Saturday, November 03, 2007

Killing me softly

No posts for over a week, you may be muttering. Unfortunately, work and Council commitments have overwhelmed me over the past 9 days or so - such that on 2 nights last week, I was sending myself to bed at 8pm so I could wake up at 2am and work through the night. Then, crash out at 6am for an hour or so and up and off to work. A round trip to Loughborough on Thursday to give a talk on local transport policy probably didn't help.

It's not sustainable, of course. I collapsed into the car at Gosforth at 9pm last night after a Regional Board meeting and thought "this is crackers." I should have been in Manchester this weekend for part three of an intensive course on community leadership, but have cried off - if the long hours hadn't finished me off, the then alcohol certainly might.

Added to which, I have a serious weight problem which isn't responding to any diet known to man. As Garfield rightly says, of course, the favourite day of the week to begin a diet is tomorrow. However, I am supposed to be the Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure, and I hardly cut a convincing figure in that role at the moment. I sat through another uncomfortable meeting on Wednseday with a NHS bigwig talking with him about the obesity problem in Darlington very conscious that I'm hardly in a position to show local leadership on this key health subject.

Like most fat people, I'm very conscious about my weight, but I thought sharing the problem here might finally give me the momentum I need to make some fairly radical changes to my lifestyle. I know that if I don't do something now, I'll probably be dead in 10 years (if I'm lucky). That's no good for Sandy or the boys (or indeed me, for that matter).

So time to use my current situation to check out what the NHS locally can offer me as a resident, for instance. I'm conscious that blogging regularly on this self-obsessed subject will rapidly become tiresome, but it is something I'll return to fairly regularly as milestones are reached (or not as the case may be). First stop, a trip to my GP early next week.

14 comments:

Ian White, Fatkins Diet. said...

Always tommorow Nick, its the same here everyday and every new year resolution, if you find something that works let me know and I will pass it on to those most needy.
I daren't say who, she will kill me!

miketually said...

A very brave post, Nick.

Diets without exercise don't work. There's lots of good walking available around your way - Skerningham Plantation can be reached by following the public footpath along the river towards Barmpton, or you can follow the river the other way towards Rockwell.

Proper sleep helps too. That's what I'm not getting at the moment. Bloody kids ;)

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

I agree with Mike. A very brave post.

I had something similar to you a few years ago, but my workload was heavy, but not quite as intense as yours I was overcommiting myself and driving myself to a complete standstill. Scaling back and priorising commitments, learning to relax and getting a good night sleep were and are important.

I tried exercise on prescription, but gave it up - no staying power after I nearly fell off the running machine in the Dolphin Centre.

Mike's dead right. Walking is a great way of putting things into perspective, observing our beautiful surroundings,breathing the wonderful fresh air and yes, dare I say it, losing weight.

Best wishes.

Alan

Mike Barker said...

Well written, Nick.

At the Lib Dem conference in Brighton recently, I attended a lunchtime fringe event (I forget the topic) and a Cabinet councillor (who I also know is looking for a winnable Parliamentary seat) stood up and said proudly that he was married with kids, hadn't joined in his family holidays for the past two years, was out at meetings most evenings, while holding down a job as well, and that this proved his commitment to the party and what needed to be done to ensure that the party's policies and values were implemented. He was very proud of his commitment. However,
as a lady on the panel said in response, "If you carry on like that you may not have a wife and kids to be "understanding" about you for much longer."

I know you enjoy your family holidays, Nick, so your situation is different, but politics can be addictive, and we all need to find space for ourselves and our families - and our health.

ian holme said...

Good post Nick.

Think when we all get to a "certain age" we finally realise that we are not that invulnerable person we thought in our youth.

Ian

Darlington Councillor said...

Many thanks for those comments everyone.

A quick update - I rang to make an appointment with my GP this morning , but he was fully booked up for the day, and you can only book slots with him on a day-by-day basis. I'll try again tomorrow!

miketually said...

Sounds like you go to the same surgery as me. Good luck getting an appointment...

Aeres said...

Just to add my own well wishes to those of others Nick.

As a Yes Minister fan I'm sure you'll understand if I say that it's perhaps not unique for the person in charge of health to not be in tip-top shape (cough-hack-cough) :-)

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Alan Macnab writes....

That last posting puts me in mind of my Father in law who used to keep a shop and one of his regular customers was an eminent surgeon.

One day the eminent surgeon came in, wheezing and coughing and said to my Father in law have you got anything for a bad cough. To which my Father in law retorted "Physician heal thy self."

Anonymous said...

Steve Rose writes....

Like others Nick - your honesty and openne3ss does you credit.

The question I ask is whther making a public commitment to health and diet helps or should we keep it private.

Like you and to avoid similar bigwig embarrassment I have started on the diet thing this week. My Chairman announces that I will be losing 4 stone - thanks a lot!

