Carol Vorderman Saved My Life

I was never a big fan of moving. I always much preferred to stay put, preferably with a can in front of the telly, as shown here. That’s my boyfriend’s foot you can see in the corner of the shot there; he was just as bad as me – probably worse! In fact, I think when I met him was when things started to slide and I hung my bikini up for good. I just got so comfy with him – and later, slightly bored – so there never seemed to be a good reason to stop eating endless pizzas or reign in the biscuit-munching. Even when I got so fat one of my ankles gave up and had to be bandaged and spared from heaving 19st of bulk around at the end of huge varicose vein-streaked tree trunks.

Then, into my life, quite unexpectedly, like a shiny-haired, number-crunching, celery-loving goddess came Carol Vorderman. I saw her on Loose Women talking about that detox she does. I nearly dropped my KFC when I saw how much weight she’d lost.

It hadn’t really occurred to me to bother losing the weight; I was just a bit miffed that I had to cart around a load of junk on my frame everywhere I went. Plus I’d got my man and he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon – far too lazy for that.  Heh.

But when I saw Carol – oh, I set my heart on doing what she’d done. I wanted that glossy hair, that youthful complexion and that figure to squeeze into tight designer dresses (or Primark knock-offs anyway).

From then on, every burger bun I clasped between my hands felt shameful and degrading. I took a good long look at myself in the mirror that night.  It wasn’t pretty, I can tell you.

I saw a face that looked like it needed someone to score round it with a stanley knife and cut away the border of flesh. I don’t know exactly what the phrase ‘cheek by jowl’ means but it was the best description of my face I can think of.

Though it was still grotesquely plump, my head looked tiny on my big pillow of a body. My legs were two wobbling pillars of cellulite, riddled with knots of big green veins; my torso a rippling blob; my upper arms like two great hams and my whole skin horribly dull and mottled.

So chips in curry sauce and pies went out of the window and hummous and sprouting alfalfa came shooting in.  And I feel fabulous! My days are quite different now. They’re full of slices of lemon in hot water; gym visits, swims and early morning runs. I’ve got really into it. Since I saw Carol, about 2 years ago, I’ve lost 10 stone! I still can’t believe it. Flesh that used to ripple and cushion and bounce off everything as I lumbered around has now gone. I’m actually slim!

I sometimes wonder where it went, all that lard. When I began running, I used to pound my feet down into the pavement, imagining tiny bits of my thighs flying off behind me down the road until they found the next fat person to cling onto.

After I’d lost that 10 stone, I decided to dump another 200lbs by getting rid of Kev as well. Heh. He wasn’t happy but, like I said to him, I couldn’t bear to see him sitting there damaging his innards with cheeseburgers and beer when I’m taking such good care of myself. Watching him shovel all that crap in was just too hard.

Kev’s not the only person I’ve lost over this, of course. This is very common for successful dieters, apparently – they’re called toxic friends. So-called mates who’ve always thought of you as their fat, unattractive friend who makes them look slim and lovely. And, boy, they don’t want you stepping out of that little box. They’re the friends who tell you that you look gorgeous just as you are and don’t need to lose a pound (at 19st!). They’re the ones ordering sides of chips and garlic bread, waving them under your nose at dinner when you’ve managed to be good and just order a soup.

I’ll never forget Lucie’s face when she saw me after a few months. She was jealous before the stones really began to peel off. But when I walked through the door at her birthday party, with my high, high heels and tight, tight red dress, long dangly earrings and my glam hair all piled up – she looked like a hellcat ready to strike! Her Charlie’s eyes nearly popped out – that didn’t go down well either.

She looked me up and down then took my arm in a sisterly way, though she grasped it far too hard, and steered me to a seat at the back of the room, so I was almost completely hidden behind a pillar.

It made no difference though. She could still see me from the other end, waving away the bread basket, tucking into the fruit and veg and knocking back water instead of booze.  I could feel the hatred burning across the tablecloth as she had another profiterole.

But that’s her problem. If she wants to clog her arteries with all that whipped cream and chocolate sauce, she really shouldn’t be cross with me just because I don’t want to do the same.

My mum said that this dieting has completely taken over my life. Swapped one addiction for another! Silly old bat. I was never addicted to junk food and booze like she thinks and what’s wrong with enjoying running and the odd sprout? 

Mind you, I did come a bit of a cropper the other day. I twisted my ankle awkwardly as I ran over an uneven paving stone.  I carried on, but after a while it just hurt too much.  I’ve got it in a bandage now and it’s too painful to put any weight on it (even the little I have now!). I didn’t know what to do with myself at first but there was no option really but to rest it, otherwise I won’t be able to run for ages and I can’t live with that thought! 

So I did something I haven’t done in a very long while: I plonked myself down in front of the TV. It was Loose Women again, by chance. I hadn’t seen it since the episode Carol was on. They were talking about how saturated fats aren’t actually as bad for you as everyone thought.  And apparently a couple of units of booze a day actually prolong your life.  Well! I started wondering if maybe mum was right and I had been a bit austere lately. I remembered that Kev’s stash of Carlsberg was still under the sink so I got myself a can and sat back down. It had been so long since I’d had a drop. Where’s the harm?

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Alex Jury

Alex Jury

Alex Jury is a retired cowgirl, now working as a copywriter in London. She loves working with words but misses all the lassoing.
Alex Jury

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