Nuala McCann: There’s a wedding to plan for – and that stone won’t lose itself

Some people are regulars at certain bars; I have various diet clubs on speed dial

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann is an Irish News columnist and writes a weekly radio review.

Feet in socks on weighing scale saying 'uh, oh'
The wedding is a year away and I need to lose a stone (Melissa Ross/Getty Images)

We are planning for our beautiful niece’s wedding.

She is the eldest grandchild; the adored first granddaughter of her granny.

Ma was known to her forever as Granny Peach. I think we’ll all be crying that our girl’s biggest fan won’t be there.

There’s a whole year to wait. But you need to plan early. We have saved the date, we’re hoping to have a mummy, daughter and aunties’ hen do – all four of us – somewhere fancy with mountains of food (oink, oink). Oh, and I plan to lose a stone.

“Ha, ha, ha,” laugh the scales when I put a toe on them.

If you move our scales about, your weight changes – I’m always lighter tottering on one pointed toe to the right of the TV – a perfect arabesque – just at the back window looking on to the garden. Here’s to the 63-year-old sugar plump fairy.

Our blackbird looks on quizzically

Our blackbird looks on from out back, head cocked quizzically. “Seriously?” he says.

“Every little helps,” I mouth through the window.

I have a gold medal in diet clubs round here. Some people are regulars at certain bars; other have various diet clubs on speed dial.

When I want to beat myself up, I chant: “Those who indulge, bulge” and “A minute on the lips, forever on the hips”.

Down the years, the cabbage soup and Mars bars diets have been tested. Sauerkraut is my nemesis.

Inflation has eased for many everyday groceries, including bread, eggs, rice and tea.
I am a devotee of Michael Moseley. I approach eating well with religious zeal (Alamy Stock Photo)

Remember when you bought a new pair of jeans, lay down, pulled them on and used a coathanger to wheak up the zip, then climbed into a cold bath to get them to shrink to your shape? Those mad diets belong to that era too.

More recently, I have foregone carbs and tried to jog my way to health. I am a devotee of Michael Moseley. I approach eating well with religious zeal.

“Just buy the best dark chocolate – one square is enough,” I tell my friends who are also struggling.

But at 4am, I trip trap down the stairs, pour a large coffee and take the whole bar back to bed.

Another reason to love dark chocolate… as if you needed one (Alamy/PA)
Just one square of dark chocolate is enough... sometimes

My niece’s wedding means we’ll all need to wear something fancy. The greatest joy of retirement – besides chucking away the alarm clock – is two pairs of jeans and four black t-shirts. There may have to be a dress. Be very afraid.

“No-one will be looking at you,” laughs my little sister. “We’re the ould aunts at the back of the wedding now, not the young pretty ones at the front.”

This is harsh news. “I feel like the giant puff marshmallow man,” I tell my petite sister.

“You’re not,” she says.

Still, I may have to face the targe in the diet club who told me that it might work if I just stayed for every meeting instead of weighing in and running out the door.

Two people jogging alongside a river on a winter day
Time to get on the trainers if I'm to lose weight (Ben Birchall/PA)

Granny Peach would have laughed at it all. The peach was a nickname that stuck. When she arrived up at primary school to collect her grandaughter one day, the teacher welcomed her with “Hello, Mrs Peach”… that needed a little explaining.

But then Granny Peach loved all of her grandchildren. “You can never spoil a child… the world is harsh enough,” she’d say.

And I’d roll my eyes and remind her that she wasn’t quite like that in ye olden days.

When I want to beat myself up, I chant: ‘Those who indulge, bulge’ and ‘A minute on the lips, forever on the hips’

Ma was strict: cod liver oil, worm syrup, lots of fruit, very few sweets and the 7pm clarion call: “Get upstairs and do your homework.”

She didn’t believe in sick days either. I used to joke that you’d have needed a death certificate to get out of school.

I’d like to turn as mellow as ma with age... but I’m not so sure.

Meanwhile, that stone won’t lose itself. There are streets to pound, and yoghurts to down. Pass me the dark chocolate… just one square, ta.