Approximately once every two years, I start seeing photos of myself that make me want to sob uncontrollably.
It’s not that, in between times, I’m perfectly happy with all the photos I see of myself. It’s more a case of blocking out the awful truth because I’m far too lazy to get off my arse and do something about it. Then, perhaps due to a combination of factors, I start to feel worse and worse about the size of my arms and the extra belly and the twenty chins, and the fact that I’m too lazy to walk down to the corner shop for a bottle of water. When this happens, it just takes one photo to make me freeze in horror, go into mourning, then dry the self-pitiful tears and become determined to do something about it.
Originally, I had included the photo that did it this time, but honestly, I am far too horrified by it to post it here. Let it fade away, hastily untagged in a hopefully-soon-to-be-forgotten Facebook album, never to depress me again. I have cut out all the unnecessary crap from my diet, cut my ridiculous portion sizes in half, and started exercising like a madwoman. It has now been two weeks and my body does not have a clue what’s hit it – mwahahahaha!
My problem with exercise has always been my short attention span and low boredom threshold. I threw myself into swimming in a big way when I was a student, lost loads of weight, got fit, and then got bored with the routine of going to the pool every day, and gave up. A couple of years ago, I bought a Wii Fit and launched into that with great gusto. That lasted for a couple of weeks, then my mind started to die a little bit every time I switched it on to do the same old routine. I gave up.
This time, I am mixing it up in the hope that I can convince my brain that exercise is not mind-numbingly boring (which it is). I work out on my Wii Fit, but if I come home bored at the very thought of it, I pull on my trainers, switch on the pedometer app on my phone, stick in my earphones, and power-walk to (and along) the river, not coming home until I’ve covered at least 5km. My boss has invited me to come along to her gym with her to play a Korean ball game she showed me last summer, which is a lot of fun, good for toning, and will get a post of its own once I figure out what the heck it’s called. And tonight, I started the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred exercise video.
Holy jumping catfish, as my granny might rightfully remark.
My (much thinner, much fitter) friend recommended it to me as a fast but effective workout, and for that reason I am now sitting here unable to walk.
You’re not allowed to take any breaks in this rapid-fire, circuit training-style punishment from the fiery pits of hell. She puts you down on the floor for painful stretchy exercises, then forces you right back up on to your trembling legs for cardio stuff, then has you lunging in all directions with weights in your aching arms. And then you do it again. And again.
“OK, now, back up on your feet, quickly!” she snapped at me as I lay like a sweaty beached whale on the floor after something called ‘abs crunches’. “I can’t!!” I moaned in genuine distress as I tried to pull myself up and realised that my legs were shaking too much to hold me. Towards the end, I threw down my weights (bottles of water!) to get down on the floor for more painful stretchy things, and descended with more of a desperate, wobbly crash than a sprightly bound. I actually had to hold on to the wall when I was showering afterwards, since my legs had apparently turned to useless pillars of jelly.
These events transpired over an hour ago, and I swear my face is still an alarming shade of red. This exercise thing is Not Fun At All.
And yet, strangely, I feel amazing after every single exercise session. Not physically – physically, let’s face it, I want to die – but emotionally. I feel alert and happy and positive, no matter how rubbish or tired I might have been feeling earlier in the day. So, for now, that’s going to keep me at it.
It’d better bloody work, though!