Why the prospect of unlimited food is no longer a problem – by Ken South

I walk down the stone stairs on to the marble floor that runs the length of the mansion. The sun shines through the double doors lighting up some of the highly valuable paintings that adorn the hallway walls and bounces of the highly polished marble pillars that support the ceiling above the baby grand piano.

The day is just beginning and everyone else is still asleep in the eight guest rooms that occupy the first floor. I enter the kitchen and ponder the first decision of the day. What to have for breakfast?

After all the choice I have is somewhat extensive. A seemingly unlimited choice of cereals, chef’s homemade granola, porridge or fridges full of yoghurts imported from Brittany, fine Italian cold meats and selections of the most expensive Kentish and Sussex handmade cheese’s.

Then there are the free range eggs, the locally produced sausages, home smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes and flat field mushrooms that the chef will cook on his arrival. As I said the choice is seemingly endless.

I then go up to the most expensive coffee machine you can buy and grind the first coffee beans of the day and I make a lovely cup of black coffee. I sit back in one of the many big comfy chairs in the large lounge sipping my cup of freshly made coffee thinking how lucky I am to work in such a lovely historic home.

Oh goodness. You surely didn’t think I owned a mansion did you? How funny. No I just look after the lovely building that has been converted into a beautiful boutique hotel.

Change in attitude

When I had lost a large chunk of my weight I struggled when faced with an abundance of food such as your typical All You Can Eat Restaurants. However when I started becoming more active I found my attitude totally changed. Now I have no problem because I can if I wish eat loads of the right foods as I will in effect burn the calories that they contain. But to be honest I only eat what I need these days.

Take a look at our Enjoy food section on our website

I believe that not only does your occupation but your entire situation can totally dictate your weight, health and more importantly your actual happiness. Let’s be honest everything in life is easier to do and achieve if your happier doing it!

When I was diagnosed with my Type 2 I was helping out in an office and working a shift system. People in the office would spend most of their eight hour job sat in front of their screen tapping on the keyboard and answering their phone. A typical office job I guess? In an eight hour day they would consume 4 or 5 mugs of sugary tea or instant coffee. A can of fizzy drink and a couple of doughnuts and a packet of crisps. Then a mid-morning sandwich and often a fast food based lunch such as KFC or McD’s. When I started I was by far the heaviest guy in the office. When I left I was actually lighter than the majority of employees. I was also the most active employee!

A different view of food

I now view food in two ways. The first is the most common and that is as fuel for my body’s activity. So if I am going to have a busy day I eat to meet that need. The second way is the treat. Now do not confuse what a treat is, is the important thing to remember here. Certain foods are just rubbish and full of things that are simply not good for us. With this in mind how can eating these foods be a treat? So identify what food should be a treat and reward yourself accordingly. Claire my wife bakes amazing cakes and scones and after an active day I might have a slice of cake and knowing all the ingredients that have been used helps.

We all have bad days and mornings. It’s simply life. Life is not always perfect is it? Where my activity’s concerned, as I’ve said before I’m no athlete, just a dad who tries harder. When things are not going well I now sit down and try to work out why.

I actually normally skip the breakfast offerings as they are a bit limited (!) and jump on my bike and ride the eight miles home where Charlie will be waiting at home for Dad to cook up some American style pancakes. We normally have these before heading off on bikes either to school on a school day or the woods at the weekends. Did I mention how lucky I am? Dependent on the day and the ride ahead we may add some toast with a little Marmite for Charlie or peanut butter for dad.

Every day I ride my bike when Charlie is at school or Claire’s at work. Even a short hard ride in the rain means I have tried! Some hills are so steep that I carry my bike as I hike up to the top. As I said it’s all about trying.

On my return home, I place my Lavazza pod in my cheap coffee machine and make the second cup of coffee of the day. I then sit on my settee and guess what? that’s right I think how lucky I am.

Get more information on diabetes and food

I have Type 2 diabetes – what can I eat
Healthy eating
Eating out with diabetes
Take a look at our Enjoy food section on our website

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