Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1551183-Losing-Weight
by jake
Rated: ASR · Non-fiction · Biographical · #1551183
Light hearted, biographical reflection on getting fit
Getting into shape. A peculiar expression, have you noticed how the required shape is never mentioned. Will any shape do, if it is functional, and keeps the internal organs in about the right place? Ideal body shape has never been the same for all cultures, and it changes over time, as fashion and society change. It is difficult to imagine that recently, to be fat was a sign that you could afford to eat well.

I can describe my basic shape as similar to a leak, turned so the roots are sticking in the air, with a spare tire about two-thirds up the trunk. So, tubular with a tubeless, you might say, and you would not be far from the truth. When I was much younger I was just tubular, the midriff slowly started expanding and increased exponentially about four years ago, when cigarettes and I separated after four decades of cohabitation, I decided that the return on the investment was negative, and I could no longer stand constantly coughing. I do not believe that I am much overweight, around two-hundred-and-twenty pounds for six foot four in my socks.

As I was about to say before sidetracking, I am not doing this to lose weight. What bothered me was my lack of fitness. Fitness, is another peculiar expression. Fit for exactly what? Purpose you might hazard, and again you are just a hairsbreadth from the truth. Just add to what purpose and we may be getting somewhere.

Now I have to explain a little about my circumstances; I live in a village in rural France. I was employed as a technical writer until recently, when the company I worked for moved to China. Now I am freelancing so I spend a lot of time on the computer, trying to look busy. The purpose then becomes clearer, I just want to go on doing the same stuff I always do, drinking the same amount of wine, eating good food and enjoying myself. I do not care if I lose weight, my problem was that I was feeling fed-up, feeble and tired from doing little. I decided I needed exercise for mind1 and body.

I have always detested sport. No good at games, clumsy and a bit slow, I got chosen near to last when teams were picked for lunchtime football. Jogging was out of the question, I have hated jogging ever since I was talked into it at fourteen by a rugby2 forward3 masquerading as a friend. We set off together on a three-mile run and I have not seen him since, he got his second wind about the time I had used up all my wind options and lay on the side of the road gasping.

I could not find anything to my liking, I chose the lesser evil and decided to walk. Daily, if it is not raining hard, I start along the footpaths and lanes around the village. At first I took it easy, but slowly increased the distance and the speed. I have to admit I have been lucky, this has been a dry winter and early spring, the countryside is not spectacular, but there are bird and animals, I even see deer occasionally. These morning walks have become indispensable, and if I skip three days in a row I get jumpy.

A few week after starting, I began to walk further and faster, doing a circuit of nearly four miles in just over an hour. The funny thing was I was enjoying it, and sometimes had the urge to run. When I was a young I did not know that exercise caused the release of substances into the body and brain, to combat pain, inflammation and to make you feel good, this must be the elusive “second wind” that I was encouraged as a boy to strive for. If some cool friend had told me that you get high on running, I would have persevered, panting after the buzz. If someone had suggested going for walks in the bush (we lived in Africa for a while), and to look out for antelope, but to watch out for snakes and leopard, I would have done it. What I am trying to say is that exercise should be enjoyable, and if you want to encourage someone, then you need to help uncover the persons motivations.

I have been at it for a month now, and I have lost five or six pounds, and I'm feeling better. The goal scored, I will move the goalposts, to “feeling even better.” To achieve this I need some concrete aims, the first of them is to complete, by Christmas, the four miles in forty-five minutes. That means running. To be able to run, I need to lose weight, so although losing weight was not the point, it has become essential. Faced with the choice of giving up wine or butter, I have decided to give up butter.

Health warning: Before doing any exercise, stay in your armchair, telephone the doctor, and get a checkup. This applies not just to people like me, whose principal exercise for the past thirty-five years has been pulling corks. I neglected this pit stop, until yesterday when I saw my family doctor, now I have a rendezvous with a heart specialist, for tests. Not much wrong apart from age and family history but I do not think the doctor wants to take any chances.

1  Lets imagine that I have one, and that you are reading one of my mental exercises.
2  similar to American football without protection.
3  the heavy brigade, thug

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