One of the first things I noticed, following my eviction from London, and arrival in Liverpool, was how everybody smokes.
The second was that every older person suffers from Fat Bastard Syndrome (FBS). Meanwhile, da yoof, usually due to an over use of Class A drugs, are skeletal.
The older generations, without the aid of the Class A drugs, live on a diet of beer and bleached food. Usually this is potato based, sometimes rice, and comes from a retail outlet specialising in using very old fat and oil in which the product is deep fried. For them the height of taste-bud excitement is having a half portion of chips with a half portion of rice and then covering this with a made from powder ‘gravy’. The really experimental in Liverpool will not have ‘gravy’ but instead have ‘curry’.
Now, where I come from, ‘curry’ usually means a clever concoction of meats and vegetables cooked or served in a delicate and complimentary sauce carefully prepared from scratch. Meanwhile, ‘curry’ in Liverpool means a runny sauce made from a powder to have a consistency of tomato ketchup.
So, ‘curry rice and chips’ to a southerner sounds a fairly naughty but balanced meal. In reality for a northerner it’s just chips and rice with a curry-flavoured gravy. And it’s an extravagant experimental meal for the average Liverpudlian. It contributes to their abundance of obesity.
When I lived in London, I suffered from Fat Bastard Syndrome. Indeed, compared to the average around me, I was extremely fat and well over the average. I was noticeably fatter than almost everybody I worked or played with.
In Liverpool, however, I was actually slightly less fat than the average around me. Most people, apart from the Class A druggies, were a lot fatter than me.
In some ways this was comforting, as I was able to feel ‘normal’. But, being fat was still wrong and likely to cause premature death. Thus, I set about trying to examine how to deal with it.
Now, I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke. My one vice is food. I love food. Not bland rubbish food like ‘curry rice and chips’ but rich and experimental and tasty food. However, I do have a clinical problem which causes me to get fat.
I’m not sure what the medical term is, but my mouth can open a lot wider than my anus. Hence I can shovel stuff in faster than it can come out. It has to go somewhere, so it stays within me, making me fat.
But seriously, I eat a lot and find it near impossible to reduce my intake. Trying to reduce or live on celery and dust doesn’t work for me. I become constantly hungry, obsessed and miserable. So, trying to reduce my food intake doesn’t work.
Now, the human being is quite a simple machine really. It requires fuel in order to do things. Like a car. You put petrol in a car and it will be able to travel a certain distance. If you don’t travel anywhere the petrol just waits to be used. If it were possible and designed like a human being, and you regularly fed a car with petrol but didn’t really drive anywhere, pretty soon the tank would be full, and overflowing into, for example, special expanding tanks taking up the passenger seats, and eventually squeezing against you the driver. The only way to deal with this would be to regularly drive to places in order to use up the excess petrol.
And so it is with humans. If you give it too much fuel it will store it making the human, well, fat. The more fuel the human uses the less it will store.
So, it hit me that rather than try to control the quantities of food I was putting into my body, I needed to use it up more efficiently.
Now, I don’t do much, and have a rather ‘sedentary’ life as they classify it. I’m not doing any manual labour and spend most of my day in an office.
However, I’ve always enjoyed walking. For years I’d do it a bit, especially when it was far too hot and stuffy to be stuck indoors. Now I do it a lot.
I walk through urban areas looking in through windows, a bit like a robber sizing up his next potential break-in, and can be found enjoying walking on beaches, in the countryside, or through ‘the sights’, and so on. I’m not a fast walker, not a power walker, more an old style rambler or bumbler. I can happily shuffle for a good ten kilometres at a time with no ill effects, and quite often stroll into town from the more suburban areas.
So it was with some interest that I noted that the legendary author, broadcaster, lover of strange music, buses and iPhone anorak Steve Conway had revealed his uptake of walking as part of his healthier regime.
I hope he keeps it up, as walking is a natural and healthy way of using up the fuel we refuse to cut down on taking in. It also keeps the joints and muscles healthy and functioning, plus gives one time to think, breathe and observe stuff around us. It is something that has multiple layers of well-being attached to it. It is not painful nor stressful like jogging, and doesn’t make you look stupid and near death. It doesn’t destroy your feet or wear away knee joints. Nobody gets pains from walking.
Some people do get bored though. I hope Steve won’t get bored with it. I suspect he won’t, the more he sees and appreciates the kind of things that I see and appreciate when I’m walking.
And for anybody else looking for a healthier 2012, forget the gym and all the silly diets. Just go for a walk every day.