Now officially over a week into my latest fitness campaign, which has the vague goals of helping me lose up to a stone (14 pounds) in weight and revisiting the general “well-being” feeling that attends being fit, I am still stuck in the inevitable early “hard yards” phase.
The first manifestation relates to episodes of “taking exercise”.
It is in the nature of things – well, to be more accurate, in my nature – that in the early stages of any new fitness programme I have a torrid struggle between my strong motivation (having decided to begin a campaign) to undertake some sort of daily routine or activity and the counter-urge represented by my equally-strong ability to keep finding excuses as to why I cannot do so … well, not just yet.
The second is the challenge represented by my engagements diary.
Yesterday, for example, I was awake broadly between 0130 hours and 2000 hours (without a break) in the cause of attending a part-work, part-play, pub lunch.
This involved me driving for a total of about five hours there and back (an activity that necessarily involves intense concentration) and left me noticeably weary once I finally reached the sanctuary of ‘chez moi’.
All told yesterday I reckon I must have expended a reasonably-large number of calories on the project and yet – the irony was – that my Garmin fitness watch recorded my total number of steps as only 7,267, well below my daily target of 10,000.
Earlier this week I went to a fashionable sports shop downtown in order to buy a couple of T-shirts and a singlet, the better to combat the anticipated heat wave(s) of the coming summer.
Having asked a sales assistant whether she thought my size-choice of “large” garments – as opposed to “small, “medium” or “XL” – was the right one for my body shape, I was invited to go and try them on in a changing-room cubicle.
This was a sobering experience.
The cubicles were not large but had mirrors on all their walls that provided the customer/visitor with at least a 270 – if not 360 – degree view of his or her figure (as contained within the item of clothing they are trying on) in all its glory.
My research on the subject informed me that women are well used to this sort of “enabling” scrutiny and in fact not only accept but demand it in the quest to satisfy themselves that whatever they are considering buying (fashionable or not) presents them to best advantage in public and beyond.
I like to pretend to the world that I am not bothered about the ravages of the passing years or indeed my looks – not least because, of course, most of us don’t have much of a choice other than to make the best we can of what Nature gave us.
On this occasion the experience of “seeing myself as I really am” was a horrifying one.
I don’t know – albeit I have since conducted a small survey which agrees with me – but my suspicion is that most human beings, left to their own devices and ignoring for this purpose any evidence they receive to the contrary, tend to regard themselves as being permanently in their late thirties … er … from when they are actually in their late thirties … until the moment they die.
I know I do.
That’s why the opportunity in the shop’s changing cubicle to see the back of my head and extent of my balding scalp, my vast backside encased in jeans, my rounded shoulders and the rolls of flab that I habitually carry around my stomach and all the way up my hairy and unattractive back came as such a shock.
To be blunt, dear readers, it was a rare sighting of myself as I really am – an elderly gent on the verge of entering his eighth decade on this planet – and not a ripe example of an Alpha Male in his majestic prime …