|The Malt Shovel public house, Main Street, Menston, West Yorkshire. Taken on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd August 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I said yes. The Menston Weight Watchers group has a number of advantages for me. It is on the one hand literally just down the hill from where I live, and on the other hand, it is almost directly opposite the pub.
I haven't been t one of these things before so I didn't know what to expect. It is seems rather friendly though, the nice group leader Mary greeted me, weighed me without any inward gasps of breath, asked me if I had any targets in mind (I kept the imminent visit to the ale house quiet at this point) and then wrote down on my personal planner what seemed to be a quite reasonable and achievable first goal of weight loss.
The rest of the meeting took the form of a proselytising Amway marketer preaching to the would-be converted. I don't mean this in an unkind way, the attendees at Weight Watchers want to be there and the group leader is giving them information and inspiration to bring about the changes in their lives that they desire so it's all good. Anyway, I have sat through two hours of hard sell from Amercian time-share agents in order to get a cheap night in a resort, so I can shrug off the imprecations of earnest weight loss devotees should they fail to inspire me.
I was suspecting at first that this might be like Alcoholics Anonymous for big people and that I might have to stand up in front of the group to confess my sins of beer, chocolate and late night donner kebabs. It isn't like that at all though, there is no mention made of anyone's weight, goals or points' allowances, instead the meeting focusses on upcoming events that may be hard to manage, Easter lunches and the perils of chocolate consumption in this case, and some general hints, advice and recipes.
Although I suspect that the Weight Watchers congregation will be largely made up of women, it really ought to appeal to men, the actual method of combining and counting foods is so fantastically geeky that most blokes should be right at home with it. I was given a starting total of 45 points a day, plus a sort of lucky dip bag of 49 points a week. After stating this out loud to the group I quickly gathered that this is quite a high total and that women get less points than men, I was rapidly informed of just how lucky I was to get quite so many food tokens to spend.
The first day didn't go well. Dad took me out for lunch, two beers and a gammon, egg and chips later I was already perilously close to my ProPoints allowance for the day. Some wine and a coconut milk based curry that evening ensured that I had already dug deeply into my weekly bonuses.
|Healthy dinner ingredients.|
Chicken and mushroom kebabs.
Bakla - a Turkish broad bean and cabbage dish with olive oil, mint and lemon.
Tagine of onions - sweated down with olive oil, sugar, black pepper, cumin and ground ginger.
Baked tomatoes with garlic.
Green beans and broccoli.
And for dessert, plums baked with just a hint of sugar and a splash of sherry, with some low fat Greek yoghurt.
ProPoints total for the dinner - 14, and I have allowed for the oil and sugar in that, had I been cooking in my normal and more expansive style I would have at least doubled the amount of oil in the meal, more oil over the kebabs would have been welcome.
Day one then, porridge for breakfast, beans on toast for lunch, a pear to snack on, the dinner as listed above, two glasses of Rioja and a large whisky and I was still 5 points short of using my daily allowance. Onwards and upwards, or perhaps onwards and downwards then.