Cutting Darren down to size
Cape Town - Sport24 presents the first in a four-part exclusive extract from the no-holds barred account of Darren Scott's inspiring weight-loss journey. Written by Dan Nicholl in conjunction with trainer Lisa Raleigh, the book is filled with exercising tips, healthy diet alternatives and detailed information on discovering (and sustaining!) a healthier, trimmer body.
I left for the USA to live in 1992. My plan was to do radio, maybe television (I had already done M-Net for five years), but I learnt that the USA is a completely different place to home when it comes to opportunities for people from a place that not many Yanks even knew was a country. To them, we were all Australian-like with cute accents and knew people in ‘next door’ Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
It is a frustrating place to live, although it’s a great place to visit. The people are naïve about their own country, let alone what happens in the rest of the world, and constantly talk in sound bites and paraphrases.
I eventually found solace in West Indian cricket buddies in Atlanta, and what I called ‘Kilogram Alley’. You find a million of the latter all over the States, not just where I was. In my street on Roswell Road, Atlanta, I had a flat, great television from wake-up to Letterman, and to keep my couch-potato self company, I had access to a McDonald’s for my burgers, which was across the road from Wendy’s (best fries and milkshakes).
On the next block was Burger King (the Whopper is still the best fast food burger around), Checkers for that extra burger, and KFC, which had just come out with sprinkle pops (plus a five-piece to eat on the way back to the flat). Not to mention a stop at the Circle K for Gummi Bears, Marlboros, plus a packet or two of Doritos plain nachos with accompanying jalapeno cheese dip – unequalled anywhere in the world, and still my favourite snack, even if I don’t partake of it, except for one day a year when my dad brings a single sample of jalapeno dip out, which I then enjoy with Woolies nachos. (See? You can! Portion control!) Believe me, there is a choice of ten to fifteen junk food places in any given block in just about every American city. And they still wonder why they have a massive obesity problem . . . (As you will read later on, going on honeymoon for two weeks over there and trying to find a place that serves something not fried, not covered in oil or sauce, and somewhere within the calorie allowance for a day, let alone a decent meal, is harder to find than Bin Laden. Why he wants to kill Americans using bombers and planes is beyond me – he should just buy all their fast food outlets, and wait for them to do the job themselves.)
Needless to say, my seven-day-a-week vigil on the couch was accompanied by all of the above nutrition, along with game show television on USA Channel, Saturday Night Live classics on Comedy Central, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune before the Prime Time comedy evenings, a quick trip down Kilogram Alley to stock up, and then baseball, a bit of drama and Letterman, before bedding down feeling bloated, and vowing to change my ways the next morning.
The next morning I would wake up, throw away whatever junk food was still available in my apartment, break all my cigarettes and toss them away, vow to change my lifestyle and go and get a job, before climbing in the car within the hour because I was so desperate for a smoke that I had to head back to the Circle K. From that moment on, it was back to the previous day’s schedule – I kid you not!
This went on for six months before I decided to get the hell out of Atlanta, head back to Orlando, and stay with my dad. That didn’t help. His fridge and pantry were stocked full of the stuff that I had to drive to go and get in Atlanta! And he always had more Coke than I could ever drink. Plus, I had started getting cellulitis attacks from my lymphoedema problem.
It was time to get the hell out.
*Extracted from No Fries on Us by Dan Nicholl (Penguin Books). Available at all leading bookstores countrywide.
Look out for part two of Sport24's exclusive extract on Monday, November 22.
Darren Scott is SuperSport's prime studio anchor for rugby, and daily prime time radio host on Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio.
Lisa Raleigh is a passionate lifestyle and wellness espect and trainer on The Biggest Loser South Africa.
Dan Nicholl is an MC, broadcaster, writer and CEO of Skududu Media.
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Darren Scott, Lisa Raleigh and Dan Nicholl at the No Fries on Us book launch