Anyway I'm starting with a week long detox on the Cabbage Soup Diet which I find is a good kick start - I'll lend you the book - 7 days of structured discipline followed by a bit of lifestyle change.

After that I'll be on Slimmers World Red & Green Diet which the nearest and dearest likes - never done it before, usually count calories, but let's see.

To focus the mind even more I'm part of the White Ribbon Campaign event at the Dolphin Centre - aimed at raising awareness about Domestic Abuse amongst men a few of us are taking on an exercise bike challenge on November 28th so, to avoid humiliation, I need to get that fitness work going ...

Good luck mate

miketually said...

"Cabbage Soup Diet"

Yum.

The "Cook Yourself Thin" programme which was on Channel 4, I think, was really good for low fat versions of real food. For a Sunday roast dinner, they swapped beef for chicken, they steamed the veg, swapped the mashed potatoes for sweet potatoes, etc. It might be available on 4OD and there's probably a book.

miketually said...

It was Channel 4: Drop a dress size in six weeks. You could get into that little black number in time for Christmas ;)

Seriously, underneath the badly packaged OTT programme, there were some good ideas in the recipes, so it's worth a look.

Vice Captain of Shoot said...

Exercise is required Nick, please feel free to call me if you would like to come and beat on our shoot in a lovely part of Durham it is hard work but the company is good and you will see some breathtaking scenery.

you also come away with organic and very healthy meat in game, choices being duck pheasant or partridge.


Good Luck.
Gone Fishing.

Anonymous said...

You do not seem to be aware, Councillor Wallis of the LAW on the subject of leaking the progress of a count [after an election or referendum ]to anyone outside the count room. That is one of the reasons the police are in attendance and the Returning Officer has to ensure that the law is upheld on all matters of the election/referendum.

Could it be that there is in fact one rule for the councillors and one for the employees and members of the public? Maybe in your mind and that of Steven Harker, also on his phone at the count according to some. Wasn't Jenny Chapman, another Cabinet Member, one of the others taken to task, yet nothing done about it. Can you make it clear on your blogg just what the law says on this and why councillors chose to ignore both the written instructions of behaviour at the count and the verbal instructions given by the Borough Solicitor to the erring councillors in the count on the day.

You were all OBVIOUSLY instructed to swith off mobile phones. I expect it was your Council phones, that we all pay for, that you were using to break the law.


For those members of the public, can I remind you of the story about this in the Northern echo on the day after the count and the comment made by a council employee working at the count of one rule for them ..............

The standards board may choose to once again be impotent, this only means that they will not act against you in your capacities as councillors as it was not part of a councillors role to oversee the count. It was however overseen by many councillors, some of whom chose not only to break the rules initially, but deteminedly continue to IGNORE the ALLEGED repeated announcement made by the Borough Solicitor, Catherine Whitehead, to switch off and not use mobile phones. i AM TOLD THAT One councillor even went out of the room at that point to continue her telephone call. tHE COUNTING OFFICER ADA BURNS MUST HAVE OBSERVEDAND ALLOWED IT ALL TO CONTINUE QUITE OBVIOUSLY. tHE NORTHERN ECHO MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN TO FOLLOW UP THE MATTER.

There is still your mis-deed as a citizen. Who ensures that this matter is dealt with.

Whether Councillors or citizens, you shoulD all be squirming and not gloating about the incident. You made a gross error of judgement on the day(and so did the other councillors)and are now putting a monumentous noose around your neck by demonstrating how you feel about this issue.

IN BEING ADMITTED TO THE COUNT YOU HAD TO SHOW A CARD ISSUED BY ADA BURNS AS COUNTING OFFICER. THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT GO WITH YOUR ADMISSION CARD ARE OBVIOUSLY MEANT FOR ANY ATTENDEE TO READ AND ACT UPON. tHESE INSTRUCTIONS, IF MY MEMORY SERVES ME CORRECTLY, ARE TO NOT USE YOUYR MOBILE PHONES, AND NOT GIVE PROGRES ON THE COUNT TO THOSE NOT IN ATTENDANCE. ATTENTION IS THEN DRAWN TO RELEVANT INFORMATION ACCOMPANYING THE LETTER REGARDING A declaration of secrecy AND QUOTES FROM THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOLPE ACT 1983.... and a term not exceeding six months imprisonment. BET YOU ARE NOW LOOKING UP THE LAWS ALL YOU PEOPLE AT THE COUNCIL.

Surely it is all the town who are actually against what you did, well not counting the other criminals anyway. HOW CAN YOU BE SO POMPOUS AND UNAWARE OF YOUR BEHAVIOUS AND ITS AFFECTS ON RESIDENTS. YOU PRETEND TO WANT TO LISTEN.. WELL DOO SO AND REISIGN YOUR POST WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.