Monday, August 16, 2010

Fashion Victims

Like the discarded heroes of Toy Story 3, for years my Size 34 jeans had been lying neglected at the bottom of a dark drawer, underneath the unworn jogging shorts. Yesterday I yanked them into the sunlight.

It’s been almost two months since I started my diet. Shamed into action by a trip to Thin City – Los Angeles – I embarked on a weight loss programme by Dr Pierre Dukan (whom I call Dukant, because that seems to be his sole mantra).

My aim was to lose 22 pounds by next Saturday, when a photographer is coming to take a family portrait. This was a clever Father’s Day gift from my wife, who knows full well that I wouldn’t want my lardy lines immortalized forever in a photo.

So began the protein-only nightmare that I’ve been summarising in my other blog With less than a week to go, I can happily report that I am just a couple of fat-free yoghurts away from my target.

I’ve lost over 20 pounds in 7 weeks: I started at 15 stone 5 pounds, but I’m now exactly 14 stone. Compared to a premier league footballer I’m still more Lurpak than six-pack, but, apart from the evidence of my bathroom scales, the tangible proof is the four inches that have disappeared from my waistline. The result: nothing fits.

So this week I’ve been searching out the clothes I carefully stored away when I finally admitted defeat in the battle of the bulge. I didn’t officially graduate from size 34 until 2005, though I should have done so ten years before. Since then, the girls in the jeans shops have looked at me disbelievingly when I demanded 36. They were right: it’s amazing how tight you can pull a belt when your waistline hangs over the top. Forever in denial, I refused to dump the old ones, ever hopeful that they might come in useful. But then, I never throw anything away.

I’m an incorrigible hoarder. There’s a drawer in the kitchen with all manner of useful things. This morning’s inventory comprised:

4 packets of unpronounceable prescription drugs well past their sell-by date
2 dried-up tubes of glue
4 plastic napkin rings
3 tiny screwdrivers and a keyring – all from Christmas crackers
4 torches with dead batteries
20 new A4 batteries, mixed up with 20 old ones (I’ve no way of telling which is which)
3 ancient mobile phones, without chargers

1 brand new carbon monoxide alarm (bought in 2007)
5 sets of chopsticks from Chinese takeaways
31 keys from long-forgotten houses, cars, sheds and bicycles
1 half-empty packet of broad bean seeds, expiry 2009
8 packets of unopened cut flower food
1 Farrow and Ball paint chart
7 picture hooks without nails

They’ll all still be there a year from now.

That’s the contents of just one drawer. I have stashed useless junk all over the house; the garden shed is an embarrassment, my tool-box overflows with spare bits, and the bathroom has a cupboard piled with shampoo from every hotel room I’ve ever visited.

All this is based on the philosophy, doubtless learned from my mother, that nothing should ever be thrown away. Well, she was wrong. Because this morning I put on the jeans and strutted downstairs to show Jo.

“Look”, I proclaimed proudly, pointing down to where my stomach used to be. She looked horrified. “Take those off immediately”, adding darkly, “and never, ever, wear them again”.

I looked in the mirror: she was right. Tight thighs, flares: I must have bought them in the 80s.

I’ve put them back in the drawer, just in case 80’s Retro comes back or we get invited to a fancy dress party. They’ll lie there beside their size 36 cousins, who are convinced they won’t be there for ever. Rejected for now, as Jo and I go off to the mall to buy me a new wardrobe, they’ll be waiting smugly for the inches to go back on once this wretched diet fades into history. I just hope they’ll be completely out of fashion by the time that happens.


Justin Souter said...

Many congrats for this Tom, and a useful example to this rest of us v-a-v willpower :-)

btw I have a battery tester, and some spare Nokia chargers if they would help ;-)

Tom Gutteridge said...

Willpower is the last thing I possess, Justin. As a certain friend, who spent a great deal of time trying to get me to use pedal power to get into shape, knows only too well. The bike, beautifully refurbished at vast cost, is still sitting unmounted in the garden shed. But the new jeans I've now bought are proof that this time vanity (i.e. the impending photograph) has overcome my natural lack of resolve. Today three people commented on my new look. See next post for their reactions...