Louise’s Column – Issue 62


Posted by in March's Magazine

I have become that Philadelphia cream cheese girl, packaging up different toppings in Tupperware boxes (formerly Chinese take-away leftovers – before the health kick of course!). Cherry tomatoes, cucumber strips, chicken pulled from the Sunday carcass…all designed to transform my cardboard rectangles of Ryvita into something edible. Like many of you out there, I’ve been trying to turn over a healthy new leaf since New Year. For me, it began in November, the month I joined the gym – for the third time in ten years! With the low joining fee and equally low monthly fees, and the fact I had to walk past this new gym every day to go to work, with posters plastered everywhere and even someone handing out leaflets, I eventually saw it as a sign, my last great hope to transform my couch potato lifestyle.

The most exercise I was getting with my desk job and bus pass, was the fifteen minutes of activity involved in preparing dinner each night – a bit of chopping and peeling – as I created a huge carb feast, which was demolished quicker than it was prepared. I’d then collapse on the sofa and watch TV before going to bed. The following day, it would start all over again. I really had no choice but to join a gym, or at least give it another bash – see if I could make it work this time.

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But just four months in, around the time that John Lewis was dismantling its window display of exercise equipment, my enthusiasm was starting to wane. So far, I’d scarcely managed to go three times in any given week which. Instead, I was going to the gym on average once or twice a week. It didn’t help that I’d gained 3lbs since joining, and that included some lean lunches of Philadelphia cream cheese (light!) and crackers. When I moaned about this to one of my colleagues at work they suggested I’d gained muscle weight. Nice try, but who were we kidding? I’d have to be going more often than that to be in danger of building up muscle tone.

Jazzed up lunch
Maybe the answer was going every other day at lunchtime – thirty minutes endurance training before letting rip on my crackers. It would get me away from my desk and barely interrupt my day. Surely that would and should make a difference? I nearly initiated this regime a few days ago, having been absent from the gym for a few days, but I couldn’t find my trainers and if I wasn’t careful I was going to miss the bus to work, so it didn’t happen. Funny how easily little things get in the way of the best-laid plans, you’ve had a crap day at work, you haven’t had enough fluids… I even used the excuse that it was simply too cold to get undressed, not even glancing up at the gym as I scuttled past.

I took up the offer of a free personal training session thinking it might inspire me. I’m not sure if it did. We didn’t go near the gym equipment, except for a warm up on the treadmill. The rest of the time we spent on the mats, doing a series of burpees, lunges and stomach crunches to name but a few of the exercises I was instructed to do – 20 reps of each, four circuits. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my tightly bound chest (shock absorber sports bra!). “You can do it!” “Don’t give up now.” “Just one more burpee.” He was a really nice guy, clearly knew what he was talking about, and he’d been the personal trainer for the Dundee football team so a forty-one year old woman should have been a breeze. Or so he thought, as I tried to catch my breath, gulping water from my plastic bottle as if it was my last, whilst moaning about the burpees. God, they hurt!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking for a way out. I’m just waiting for the day I suddenly start to enjoy it, and need it! When are those endorphins that everyone talks about going to kick in? At the moment going to the gym is like brushing my teeth – it’s a nuisance but something that’s got be done. In the meantime I’ll keep foraging in the fridge for healthy titbits to jazz up my lunch of cheese and crackers, and maybe this week I’ll find it in me to go to the gym every other day. Wish me luck!

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