Fat Club – Winning Through Losing

Before And After Back in May I broke the first rule of Fat Club by writing about it.

Ever the rebel I thought I would write about it again.

Yesterday evening I had my final one-to-one with the dietician who developed the programme behind the Kirklees Weight Management service.

My initial goal was to lose 5% of my weight as it was when I started the programme – just under a stone in total.

The programme isn’t a diet by the way, it’s a catalyst! It incites change in the individual to help them lead a healthier life by making healthier choices.

I still manage to enjoy myself, I just enjoy myself moderately rather than excessively.

Bearing in mind I’d already lost half a stone between signing up in January and starting the programme in May, I was confident I could meet that target and I did – 5 weeks in,

Weight Loss ChartI’m now a gnats whisker away from my personal target of 3 stones off by the end of July and whilst the Victoza/Liraglutide is partially responsible the majority of the credit goes to the Weight Management service itself.

I kid you not, the service here in Kirklees is a world leader in its field.

They don’t boast about it online but ask the team behind the service and they speak with pride about their success and retention rates compared to the global and national average.

I mention the team because it is just a small team of people that have made this happen, which is amazing when you consider how wide and dark an organisation like the NHS can be.

There is a chance that the NHS may drop the programme in favour of a one-size-fits-all bland service provided by a multinational media company with little or no understanding (or passion) for dietetics or nutrition… which would be a crying shame.

The advice I’ve taken away from the programme is simple.

  • Eat regularly – Breakfast, Lunch & Tea with a light snack in-between if hungry.
  • Eat healthy portions – You’d be amazed at how large the portions we’re used to are these days – far too much for the sedentary lives we lead.
  • Eat a balanced diet with satiety in mind – Wholemeal Bread and a couple of Eggs for breakfast will keep you fuller and satiated for longer – don’t cut out carbs or proteins or anything, instead know the right portions and proportions in which to eat things.
  • Keep active – it only takes small changes to keep the body working and active.
  • Banish unhelpful thoughts – don’t punish yourself for failing by indulging in further failure – don’t reward yourself with food or drink, instead look to work out negative emotions through activity or reward yourself with non-consumable treats.
  • Know your calorie I/O – The human body burns at least 1400 calories a day, just by living – it is a lot easier to not take on excess calories than it is to burn it off.  By setting a calorie target/limit under the supposed GDA you are guaranteed to lose weight – but don’t set it lower than 1500 without medical supervision.

All of that and more.

I keep a loose and fast food diary now and have a mental meal plan that I follow day to day.

I’m walking 4 or 5 miles a day (or at least every other day) to burn off the daily office stress and every day gets better and better.

I genuinely believe that anyone struggling to manage their weight should speak to their GP and talk about getting on the Kirklees Weight Management Programme.  It costs nothing more than 48 hours of your life (broken down over 12 2 hour sessions) and the desire to change.

The show’s not over though.  I have another 12 weeks to lose another stone – which will take me to 16 stone by mid-October – although, personally, I’m aiming for 2 stone off in that time.

 

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Church of Pfizer – Breaking the First Rule of Fat Club

Victoza-LiraglutideFor the last decade I have carried the clinical label of “Morbidly Obese“.

A decade ago I weighed in at over 20 stones; I had been piling on the pounds since the age of 25. A combination of living a lush lifestyle, holding down a sedentary office job and thriving on cortisol-inducing stress all culminated in the climactic crescendo of endocrine crash.

By October 2003 I had dropped 3 stone and suffered what were described later as “Osmotic Symptoms” – between you and me these were simply body-wide agonising muscle cramps caused by essential salts being flushed from my body as it tried to handle a fasting blood glucose level of 32 mmol/L (6 mmol/L is the norm).

I was rushed into hospital and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (meaning that I rely on regular injections of insulin to survive).

For the last decade I have managed my condition as all diabetics must do – day to day and sometimes seeming to pull through by will alone.

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

Since then my weight has fluctuated between 17 and 20 stone, erring more towards the latter over the last year or so. Th weight dropping off as I exercise and then piling on when I stop.

Of course, medicine has played a large part in the management of my condition. As a Type 1 diabetic I have prayed at the alter of The Church of Pfizer for almost a full decade now. Insulin to make up for insulin I am not producing, Metformin (Glucophage) to help my body use the insulin and Pravastatin to deal with my high cholesterol.

Over the past couple of years I have endured an ongoing battle with my health care team over my condition. My health care team believe I am not a Type 1 diabetic at all but Type 2 (meaning I am producing some insulin but my body cannot use it). The only evidence given for this seeming to be my inability to maintain a healthy weight.

