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Recently Wil Wheaton published Seven things I did to reboot my life.

Incidently a famouse news blog, owned by a very rich american, asked him to let them republish. The price would be "exposure" also know as "bugger all", zip, zilch, nadda, nothing, thin air or sometimes 0.00p. Quite rightly, he told them that as they can afford to pay writers, they should. Amen to that.

Anyway, back to rebooting one's life. Wil Wheaton writes very honestly about that old black dog, depression. I would just like to point out that we know where you are coming from, Wil.

Given that I am a geek prone to working out general principles, I thought I would give you seven principles of life rebooting that are based on Wil Wheaton's example and my own experiences. Mostly because it is easier than talking about my own struggles.

1. Let yourself be happy.

Will Wheaton cuts right to the quick and points out that his own depression had tricked him into feeling that he did not deserve to be happy. That's why depression is such a bitch. If you never had had it, you do not know how lucky you are; trust us, you don't.

Thing zero (computer geeks count from zero) that Will Wheaton might not know he did (he never outright says so) was he started to remind himself that he did deserve to be happy.

You deserve to be happy to on account of being alive. It might not feel like it, but so do I.

Principle one is this - remind yourself that you deserve to be happy and then go ahead and be happy even if Black Dog makes a fuss.

Do this every day. Make it part of your start of day routine. Do something every day that reminds you that you are allowed to be happy. It makes everything easier.

» Keep reading 7 Principles for rebooting your life

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 29/10/2015 · [permalink] · Add comment

These past few months this blog's eponymous fatty has been realising that being a tubby mo-fo is the least of his problems.

On Pilgrimage

For starters I have come to one of those call a spade, a spade moments and realised that what is going on with me is basically arthritis of the rheumatoid variety. That's why my back hurts, my hip, knees and neck hurt and why, this week, my fingers started hurting. It is why I will never run again.

It hurts and there is no upside unless you count not being able to hold a bowling ball, play football very badly or stand in queues for hours at conventions to meet famous geeks.

I have come to see that earning a hundred quid a day is a pipe dream. That hurts a bit because it was a nice round numbered goal and easy to work out percentages against (fifty quid is fifty percent).

I also had to admit that I need help doing stuff. Simple stuff like taking out the rubbish, changing the cat litter and all those apparently tiny household chores that arthritis makes difficult. Paying for that help has been a whole other story.

» Keep reading Fatty vs Despair: A Canterbury Tale

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 04/08/2015 · [permalink] · Add comment

Why cutting out sugar in your tea is helpful and also pointless.

It is no secret that the "secret" to weight loss is getting your body to burn fat and so giving it something easier to burn (like sugar) is not what we like to call helpful.

There are times when I get into conversations with Dieting Fundamentalists who seem to insist that I am doomed to fat biffer hell forever because I like my tea with sugar.

Sure sugar is one thing you want less of. It gets in the way of getting your body to burn fat. However everything is good in moderation.

A spoon of sugar is about 4.2g of the stuff. But did you know that there are only 16 Calories to a spoon of sugar?

That's it. About one eighth of a smallish potato or just under 86.5g of tin tomatoes.

For someone like me who only has a few cups of tea a day this really is not a big deal. On the other hand if you are a total tea fiend like some of my firends who drink gallons of the stuff daily then this chart is for you.

I've compiled a list of sugar in spoons and grams as well as calorie cost of a hot beverage with one and with two teaspoons of sugar in it.

The last column expects you to be drinking a can of fizzy drink which has (according to this site) about 39g of sugar in it giving 140 calories from sugar which is 9.29 tsp of sugar by weight of 8.75 by calories. I rounded and called it 9 spoons of sugar per can.

Calories per day by beverage and tsp of sugar

Beverages 1 tsp 2 tsp 9 tsp*
1 1 tsp (4.2g)
16 Calories
2 tsp (8.4g)
32 Calories
9 tsp (37.8g)
144 Calories
2 2 tsp (8.4g)
32 Calories
4 tsp (16.8g)
64 Calories
18 tsp (75.6g)
288 Calories
3 3 tsp (12.6g)
48 Calories
6 tsp (25.2g)
96 Calories
27 tsp (113.4g)
432 Calories
4 4 tsp (16.8g)
64 Calories
8 tsp (33.6g)
128 Calories
36 tsp (151.2g)
576 Calories
5 5 tsp (21g)
80 Calories
10 tsp (42g)
160 Calories
45 tsp (189g)
720 Calories
6 6 tsp (25.2g)
96 Calories
12 tsp (50.4g)
192 Calories
54 tsp (226.8g)
864 Calories
7 7 tsp (29.4g)
112 Calories
14 tsp (58.8g)
224 Calories
63 tsp (264.6g)
1008 Calories
8 8 tsp (33.6g)
128 Calories
16 tsp (67.2g)
256 Calories
72 tsp (302.4g)
1152 Calories
9 9 tsp (37.8g)
144 Calories
18 tsp (75.6g)
288 Calories
81 tsp (340.2g)
1296 Calories
10 10 tsp (42g)
160 Calories
20 tsp (84g)
320 Calories
90 tsp (378g)
1440 Calories
11 11 tsp (46.2g)
176 Calories
22 tsp (92.4g)
352 Calories
99 tsp (415.8g)
1584 Calories
12 12 tsp (50.4g)
192 Calories
24 tsp (100.8g)
384 Calories
108 tsp (453.6g)
1728 Calories

* can of fizzy drink

This easily explains why when I had a job wherein there were free fizzy drinks for all I put on two stone and yet if I have a single cup of tea (or coffee) with a little sugar it is no big deal.

