Sheffield union official Andy Belfield is a man with a love of justice, democracy – and flapjack. He also has a keen sense of humour and a way with words.
Now he has combined these qualities to write a book that he hopes will change people’s lives.
It’s not a worthy tome in the usual sense, nor a work of fiction – unless you count the ‘neurocrone’ that helps you lose weight while eating cake and watching TV.
The Eat Less Food Diet book aims to help readers shed stones without investing a small fortune in fancy potions or membership fees; the book itself costs just £3, or £1.50 for an ebook. And it will make you laugh at the same time.
Andy, 45, lost more than two stone in just six months after devising the foolproof method a couple of years ago.
“I felt increasingly uncomfortable with my shape. I was quite sad about it at times and often felt that people judged me because I couldn’t control my own body, or at least what I put in it,” he says.
“The first thing I did was to work out why I wanted to lose weight and to give myself a clear goal. I swayed between wanting to be in One Direction and getting into a great old pair of jeans. I went for the jeans.”
He also decided not to over-do it: “Most dieters, myself included, give in. We say: I’m going to stop eating bread and give up the booze; I’ll go to the gym every day and cook blueberry wholemeal tofu wraps every night. By lunch time we’re eating our own body weight in M&Ms.”
So Andy began cutting back on fatty foods and flapjack, and focusing on getting his five-a-day fruit and veg.
“But because I haven’t given anything up I can still drink – I’m a real ale fan – which makes the odd flapjack sacrifice bearable!”
At home in Millhouses, Andy’s growing focus on what he ate gave him a new interest too. Now he does most of the cooking for wife Nikki and sons Reuben, Dylan and Zach.
“I’ve slowly learnt how to cook, which for me has meant falling in manlove with Jamie Oliver and the Hairy Bikers. If the Hairy Bikers can diet, anyone can!”
And, two years after losing his extra weight, Andy was keen to pass on a few tips to other would-be dieters.
“I found the whole fad diet thing frustrating,” he says. “On average dieters gain four pounds and it’s not surprising. There are diets where we are expected to avoid carbs, to only eat meat, to skip meals, to never skip meals, the Moose Droppings diet…
“We fail because we can’t maintain the habit of eating only yellow foods on a Tuesday so we slip back to our old bad habits. I wanted to write something that was more honest than that.
“Just as importantly, I wanted to make it funny. Trying to diet can be very stressful, worrying at times. I wanted to have a laugh about it.”
The Eat Less Food Diet is available from www.theeatlessfooddiet.com priced £3 for a hard copy (ebook £1.50).