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A questionable state of mind

Yesterday I continued my new fitness/dietary regime by going to the gym for the second day running. Hard-earned experience has taught me to avoid all diet fads and theories – fibres, carbs, good and bad types of fat, protein must be eaten, protein mustn’t be eaten, fruit or vegetable shakes, and so on – and instead re-group around the eternal truth that volume of food ingested – times exercise taken (presumably calories burned off) – tells you all you need to know and (what’s more) is proved by results.

Not being host to an addictive personality – I can give up the cheroots I sometimes smoke anytime I like, e.g. overnight on a whim, and last did so about ten days ago with no intention of ever returning to them – when left to my own devices, food is not normally a problem.

For example, I also gave up eating desserts in about 1986, this on the straightforward theory that, since eating two courses at a meal was better for my weight and health than eating three, of the traditional three the one I could easiest do without was dessert.

The ironic part was how easily this became accepted within my then social circle. Once word got about that my refusal wasn’t intended as a comment upon the personal cooking skills of any particular hostess of the day or evening (i.e. the fact was I had just genuinely given up eating desserts), attempts to persuade me otherwise soon ceased and in fact at most tables I attended I wasn’t even asked if I’d like one. Perfick.

[Before I go any further I should add that – as with all rules – upon occasion I have breached and/or circumvented my ban upon desserts. That is to say, I’ve had the odd blobs of sorbet, cheese, or similar, from time to time. It’s impossible to hazard even a guess as to how often. Maybe once or twice per annum? In the past I’ve certainly gone as long as at least five years without having any desserts. Thus I guess, in the interests of total accuracy (and my father would have said these two words just don’t go together – his contention being, of course, that something is either accurate or it is not) I should perhaps say that ‘generally I don’t eat dessert’ … rather than ‘I have a rule not to eat dessert, however occasionally don’t stick to it’.]

As it happens, in my weekly life, I don’t always get to the gym or take exercise as often as I’d like.

The reason is partly because of my diary schedule and thence lack of opportunity, and partly because sometimes I am feeling either too lazy or not in the right mood.

This week I got fired up when I jumped on the bathroom scales on Tuesday morning – after a three-day weekend of eating three meals per day – and found myself five pounds heavier than I had been the previous Monday.


gym2I immediately instigated a dietary/fitness regime, consisting of what I regarded as healthier food and a concerted effort to visit the gym regularly.

Tuesday evening’s stint went well – 30 minutes on a stepping machine, half that in the weights room (moderate weights only) and then a ten-minute sauna followed by ten minutes wallowing in the Jacuzzi … and home.

Last night was not so good. Just four minutes on the stepping machine before the discomfort in my soon-to-be-replaced hip became such that I decided to stop and go on to other things.

Let me explain.

When I went for my pre-op assessment last week, one of the standard questions they asked was what form of medication – presumably to combat pain relief – was I currently taking to cope with my hip discomfort. The supplementary query to come was how much and/or how often – or rather it would have been, had I not replied that I never took anything for pain relief. In my view, by providing pain as a symptom, my body was trying to tell me something. I’d rather know that than seek to disguise or mask it – or even cause potential damage – by doing to my body that which it didn’t like.

There’s a thin dividing line between discomfort which you sense is temporary and from which, once you have got going and the proverbial wheels have been oiled etc., your joints and muscles will eventually emerge to attain full and rewarding working order … and the other sort of discomfort, that is to say the type that (you can tell) is just not going to do you any good.

The latter is what I quickly recognised last night on the stepping machine, which is why I stopped almost before I had started.

It would be called ‘living to fight another day’ in some quarters.



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About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts