Growing up in gyms did little to stop me becoming an overweight child.
In fact, sitting at the back of endless step aerobics, spinning, kick boxing and ‘Pump’ classes (as they were known then) munching on a Wispa and making my way through a library worth of novels while my mother enjoyed her sixth straight day of workouts sent me straight in the opposite direction.
By the time I hit 14 I was overweight, hopelessly shy, and could only find solace in the bottom of a bowl or a clean dinner plate. That all changed one fateful summer when a week spent in Salou in the company of new holiday friends saw the beginnings of the demise of the dreaded puppy fat.
That autumn I started a new school looking significantly slighter and slipping into a 28 inch waist skirt for the first time in my life. I’ve yo-yoed a little on the waistline since then, but never come close to the 8-year-old girl in 12-year-old’s clothing I once was.
And yet despite being able to squeeze into despicably tight hoodies and tops, my bottom half has ALWAYS been the bane of my existence. The women of my family are blessed with thicker thighs than most, and mine have always had me reaching for trousers, tights, and longer skirts and shorts.
Last summer, with little to do with my time while recovering from a massive anxiety attack, I decided to take up long distance walking and jogging. Within months my thighs were smaller than they’d ever been and when December’s traumas sent me into a tailspin, I dropped below 9 stone for the first time in my life.
I didn’t look healthy at all, so the excuse to start scoffing rasher sandwiches and drink flavoured lattés when I moved to London was more than welcome. Except now I was sitting at a desk, rather than walking for four hours a day, so the weight just piled back on.
Most of it was shifted by cutting back on treats and doing a bit of walking but heading home on foot isn’t quite so appealing when it’s taking 90 minutes after a 9-6.
So here were are. It’s September. And I’ve done something I swore I never would. Joined a gym – though not without difficulty – and actually set foot in the place. For two whole hours on day one – absolute rookie mistake.
Was going to join @easyGym but the website is down. May as well buy some chocolate in Sainsbury’s and order a chinese takeaway.
— Sarah Doran (@sarahisnothere) September 12, 2015
I know it’ll be worth it, though, when the jeans feel a little looser and the chub rub’s gone again.
Y’see, if there’s one thing growing up in gyms taught me it’s that fad diets aren’t worth talking about. Unless you have a medical condition that requires some form of special intervention, the only way to shift a few pounds is to burn a bit of fat. And what’s the best way to do that? Get up off your arse.
There are plenty of healthy people out there who eat carbohydrates, gobble down foods containing gluten, and even, shock horror, eat sugar. Having grown up with a ridiculously skinny mother who’d spend a morning in the gym and the evening making large saucepans of custard and stewed apple to guzzle down, I know all too well that “everything in moderation” really IS the key.
Last summer I could run 10k in about 54 minutes: Last night, I could barely manage a solid 5, so I’m off on a bit of a gym adventure that I’m blogging about in order to make sure someone makes me keep it up.
It’ll take far longer than ten days to healthily lose any amount of weight, and if I ever start posting gym selfies you have full permission to take the piss.
Oh, and if you see me falling into that “clean eats” claptrap, do me a really big favour and call it for what it is: Bullsh*t.