Cutting out the junk food has helped get Dundee United’s Lewis Toshney in great shape for tomorrow’s Dundee city derby.
But celebrating a victory over the club he used to play for might prove to be the biggest risk yet to his new healthy lifestyle.
The penny has dropped for the former Dundee defender after a conversation with his manager.
And there is no question that Toshney is feeling the benefit of the changes Ray McKinnon recommended.
“I’m feeling much fitter,” he said. “This is a big season for me.
“Last year I had so many injuries which I played through. It was a nightmare.
“The gaffer told me I had to knuckle down and change my lifestyle and stuff like that.
“Eating correctly is now a big thing for me.
“He wanted me to go down and see Christian Dailly before the season started but I wasn’t able to because my knee had swollen up.
“But I’ve come back flying in pre-season.
“My eating wasn’t that bad but I wasn’t as strict as I should have been. Iwant to build myself up and be a box to box full-back. I’m getting there.
“I’ve cut out take-aways after games and stuff like that. I like a Chinese to be fair but they’ve gone. I think June 14 was the last time I had one. Maybe I’ll get one on Sunday if we win!
“I do feel different.
“The eating had nothing to do with the injuries I had, mind you. I was playing with a broken toe and getting injections. It was a nightmare.
“Hopefully the problem with my knee is gone and I can stay clear of injuries.”
If he plays tomorrow, Toshney will become a member of the ‘played for both sides’ club.
It’s something the Dundonian will take in his stride.
“I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere on Sunday,” he said. “Whatever reception I get won’t bother me. I can’t wait.
“It wasn’t as if I supported either team as a kid. I grew up a Celtic fan – my grandad used to take me to their games.
“All that matters is I’m a Dundee United player now and I’ll be giving everything for them on Sunday.
“I played in two derbies for Dundee. One of them was a cup tie at Dens. Then we played them here and someone got sent off – I think it was Gary Irvine. And they scored in the last minute through Michael Gardyne to make it 1-1.
“I enjoyed them.
“It’s a different ball game this time around obviously because I’m on the other side.
“I’m from the area – half of my mates are Dundee fans and half are United. So I get it from both sides.
“It’s special because I know what it means to the city and the fans.
“Bragging rights are for the supporters. Guys like Cammy Kerr and Craig Wighton on their side know like me and Scott Fraser what it means to the supporters.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a massive game for the players as well but it’s just another massive game.”
Progression to the next round of the Betfred Cup could already be guaranteed for both sides by the time they kick off, but who finishes top of the group isn’t the be all and end all in this fixture.
“We want to finish top of the group and be seeded for the last 16,” said Toshney.
“But of course it’s about more than the Betfred Cup.
“The club need this win and the fans want to get the bragging rights back that I talked about.
“To go into our away game at Inverness (the league opener) on the back of four wins in the cup – one of them in a derby – would be a huge confidence boost.
“We’re playing some good football.
“I think the fans are on our side already. The signings the gaffer has made are exciting. If we can go and beat Dundee the fans will be even more behind us.”
Toshney doesn’t believe there will be a ‘Doon Derby’ hangover.
He said: “The gaffer wasn’t involved for that one. I wasn’t here and there weren’t many who were. The boys who were involved, like Mark Durnan, will be hurting and will want to put one over Dundee.”
Meanwhile, Toshney has sent his best wishes to Craig Wighton as he faces up to a long road back from injury.
“I played with Craig at Raith Rovers and I’ll go for a coffee every now and again with him and Cammy,” he said.
“We have a good laugh. It’s terrible news about Craig’s injury. He’s a brilliant talent. The gaffer brought him in at Raith. He was only 18 but you could see what a player he was. I’m gutted for him.”