Victoza PenThe battle peaked towards the end of 2012 when my diabetic “specialist” decided to put her money where her mouth is and put me onto a trial course of GLP-1 (Glucagon-like-peptide).

Pitched as some kind of Panacea, GLP-1 is a weight loss medication with the surprising side effect of increasing insulin production in Type-2 diabetics. Type-1 diabetics may benefit from the weight loss side of the medication but would see no other benefits.

At the same time that I started the process of titrating up to a full dose of Victoza-Liraglutide (the trade name of this new sub-cutaneous Sacrament) I also signed up to the local Weight Loss Program – Kirklees Weight Management (lovingly referred to as Fat Club by my fellow losers).

I started the full course of Victoza 3 weeks ago and Fat Club 2 weeks ago and frustratingly enough the Victoza seems to be working – I must be Type-2, the priests were right all along.

I have reduced my insulin intake by more than 50% and appear to be losing over 2kg a week. The Victoza isn’t pleasant but I’m accustomed to the nausea and other gastric symptoms that arise from the daily injections.

So far the fat club appear to be offering sound advice but I have to admit that I am eating smaller portions mainly because the Victoza helps me feel satiated and slows my digestion down so that I am not hungry.

I haven’t felt this good since I tried the hypno-band the other year. Fat Club have given me a target of 6.2kg to lose over the 12 week period; 2 weeks in and I’ve lost 4.6kg.  I’m out walking more and seem to be energised towards losing more weight.

Victoza-para-Emagrecer-Funciona-3I’m sure this will level out at some point – at this rate I’d be looking at being back to 16/17 stone by the end of the 12 weeks, something my GP has advised against.  Not that the process stops there.  This isn’t some kind of Slimming World fad diet – it’s a total change to my way of life – again.

That being said, I do feel like I’m cheating somehow, there should be rules about the use of performance enhancing drugs at Fat Club.

Apports from the Front – or – Manna From Heaven

I have recently decided to downsize my corporeal establishment.

I have signed up to local weight loss initiatives, joined a gym and begun a steady reduction in all my unhealthy intakes.

My efforts won’t start in earnest until I get to the front of the waiting list for the Kirklees Weight Management programme but I am assured that I will reach the front of that list at some – as yet indeterminate – point in the future.

The programme runs for 12 weeks and my first goal is to lose 5% of my current weight… just under a stone.

Spiced HamImagine my embarrassment then, when I admit that last night I planned on having a popular tinned pork/ham product for my evening repast… the “lite” version but still, not the healthiest of meal options.

On our last trip to the so-called “super” market, there was an offer on a well known brand of tinned pig product – I am avoiding naming the brand as it has damaging connotations when named in online communications.

Spooneristically, I was sucked into a two-for-one offer on tins of Lam Spite.

Last night, my partner was working late – an opportunity to revert to lazy catering choices and the Python promoted pork product was my intended route to idle eating.

It was dark when I returned home, as it usually is that late in the evening.

I fed the cats and provided them with entertainment for a while.

After coddling the cats, I set about looking for a tin of processed ham – and that’s where things get a little spooky.

I searched high and low for the tins of processed pork; every item purchased at Toryburies the day before was accounted for except for the two tins I was looking for.

I quickly reached an emotional decision point, a point at which I decided to not give into the seething torrent of rage that this kind of fruitless searching often leads me to.

I texted my partner to see if she could tell me if she had put them somewhere but my SMS messages would not send… still I refused to give into the rage,

There were other things to eat in the kitchen and the tins would turn up later… the threatening wall of rage subsides from my sub-psyche and I decide to have one last look.

I enter the kitchen, scanning the sideboards and heading to the furthest cupboard.

CLUNK

A sound from behind me and a dull vibration through the floorboards and up through my foot to my left ankle.

I turn and look down to find a solitary tin of porcine mash half an inch from my heel.

It could have fallen from my trouser leg or from the washing machine next to me but by all appearances had simply apported in my wake – like a reward for not giving into rage.

I must have simply not seen the tin teetering on the precipice, as it must have been.

Don’t get me wrong, I one hundred percent accept that paranormal experiences can and do happen but in this case I think I must have developed a blind spot for what I was searching for – it would not be the first time.

I also didn’t get any kind of sensation of weirdness – the “bad feeling” that often accompanies paranormal events. Just a slight vibration as the tin hit the floor behind me, seemingly from nowhere.

I still haven’t found the second tin but the first was as delicious as salty spiced pig cuts can be.

Investigating Lindley Church Amateur Operatic Society

Lindley AmateursOver the past month or so I have been setting up a WordPress blog to report on the doings of my local Amateur Operatic Society.

