When The Going Gets Fat….

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon as I looked back over the blogs I had hitherto written, and as I reached for another double-coated chocolate Tim Tam, I came to the startling realisation that I don’t ‘alf moan a lot – people are better looking than me, thinner than me, have better experiences at the beach than me, make better pork pies than me and so on. There also seemed to be an inherent irony running through these pieces, an irony that had maybe already dawned on the casual reader but not as yet on myself; on the one hand I moan about Melbourne’s beautiful ones, but on the other I proclaim the virtues of heart attack-inducing fatty foods. Something had to be done to straighten out this paradox.  One slightly obvious epiphany later, it was with a heavy and cholesterol-crammed heart that I decided it was time to join the gym in a vain attempt to make this pudgy woman slightly less pudgy…

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not overly insecure about the way I look – I’m couldn’t care less what people think of me in any respect (I wasted most of the eighties concerned about that), and I’m not vain but, as discussed in my first blog, 40 has made me very aware of what I am, and what I am is, shall we say, plump. It gets to the point where your body refuses to put up with any more and all the muscles in your body scream, ‘I can’t do this on my own man, I need your help.  Put the frickin’ donut down man and throw me a bone here. I’m dying I tells ya…’  (apparently my muscles talk like a detective from a 1970s cop show). There is also that moment of realisation that if you do not start to make some lifestyle changes, there is every chance that you will not be there for your child and you will not get to see those important moments in her life; her graduation, her wedding, the first grandchild, and you of course scupper the chance to embarrass her at every given opportunity throughout her life, just as my father did to me (but we’ll save that for another time).

So, after deliberating, researching, eating marshmallows, gargling with Gaviscon and deliberating some more, I decided to do something about my health and ever-expanding waistline.  Now, there are stages one must go through when deciding to join a gymnasium. Stage one, the visit, which consists of an over-zealous teenager bounding around your ankles, yapping about the virtues of their leisure facilities, like a puppy with a new chew toy.

‘And here we have a steam room and sauna. Do you think you’d use something like this?’

I nod and smile.  Me sit in a steam room, feeling like an over-sized dim sum? I don’t think so.  And I can’t think of anything worse than sitting in a very hot, wooden room, breathing in other people’s sweat and farts.  The last time I went in a sauna, the bench was so hot that when I stood up it had branded my buttocks like a flame-grilled Whopper.

‘This is the class exercise room. We have many classes; body pump, body jam, body move, body shop, body work…’ What about body bag, because that is what you’ll be dragging me out in.

So, her boundless enthusiasm, and my husband’s knowing nods compel me to join, and I am dutifully equipped with a membership card, bag and water bottle. Because that makes it all so much better…

Now, stage two.  Let us imagine the preparation the pudgy woman has to go through to get ready for the gym.  Imagine trying to pour a half set vanilla blancmange into two piping bags – a tricky task full of patience and manual dexterity, quite possibly messy, with a lot of spillage – and now imagine me putting on Lycra leggings.  The two tasks are remarkably similar.  Now, let us stand back and marvel at the results – not particularly attractive I grant you – it’s like looking at two stockings full of walnuts.

Bending over to put my trainers on is a feat in itself as, to paraphrase the great Ronnie Corbett, I have to think of other things I can do while I’m down there, mainly so it is not a wasted trip. God only knows what the view from behind must be like while I am grappling with my shoelaces whilst also trying to breathe in an out – probably like two little boys trying to escape out of a collapsed tent. I then equip myself with the items I presume I will need to join the buff and the beautiful; iPod, logo emblazoned gym bag and water bottle, and of course a portable defibrillator, you know, just in case. There is then the small matter of the necessary paperwork – is my will up to date?  Where is my Medicare card? Have I notified all family and friends of my impending exercise and possible subsequent demise?  And then off I go…

With all the gear and no idea, I trot off to my first session – and when I say trot I of course mean drive.   I have my first session with my personal trainer; let’s call him Dave, because that is his name. He is ten years older than me which is a bonus, the last thing I need is one of Zeus’ minions stretching out my thighs as I sweat like a navvy on a shipyard. He also has a bit of a paunch – ironic, but still oddly comforting. We chat. He asks me about my goals (not dying being the main one), my exercise regime (errr, walking to the car?) and my diet (all the major food groups; pasta, bread, butter, steak and Smarties. I’m one Krispy Kreme away from type two diabetes).  Then he asks me to do some stretches to assess my gait, posture and strength.  The only trouble is that he asks me to do this in the foyer, in full view of the beautiful young things that also frequent this gym. I had to squat and twist, lunge and reach, with one consistent and droning thought passing through my mind – ‘don’tfartdon’tfartdon’t fart’.  In an hour, Dave had made up his mind about me and what I needed in terms of diet and exercise and had convinced me to join him for a late supper and a movie. That last bit is a lie – he instead came up with an eating and exercise plan which I am simply desperate to get started on. My first real session is tomorrow – oh joy.

Oh well, a journey of a hundred miles beings with a single step, fail to prepare, prepare to fail, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels and all that bollocks…

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