d get another one, later, she decided.

And so she did. In fact, over the next twelve months, Mary ate a lot more apple tarts, sausage rolls, takeaways and bars of chocolate. Sure enough, the next St Patrick’s Day, she was fifteen stone!

The moral? Don’t be a Mary! Don’t let life pass you by! Get yourself a sensible diet, give yourself six months, and get rid of that extra weight you’re carrying. Why bother? Because you’ll feel a hundred times better! Can anyone do it? Yes, they can! The truth is, whether you are thirteen stone or twenty stone, you can slim down to whatever weight you want to be.

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