Fat Club User Guide – Carbs & Cals

carbsandcalsI recently wrote about my experience working with the Kirklees Weight Management Programme to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

One of the tools suggested to me by the team behind the programme was a book that is generally recommended to Diabetics who monitor their carbohydrate intake and self dose insulin based on it.

Carbs & Cals: Count your Carbs & Calories with over 1,700 Food & Drink Photos!

I bought the book from Amazon for just under a tenner and then a few days later I bought the App from Google’s Play Store.

Both the book and the app are a really handy resource to check the calorific content of everyday foods.

The book is crammed full of pictures showing you nutritional information on a variety of foods in a variety of portion sizes.

The App takes this a step further by allowing you to scan barcodes to get nutritional information from a large online database of foods.

The App can be used as a Food Diary and even a Blood Glucose diary for insulin junkies like me.

Finally, both the book and the App are supported by online resources that can be found at the Carbs & Cals website.



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.


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.

Ray Sherwin’s Fats of Life

Strange Smell in the CarI’ve just started to read the latest publication from respected occult author, Ray Sherwin: Strange Smell in the Car: Aromatic Oils and Magick (published by Mandrake); outwardly presented as a collection of writings on essential oils and aromatherapy, the book actually works as something of an autobiography.

I’ve only made it a short way in and remain fascinated by the tales of Ray’s entrepreneurial endeavours in the field of essential oils. I’m sure I visited his Leeds based shop as teenager the year he sold it, although I may be confusing it with visits to Sorceror’s Apprentice.

I like Ray’s writing style, Ray comes across as both personable and reassuringly confident – something I’ve discovered in his other writings.

The final chapter I read last night struck me as important. Not so much in the sense of:

This is valid advice Ben, you should take note

But in the

How strange, you start looking into alternate weight loss methods and CLA; then all of a sudden your attention is drawn to an article on dietary fats, written by a local and respected figure on the global occult scene

The chapter was titled: The Fats of Life: What your Mother Would Have Told you if She’d known. So strongly was I effected by this article, I came into work early to research coconut oil. I managed to locate a PDF version of the article and would highly recommend reading it, if only to get an idea of Ray’s writing style.

Ray makes it clear that he is using other people’s research as a primary basis for his opinions on the efficacy of coconut oil; combined with his own findings through his own use.

Of particular interest is what he has to say on the possible link between unsaturated fats and suicide – I have heard reports of suicidal depression being a serious side effect of cholesterol busting statins.

Of equal interest is the possible link between unsaturated fats and cancer – but everything causes cancer these days doesn’t it?

Mandrake of OxfordThe upshot of all this is that by using coconut oil to balance my intake of saturated and unsaturated fats I may be able to finally lose some weight. I have an incredibly low intake of saturated fats in comparison to the polyunsaturated fats I take in.

Obviously none of this will work without regular exercise and a controlled diet but it may just be the final push to swing the pendulum the right way.