Thursday, August 25, 2005

Experiments with the truth

It's the absolute truth. I have struggled with my weight since my teens. Always been overweight, a fatty, rolypoly, cuddly, 'healthy'. Tried 548 diets between ages 14 and 19. Gave up at age 20. Decided that it was not to be. The aim shifted from thin to healthy instead. Ok, to a thinnie that sounds like a crock, an excuse from the fattie next door. But to this rolypoly it's a realistic goal.

Anyway, long story short, I'm a healthy fatty (or so I like to believe). I can cycle 45 minutes and cover 13 kms in that time without collapsing in a heap. London has taught me to walk (what seem like) endless stretches and my stamina has gone from strength to strength. I eat/drink a good balance of fresh fruit and veg, pulses and lentils, meat and soya, milk and juices. I swim 30 laps of a fairly large pool once a week. Blah blah blah. I'm still no thinner today than when I began this regimen. I'm still a fatty. Albeit a healthier one.

So what's this post about, really. I got handed a flier boasting a 5 day membership to a fairly fancy gym in my area with no strings (like a photocopy of my credit card) attached. Decided to take the chance and move a step up from standstill cycling in front of our TV each evening (or 3 evenings a week, realistically). The decision was threefold:
a. to see if this place was worth it's money and it IS ridiculously expensive
b. to see if I could exercise 5 days in a row, without losing steam, enthusiasm or a body part (trust me, in some of these complicated treadmill/climb/cycle machine morphs it's not hard to imagine)
c. to see if I could fit planned exercise (classes) into my daily regimen of volunteering, job and house hunting

So starting this past Monday I became the proud owner of a 5 day gym pass. Monday (Day 1) I got myself into a 1 hr Pilates class and then swam 30 laps of the pool. Tuesday (Day 2) I just swam 30 laps and gave up. Today (Day 3, Wednesday) I treadmilled at a fair incline for 40 minutes (it took me 20 minutes before that just to figure out how to get the damn machine to work), attended 'express' Pilates (30 minutes) and did beginners yoga (1 hr). The beginners yoga was anything but. The class immediately launched itself into shoulderstands while I huffed and puffed my way into the most basic poses. Luckily there was one other 'newbie', so we looked equally foolish together. I feel healthy because I'm keeping up with most things, not making a complete idiot of myself in a gym of green beans. The yoga class was just unfair...

So far so good, in terms of value for money (although it has been fairly inconvenient to lug myself to the classes during office lunch hours, especially since I'm not working) and available facilities. With two days to go (and I intend to do a whole host of classes and use the machines) I know for certain that this is not for me. My large shadow needs a slower and cheaper alternate, something less bruising to my ego. My ego can't handle the number of thinnies in the gym. Positively anorexic women who have come to be that way from exessive exercise (or have been planted there by the Thin Peeps Association to make me look bad) . Or maybe it's not they who are anorexic but merely thin by comparison (what all I see through my fat eyes!) to us fatty's.

But hey, what can I say, the thin people need us fatty's, to have something to compare their thinness against. We are the benchmark of what not to be. The holy grail of figures is in the opposite direction. I am the potato amongst the green beans as it were.

The experiment: A play with body image among the legions of thinnies
The absolute truth: I will never be thin. I will always aim to be healthy.


  1. You can't fight some genes. But you can fight laziness and illness if you are fit. Kudos to your spirit. I am the proud owner of love handles but refuse to get off my butt and do anything. Will find out at 40-45 where this will lead me.

  2. Story of my life too, except that I have memories of being lean and muscular for some time between my podgy teens and my decadent 30s.

    Regularity is the key. Keep at it!