I used to weigh 25 stone, but the responsibility for the obesity crisis is as much yours as it is mine

I used to weigh 25 and a half stone. Thanks to weight loss surgery and the Slimming World programme, I am now around 13 stone – and aiming to make it to 10 and a half.

In my old life, I couldn’t walk 100 metres without crippling back pain. Last month I hiked 25km for charity, and up some pretty steep hills too. I have gone from being morbidly obese to obese. Soon, I hope, I will just be overweight.

And then, one day I will be a healthy weight.

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Only political pundits are excited by Rory Stewart as Tory leader - everyone else can see his mistakes

Rory Stewart’s bid for Conservative leadership, and to be this country’s next prime minister, is causing quite a buzz. Not among his Tory selectorate or among his colleagues in the wider Conservative Party – the Conservative Home website has him backed by only seven of his fellow MPs this morning. And the voting public doesn’t seem to be particularly impressed with him either: a Com Res poll has him only winning 51 seats for the Conservatives, while the leading candidate Boris Johnson is projected to win 395. I think Johnson’s numbers are inflated and Stewart’s depressed by their relative name recognition, but even so that’s not great for someone who wants to be chosen to fight the next general election.

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Scaling up changes everything. How can we predict its effects?

Policy makers at all levels know what it’s like to watch a scheme that’s have done well at pilot stage fail to succeed when scaled up. What works for 30 children in Loughborough may not work for 1000 in Lagos. Or even London.

That’s not because the ideas were poor in the first place, or because the pilots themselves were poorly run, but because scale affects projects in different ways and as such needs a different evaluative approach.

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Labour supporter—but I still wish Change UK had been more successful

Change UK’s all-but-demise is hardly unexpected. It was a poorly conceived and inadequately run outfit from the start. Given that it was apparently planned for months in advance, that it was so shambolic throughout its short life was even more telling of the failures of those who ran it. Yet even though I didn’t expect it to succeed, I never expected it to fail that badly, that quickly.

I was never going to vote Change and I would never have suggested anyone else do so. I want a socialist government and I vote for a socialist party. But I want that socialist government to be internationalist in its outlook, and an essential part of that for me is campaigning to keep us in the EU.

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Parental leave policy: How to make dads take time for their kids

Spending time with a newborn child is usually a privilege and a pleasure for new parents. But it is also one of the most difficult and stressful times of their lives.

Mothers and fathers who take this time away from work to learn and grow with their children generally report that it has made them more confident — better parents and partners. And increasingly equal involvement for both parents is showing huge dividends in homes and workplaces.

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Review: Drawing the Line

Drawing the line takes place in a room that looks rather like a school gymnasium. Between that and the fact that the ‘line’ is literally represented by a thick piece of rope suspiciously like those we were made to climb as children and this show started by evoking some bad memories.

Thankfully, despite there being plenty of school style activities to take part in, including chalk drawing, building blocks and an interesting take on dodgeball,  this was the last moment I felt that choking fear that anyone was going to make me climb anything.

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Review: Crisis, What Crisis?

If you were to sit down and devise a piece of immersive theatre design to exactly coincide with my life and obsessions, you couldn’t do much better than Crisis, What Crisis.

A political drama set around the vote of no confidence in the Callaghan government you are a group of Labour advisors working at a secret location to solve the labour (and Labour) disputes that are bedevilling the government and putting your wafer-thin majority (just the vote of the speaker in it) in danger of collapse.

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Things You Only Know When You're Plus Size and Online Dating

‘I am already in love with your body.’

In an era of #MeToo, that’s a bold thing for a man to say to a woman he’s barely interacted with on a dating app. I think I’m supposed to be flattered. But when it’s the third sentence in, and both the others have been about his love for big women, you know this man isn’t talking to you – he’s talking to his fixation.

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The Importance of Being Rehearsed

I was recently lucky enough to attend an open rehearsal for Say It Again, SorryCompany’s new production. It’s a sort of meta take on Wilde called The Importance of Being…Earnest?, where the audience not only get to see the behind the scenes drama – every bit as hilarious and farcical as the play itself – but also, through a range of devices, take part.

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