I will leave it up to you to decided if for you it is worth reducing the number of sugars you have in your hot beverage. For me it is no big deal but were I drinking ten cups a day then I would probably need to cut that out.

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 17/05/2015 · [permalink] · Add comment

Fast days are generally no fun for us food lovers. Here are a few ideas to make them better.

Given that I am getting fatter I have chosen to take on the challenge of alternative day fasting using the 5:2 method. That means two days a week I do not get to eat very much as my calorie count has an upper maximum of 600.

That's a huge restriction for someone that really likes full sugar cola, cakes and burgers but is none-to-keen on veg.


Here are ten things that might make those fast days less painful.

» Keep reading 10 Things you can do to make fast days less painful

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 13/05/2015 · [permalink] · Add comment

Oh my gosh and golly the Big Fat Guy is back.

Hello there the one or two of you that subscribe to my feed. I would apologise for being absent but you probably don't care about that so let us move on to the first Confession of a Big Fat Biffer of 2015.

One of the side effects of living in pain is the tendency to do less. As a fatty this means watching Netflix and pretending that it is not because I am lazy.

Obviously I do not watch Netflix all day because that would get old fast. I mix it up with days of writing and coding and all that other stuff that I can do from the comfort of my favourite chair.

More recently I stood for election (again) to my local council. One thing the campaign brought home is how inactive I have allowed myself to become due, in no small part, to how fat I look in the photographs.

It also does not help that I look like some hunched up old hobo because Ankylosing Spondylitis causes the spine to gradually resemble a banana.

I figured that all that walking about (not to mention the skipped meals) would result in weight loss. If pain was an indicator of progress I should have lost about seven stone. The scales, therefore have lied to me and said that I have gain instead of lost.


I always said that I would give the 5:2 version of Alternate Day Fasting a go and yet, because that sounds like no fun at all, I never have. I imagine that two days a week I will be faced with nothing but the rumble of my tummy and a mountain of my least favourite food group - vegetation.

However having just crossed the twenty stone barrier again I feel I have no choice but to do something about it. It is that or be confined to a wheel chair by the time I am fifty. Pants to that! I don't get out among the wilds and the trees that I love so much all that often as it is.

Action must be taken. Even so, I draw the line at peas. I really do hate peas.

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 12/05/2015 · [permalink] · Add comment

For a fatty like me NaNoWriMo is the ultimate sport.

There is an element of competition, I am good at it and it can be done sat on my big fat arse.

This fatty loves telling stories and some days loves not writing them but blogging about it instead.

That said I will be stripping back the fat. The fat of too many tasks in my Habit RPG daily task list. Having set that list up with the idealised version of super productive me I have to face the fact that no human being is actually that good. So enough setting myself up to fail and more writing and telling stories.

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 03/11/2014 · [permalink] · Add comment

Normally I keep my thoughts on black dog to this blog but for a very specific reason I broke that rule today.

It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. Wrote Paul Gallico in "Confessions of a Story Writer".

Sometimes you need to get a little red upon your readers.

The main gist of the article was: "The sky won't fall forever" which is my way of reminding myself that it's can't rain all the time. The quote about rain is something that has lived with me since I first watched the movie "The Crow".

It's like the idea that it will not rain forever has carried me along like a universal truth, because maybe it is. Or maybe that film just came along at just the right time to say some things I could not give voice to. "The Crow" is one of those things that has always stayed with me and not for the reasons that most of the mainstream could ever understand.

Perhaps I really did just want to be more honest with my blogging or maybe this was just a cry for help that could safely be ignored. Then again the message was not to loose hope and as "Hope Is Posssible" points out:

So if that blog post of mine was a cry for help it was a cry for help in not forgetting that the storm will end one day.

Until then there is always time to lie a few more times and say everything is "fine".

Here's a pretty link to the article in question.

Don't let me forget...

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 30/09/2014 · [permalink] · Add comment

Unlike most times this time I have some really meaty reasons for the barking.

Normally when the black dog of depression barks I have no particular reason that I can give as to why. This time is different. there is whopping great reason and I am honestly not sure how much I can legitimately talk about in public which is just making this whole thing worse.

If you fancy coming on and talking about health for a while I could use a guest writer...

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 05/09/2014 · [permalink] · Add comment

I must take a trip to the dentist tomorrow for a filling. I must confess that I am not looking forward to it.

It is not so much the wait before hand as I am good at daydreaming and distracting myself. It is not so much the work itself, after all my mouth will be numb. It's the injection that starts everything off. That is possibly the most deeply unpleasant feeling on the planet. Second only to the dribbling numb mouth mess that I am after.

Still, it could be worse, I could be having a tooth pulled out. Eeek.

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 03/09/2014 · [permalink] · Add comment

I have challenged myself to carry out at least one unconditional act of kindness each day.

Easy, thought I, I like being nice to people. This will be a walk in the park.

How wrong I was.

The problem I have is that while I enjoy being a nice person I am also something of a hermit and prone to bouts of shyness. As a result I am struggling to come up with daily ideas for spreading a little joy in the world.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: Matthew Brown on 29/08/2014 · [permalink] · 2 Comments