Who shrunk Darren Scott?
Cape Town - Sport24 presents the second 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,
To this day, I’m still not entirely sure what made me respond to Lisa’s mail, what it was that caught my attention. Maybe it was the urgency of her tone. Perhaps it was a promise that didn’t come with pills or powders attached. The privacy option might have helped, I suppose, or the firm but simple nature of the mail. Or perhaps, as half a cholesterol-infested burger stared back at me, something inside clicked, and I knew that the lifestyle I was so recklessly embracing was going to bring me to an abrupt and unpleasant halt sooner rather than later. And so I responded almost immediately – I had to finish the burger first . . .
Part of me, I suppose, was curious as to what response I’d get – there was a good chance I’d put her off entirely, and even if she did pitch for the meeting, the prospect of trying to drag a smoking, drinking, fast food junkie with a figure that was just about exerting its own gravitational pull, would almost certainly make her decide that Darren Scott was a project beyond even her. Beyond anyone, really: I’d tried the pill method, I’d tried dieting, I’d flirted very occasionally with exercise, and nothing had kept my weight consistent, let alone my lifestyle healthy. In fact, every previous attempt at finding the Kate Moss inside my Kobus Wiese had been decidedly unhealthy, as Lisa’s simple, effective explanation of diet and lifestyle would later make frighteningly clear. Could this be the elusive method that would trim me down, keep my weight stable, and hold off cardiac arrest for a decade or two longer? Well, possibly, but that would mean Lisa would have to agree to take me on. The words ‘Titanic’ and ‘iceberg’ kept coming to mind . . .
But Lisa did come to the meeting, and by the time I’d finished discussing what she had in store for me, it wasn’t her who was having second thoughts. Lisa is blonde, gorgeous, and looks about as threatening as Earl Rose with ball in hand, but even during that first encounter, there were hints at the steel within. I didn’t have a clue just how evil she’d turn out to be (she works as a consultant, I have it on good authority, to the interrogation team at Guantanamo Bay), but there was a quiet determination as she discussed in broad terms how she was going to wrestle me back from the precipice I was teetering above, and there were occasional touches to her delivery of Sir Alex Ferguson addressing a losing Manchester United team at half-time. Her blunt evaluation of my physical condition wasn’t a surprise, as I’d kind of figured Men’s Health wouldn’t be putting me on a cover any time soon, but her solution wasn’t what I was expecting. No pills, no fat-trapping shakes, no vibrating belts to stretch around my belly while I lay on the couch inhaling nuggets and fried chicken. Instead, a simple combination of diet and exercise, and a platform of self-discipline. Nothing more.
As Lisa left, and I ordered a toasted sandwich to supplement the chicken salad I’d ordered for her benefit, I ran through what she’d offered me, and whether it was something I really wanted to do. I had a pretty good life, juggling radio, television and events, and having a lot of fun behaving like a well-paid university student. But the manic lifestyle was taking its toll, and committed as I was to trying it out, salvation wasn’t going to come from McDonald’s. And while taking on a project as substantial as getting myself into shape – and under Lisa’s uncompromising conditions – didn’t at first seem like the solution for someone with little enough free time anyway. Yet, the focus and direction of the regime offered the chance to add some structure to my crazy days, and the idea of turning into a leaner, meaner Darren, ready for anything, was an appealing thought. I could already envision the six-pack and Speedo on the beach . . .
But two simple decisions made me follow through on the agreement I’d given Lisa to embark on the crusade to save me. The first was the acceptance that I was starting to look like Eddie Murphy’s title character in The Nutty Professor, and so no amount of self-denial could cover the fact that I was dangerously unhealthy. That needed to change, and change fast. And then there was the challenge. Anyone stupid enough to accept a daily breakfast and drive radio show on different stations in different cities, and then try and do television as well, probably needs his head examined; I won’t disagree with that, but I’m a natural workaholic, and the more challenging an opportunity, the more I gravitate towards it. Turning my lifestyle around in a matter of months was akin to Ozzie Osbourne trying to become a monk, but I was determined to do it, and so Lisa’s challenge was accepted. I lit another Marlboro to celebrate.
*Extracted from No Fries on Us by Dan Nicholl (Penguin Books). Available at all leading bookstores countrywide.
Look out for part three of Sport24's exclusive extract on Tuesday, November 23.
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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