About Counting Calories

My name is Karl Hodge and I am losing weight for a whole year and donating the proceeds from sponsorship to Macmillan Cancer Support.

If you just want to go straight to donating to this very worthy cause you can go to my Just Giving page. If you're outside the EU, you can donate via PayPal instead. I'm trying to lose 5 stones and 2 lbs in weight in 52 weeks for Macmillan Cancer Support. I've shed 42 lbs so far, but there's more to go and I would like to raise £5200 overall. If you want to read on first, here's the full story.

Back in July this year Cancer Research UK re-launched a billboard campaign that compared obesity to smoking. The ads, created by the London branch of ad agency Anomaly featured the word “Obesity” on mocked up cigarette packets.

I walked past one of these adverts and did a double-take. I am aware of the health issues associated with being overweight. But being overweight is not smoking. Smoking is a choice. I know – I was a heavy smoker for a decade and gave up in four weeks.

However, due to a medical condition that makes it difficult to regulate my diet, I'm now overweight too. For me controlling my weight has been an everyday struggle for 10 years. That's the case for many people who are obese.

People can gain weight through poor insulin control, like me, or it can be a result of genetics, stress, mental health issues, medications, sleep disorders or one of a variety of underlying organic conditions (like leptin resistance, an underactive thyroid, peptic ulcers etc).

It is not always as simple as eat less, exercise more. What is effective for some people is not effective for others. And even if there are no underlying health conditions, losing weight cannot be compared to giving up smoking. Losing weight takes a concerted lifestyle change.

The ads used by Cancer Research UK simplify the reality of the issue. Obesity does lead to an increase in cancers. That's true. I can see that the intention was to say “the effects of obesity are as serious as the effects of smoking” but the campaign fails to do that.

So – my response to this is, I will turn this negative into a positive. I will spend a year losing weight and document this publically (on this blog), as part of a campaign to raise money for a cancer charity. I've chosen Macmillan Cancer Support.

Although I do know that Cancer Research UK does great work, I don't feel I could raise money for a charity that seems not to care about the complexities of another serious medical issue. Obesity is a problem in and of itself, as part of a network of social and medical conditions.

I want to demonstrate that it's no picnic losing weight – especially if your weight gain is due to another condition. It's not as easy as slapping on a couple of patches or switching to a vape. So, I originally planned to lose 1lb a week for the next year and document it. 52 lbs, total.

Four months in, a changed the goal to 72 lbs! That's 5 stones and 2 lbs. I wanted to push myself harder.

My ideal goal would be to raise £5200. There are lots of details I've left out of this thread. You can read the full story on my campaign page – where I'll also document my progress – and please, help me to raise £5200 for Macmillan Cancer Support.