You may have noticed the New Year's resolute jogging on the street or heading to the gym in the first week of 2012. I don't do resolutions but I look like I'm in their gang. I joined a gym at the end of November when a savings plan matured; it was either that or a holiday. I was proud of my decision of long-term over short-term benefit and began with gusto and determination. Just as I was getting into it after a mere two weeks I was struck down for a month with a hideous cold that was doing the rounds.
I don't really enjoy the idea of the gym, as I'm quite lazy and sedentary for the most part. The more I go the more I find a routine and stick to it. The thing is my body is slow to respond to exercise. As I hate cardio it takes even longer. I bore easily. Add to that my impatience at not seeing results fast enough and the reluctance to give things up or cut things out and you have a spiritless gym patron.
I decided it was time to get fit & healthy after a couple of years of excess. I know what to eat and what to avoid. I know my alcohol intake was too high. I know the rules I just have a problem following them. I no longer want to be a lazy cow but shoot me if I become a gym bunny.
I don't diet apart from the only one that works that was thrust upon me almost three years ago; the heartbreak diet. I was at my heaviest weight of my life and in four and a half months lost just over two stone. Every cloud as they say...
I managed to keep that weight off for eight months. A three-week trip to Latin America brought the first half stone and I was happy to maintain that for a further eight months but then my gym membership expired. I moved to a place up a steep hill with lots of stairs and began training for a mountain climb so God only knows why or rather where the next stone came from. No, it wasn't muscle mass weighing more; it was fat.
A few more months brought a few more pounds.
2012 started with me only 9 lbs from the weight I was three years ago. It's going to be hard to shift the 7lbs and couple of inches I don't want hanging around (literally). I know men hate women moaning about weight, in fact I hope women do too because it's boring. I don't go on about it but here I am going on about it but it's not mine that's on my mind.
I managed three gym visits this week and today culminated in a Body Balance class. The instructor walked in and immediately asked "Who's put on weight over Christmas?"
I've never been to this particular class before so hadn't encountered this woman thus far. She proceeded to tell us how fat she's feeling because she put on 4lbs. Now forgive me but my face displayed the most incredulous expression. This woman must be a size 6 if not a size 0, petite and probably has less than 10% body fat.
My astonishment quickly turned to disappointment followed by disconcertment. There I was feeling pretty exposed in my fitted gym gear, with lumps and bumps protruding at all angles easily visible in the mirror. I am at a class trying to do something about my shape but feeling more deflated than encouraged. I felt sad that the woman in front of me sees herself as fat - she spoke of it another three times during the hour. If she is fat, I should by comparison be on TV's The Biggest Loser. Personally I don't find the instructor's body attractive. In my opinion it is too thin, not slim, and lacks any shape or curves. It also looks like its owner is the owner of a severely distorted body image as well, not to mention the likely eating disorder that she alluded to. I can't help feeling how detrimental it could be to have someone who puts that kind of pressure on herself as a picture of health teaching a class at a gym.
Is that kind of extremity the right message to be sending?
I couldn't help but wonder given my close proximity whether she was looking at me thinking how huge I am. I am not huge. I am not obese. I'm not even fat. I am just a little uncomfortable with how I look and feel but that's it. I am 5ft 3, size 10-12, curvy and carrying a few extra pounds. I watch my weight and when I say watch, I literally mean it; I look at the scales and tape measure to keep an eye on the figures of my figure.
So whilst I'll be attempting to make it to the gym three times a week, drinking less alcohol and eating sensibly without denying myself, I won't be taking it that far. Indeed I won't be taking it too far at all.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters - including myself - may be entirely fictitious.
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