My partner is a member of their committee and is soon to play the part of Emily Pankhurst (Emmiline Pankurst in the musical) in their forthcoming performance of Below Stairs.

It has been tricky a there isn’t much of a written history, although I suspect there is a lot more than I have found so far.

I will probably end up joining the society as a fully paid up member, which will be useful for gaining more details… I already attend most of the dinners, functions and shows after all.

The upshot of my findings so far is that the Lindley Church Amateur Operatic Society was founded in principle in 1934 and in name in 1935, after its first performance of an operatta titled Irish Girl.

There does seem to be evidence of an older society not affiliated with the Church itself but only in the shape of the show poster that you can see at the top right of this post.

If you want to read more of my findings then you can read Raising the Rafters – In the Beginning.

Kirklees Council and The Edited Electoral Register

Covering LetterIt’s that time of year when the local council send out reminders, to their residents, about re-registering on the electoral roll.

I’m not sure why we have to register every twelve months but I do know I will lose my “right” to vote if I do not register (again).

For the past few years I’ve simply filled the form in online and had done with it.  My partner and I do not have children and the occupancy of our house has not changed in the decade we  have lived together.

In fact the only real upheaval was when we told the council that my partner was now working and had to pay back some of the 25% discount that we had received whilst she was studying for her varying qualifications.

I started to fill the form in online today, paying little attention to the covering letter.

What little attention I did pay, told me that Kirklees Council had decided to revoke my decision to opt out of the “Edited Electoral Register”.

Furthermore, should I wish to opt out, then I may be limited in the methods by which I could complete the form.

The fine printThe meaning of this became apparent after I logged into the online form completion site.

If I wished to opt out of the edited electoral register, then I would not be able to do so online.

Following the links given, I discovered that a recent change in legislation means that I have to physically sign a form to confirm that I have asked the inhabitants of my house if they wish to opt out – even if we have opted out previously.

This effectively means that every Kirklees resident has been casually opted in!

I strongly believe this is a bad thing.  Not because I object to the edited electoral register but because I believe that once you have opted out of something then it is your choice whether you are opted into it or not.

Before I explore that belief further, I should explain a little about the Edited Electoral Register and why you have a right, as a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to opt out of it.

Kirklees Web

From Spring 2001 and to Autumn 2006 I worked for a West Yorkshire based Direct Marketing Bureau.  The company I worked for handled list brokerage, data capture, cleansing and related services to the Direct Marketing industry.

In layman’s terms we bought and sold data and data services.

One of the many lists of data that we handled was the UK Edited Electoral Register; a subset of the UK Electoral Register (which we also handled for credit referencing purposes).

The  Electoral Register is simply a list of names and addresses of everyone within the United Kingdom who has registered to vote.

The Edited Electoral Register is a list of names and addresses of everyone within the United Kingdom who has registered to vote but who hasn’t opted out of the Edited Electoral Register.  There are around 25 million names and addresses on this years electoral roll.

A subtle but simple difference.

The Electoral Register is protected by law.  It is illegal to buy, sell, or use the Electoral Register for commercial means.  The only businesses who can access the Electoral Register are credit referencing agencies, who can use the data to verify that an individual lives where they claim to live and is registered on the electoral register.  (It all seems so simple as I type it).

The Edited Electoral Register is specifically sold to businesses for the purposes of buying, selling or using the data within for commercial means.

My opinion may well be coloured by experiences working in the industry but when I say “commercial means” I mean Direct Marketing.

Junk Mail, Cold Calling, Spam, Spam, SPAM!

Back in the day, the easiest way of getting a list of targets for sales campaigns was to buy a section of the UK Edited Electoral Register.  Sure, it may need processing against the BT directory to get telephone numbers; and it would have needed keeping up to date with changes of address through the Royal Mail’s National Change of Address data, but selling the Edited Electoral Register was like printing money to companies like my former employer.

I come from a demographic that abhors direct sales techniques.  If I want to buy something, I research it online and ask friends and family for their opinion.  I have never, ever, bought anything from a tele-canvasser, door to door salesperson or piece of junk mail.  I do accept that there are people out there who do, I even accept that there are people who enjoy reading junk mail and receiving cold calls.  If there weren’t then Direct Marketing wouldn’t survive as an industry – yet it still hangs in there.

Whilst working in the industry, as well as a deep sensation of hypocrisy, I developed an understanding as to how you could prevent yourself from being targeted by Direct Marketers.  The key method of doing so being to opt-out.

