Allan Blackburn column: my wake up call

Allan Blackburn.
Allan Blackburn.

Happy Easter. I hope the Easter bunny came to your house and you’ve enjoyed lots of lovely chocolate.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case in our household as I am on a diet.

In fact, I have been for quite some time, so I’m not allowed a full Eater egg to myself.

I am 67 now and used to smoke, in fact I loved a cigarette, but 27 years ago, a friend died suddenly of a heart attack.

We were the same age and it gave me a shock.

It was a real wake up call.

I realised then that I needed to look after myself a lot more and I stopped smoking that very day.

Unfortunately, though, other habits crept in.

I found the hand to mouth action of smoking was what I missed and without even realising it, I replaced this with food.

I think they call it “grazing” now, but I simply loved snacking on crisps, nuts, biscuits etc.

Five years ago I went for my annual MOT and was told I had diabetes and my lifestyle and diet had to change.

I told the doctor I thought I was really good at eating healthy things, but his reply was that I was also very good at eating all the wrong things too!

So, it was out with the fish and chips and Yorkshire puddings.

I still enjoy fish but the unbattered variety and eat lots more chicken now.

The meals weren’t a problem to change, it’s the snacking I still struggle with.

In the evening watching TV, I’m distracted and don’t even realise I’m reaching for the crisps.

While I’m working, reading the paper, doing my paperwork, I feel the need to nibble.

Luckily for me, I have my daughter Dawn, who works in my office there to keep an eye on me.

She’s hard on me and has swapped all my naughty snacks for” Bird seed”.

She says the nuts, grains and seeds are healthy alternatives to crisps – but I still say it’s bird seed.

She says she loves me and wants to keep me alive, so the seeds are here to stay!

Also, I’ve cut down on red wine and now try and a gin and slim line tonic instead.

It’s a way of having a little treat without all the calories.