When you fill in a registration form, survey or application, look for the tick box to opt-out of further communications.  There should also be one to opt out of having your details shared with other people.  read them carefully before ticking as sometimes the option is to opt-in when you tick.

There are also services such as the Telephone Preference Service and Mailing Preference Service that Direct marketing agencies are supposed to screen their data against to remove people have registered with them.

An awful lot of effort to go to but worth it if, like me, you don’t want to be inundated by unsolicited calls and mail.

I digressed a little there.  To summarise, the Edited Electoral Register is a way for the local and national government to make a bit of extra money by selling your contact details onto companies who will then use that data for a number of things, including sending you junk mail and calling you to sell you things.

I can’t remember exactly when the edited register was introduced.  I’m fairly sure it was this side of 2001.  I remember the rush to get ready to process it and also the hype about being able to opt-out  (or more so, the lack of it).  I opted out straight away and every year my choice to opt-out remained on my annual registration form.  There were a couple of glitches where it was omitted but this was easily rectified when renewing online by making sure the box was ticked.

Registering online (my preferred method as it costs the council less of my council tax) forces me to accept that my details will be sold to commercial enterprises.And therein lies the problem for me.  I can still opt-out but I have to physically tick the box again and submit the form by post.

The finer printEven worse, my choice in this matter has by default been ignored.  Prior to this update I am listed as having opted out of the edited register but the council are ready to revert that option for everybody who does not submit a signed form to opt-out – in many cases forcing them to opt-out again!

I’m sure this must be a breach of my human rights somehow.  What about all those people who just register online without reading the letter accompanying the form?

I accept that they should read the letter but then what if they read it after filling in the form online?

I know I shouldn’t be so wound up about it.  All I have to do is submit my paper form through the mail and I’ll be opted out again – but that isn’t the point.

The Lindley Moor Project (via Armaitus on…)

It would appear that plans are afoot to attempt again to gain permission to build a data centre on a green field site up the road from my house.

Furthermore, this article in my local paper expands across more of the local green belt to provide more business development space and even housing.

There are more than sufficient brown field sites in the local area.  Disused mills, demolished and run down housing and industrial areas that would be brought a new lease of life by this kind of housing or business development.

Instead, we are left fighting to protect our ever decreasing rural greenery.

The coalition government started the year with plans to sell off our nation’s forests; I worry now that this thinking will allow the developers to win their applications to build on our local green spaces.

This so called “age of austerity” could have a far more damaging impact than we might think.

I posted the entry below, the last time the Data Centre application was made.

The Lindley Moor Project It was Autumn last year when I first came across the Lindley Moor Project; an ostentatious plan to build a “data centre” on a local green field site. When I say “local”, I mean “right up the road from my house”. Now before I continue, I feel I should point out that I’m not the kind of person to shout “not on my doorstep”; I genuinely object to any green field development. In this case however, the planned development is genuinely “on my doorstep” … Read More

via Armaitus on…

No Plough on Snow Plough

Winter has arrived in Huddersfield marginally earlier than it did last year but it has brought with it all of the chaos from last year’s snowy season.

Despite reassurances to the contrary, our roads this morning were treacherous and in a lot of places, unpassable.

Of course, the roads I make reference to are in such a state because they are not classified as “major” or “main” routes; even though some of them lead directly to our local Accident & Emergency.

I understand prioritisation; I know that not all roads can be gritted straight away but I witnessed something this morning that made me question the management of Kirklees Council’s snow handling team.

Twice this morning I passed snow ploughs on their way to a priority route.  Once up Crosland Road (linking New Hey Road to Lindley Moor Road, both of which being major routes) and once up New Hey Road through Marsh.

Both ploughs had their plough raised and their gritters off.

I can understand the need to conserve rock salt; last year was a lesson in poor planning and bad conservation, when it came to rock salt stocks.  Why raise the plough though?

The first plough was driving up an almost impassable road, by lowering its plough it could have cleared the way to a major road, connecting hundreds of commuters and lessening their struggles somewhat.

The second plough was driving up a road that had been ploughed, presumably a few hours earlier, but had rapidly filled with fresh snow and slush.  In front of the plough, the road was clear, behind the plough traffic was backed up and slipping through the churned up slush.  By lowering the plough, the road could have been made more passable for the traffic behind.

So what is the reasoning behind the raising of the plough?

Is it just a diligent adherence to the letter of one’s orders?

I can’t plough here because I have to go there and plough.

or

It’s more than my job’s worth.  If I plough here I could get sued?

Maybe it is down to diesel, maybe it costs more to plough than to not plough?

Or, is it just careless planning and lack of thought regarding the welfare of one’s fellow man?