Outing the inner goddess is a total pain in the soon-to-be-smaller arse. Forget about all the fads and wonder-diets. I’m on the ‘cardiologist’s diet’ – if it tastes good, spit it out.
Mea culpa, gentle readers. I’ve been absent for ages despite my good intentions to post more regularly to these pages. I wish I could say my absence has been because of something wildly exciting and fabulous but I can’t. The last six weeks have been Misery. And that capital ‘M’ is intentional.
I am, you see, on a diet and exercise regime. I have always maintained that there is an absolute goddess within me and, for a while, I was quite happy to let her remain hidden. She’s in there. Somewhere. I know she’s in there. Doesn’t matter that nobody else can see her. I can coax her out anytime I like if I want to. No big deal.
But, over the last 18 months or so, it seemed as if the inner goddess herself was getting a bit lardy. (Either that or she has a twin in there with her). She seemed to be growing which, of course, meant that the outer manifestation was growing too. And could be seen to be growing. I began to think about giving her a bit of a talking to. But it was easier not to. Me and her (or them) ambled along, enjoying our food and believing that whipping cream with a hand whisk constituted a good cardiovascular workout and would sort out the bingo wings to boot.
And then the bubble of total delusion burst. Pure, unadulterated vanity took over. I decided I was not facing another summer of elasticated waistbands and voluminous T-shirts. Time to open the goddess’s chrysalis and let her emerge in all her glory.
But inner goddesses, it seems, get quite reclusive in middle age. They’re decidedly reluctant to allow themselves to be seen and demand an unholy amount of coaxing. They don’t like the fact that their host body is ageing, mostly sedentary, menopausal and popping HRT like Smarties. Doing without the odd treat now and then is no longer enough to entice them out of their confinement. They demand almost total carbohydrate deprivation and a stupid amount of gym time.
And the process is, as stated earlier, pure misery. I’m battling since January and she’s either incredibly shy or incredibly stubborn. Whichever, the process of unleashing her is tiresome. Anyone who’s ever tried it will know.
And what they’ll also know is that there just isn’t an easy way. No magic formula or wonder-food that will do it for you. And, even if you find a way that works for you, there’s no guarantee it will always work. Inner goddesses, the bitches, move the goalposts. Last time I unleashed mine, I did it with a regime of home exercise and a relatively normal diet. Now – four years later – she’s way more demanding. I’ve had to completely alter what I eat, the amount I eat, when I eat it and the way I cook it. Food shopping takes me twice as long as I scrutinise the food values on everything and cooking takes forever as well as I weigh out the ingredients and portions. I almost count the grains of rice and sugar. I put my food on a small plate and eat it with a small knife and fork. It seems bigger and lasts longer that way. I also record every morsel I eat and every drink I sup in a handy little free phone app (My Fitness Pal) which calculates my calories, tracks my progress and shows me graphs of how I’m doing. It also allows me to enter my gym time and gives me a calorie allowance for that. It doesn’t stop me from feeling hungry and miserable but it’s unexplainably motivational and I kinda feel a loyalty to it. (Yes… I know… irrational. Food deprivation, most likely.)
And I’ve had to give in and join a gym. The Wii Fit (aka the Wii Bastard) just doesn’t do it. At least three times a week, I endure 80 minutes of absolute torture. I pound a treadmill, pedal a bicycle and row my way to nowhere on a machine that seems to be in a different time continuum. I close my eyes and try to pretend I’m rowing across a calm sea and, when I think I’ve done about 15 minutes, I open my eyes and look at the display. Generally about six minutes. It is not normal, I tell you. Not normal at all. Dark forces are at work.
But what kills me most about the gym is that it’s full of people who have no business being there. Beautiful specimens of tiny womanhood in designer Lycra and pristine runners. They come in with their fluffy handtowels and big, huge stopwatch wristwatches and do all the posey stuff of stretching and pulling their feet up behind them and all that. Then they park themselves on a treadmill beside me and take off at a rate of knots, their perfect ponytails bobbing along behind their colour-coordinated headbands. Once, I got either intimidated or motivated – I’m not sure which – and tried cranking my speed up to 6kph. Not a good idea. Something started to creak loudly. I’m still not sure whether it was me or the machine. One thing’s for sure – I will never, ever become one of these people who become addicted to the gym. I hate it with a living passion.
The good news, though, is that I’m getting there. The pounds are slowly starting to drop away and my waistbands are loosening. I’m still chasing the correct BMI for my height but that’s creeping ever nearer also. Mind you, I sometimes think it would be easier to grow two inches than lose two pounds.
And, overall, I suppose I must feel better. I don’t know really. Whenever I ask myself how I feel, the answer is invariably the same. Hungry. Always hungry.
So, as the rest of the world welcomes the end of Lenten fasting and anticipates the treats of the Easter feast, my misery continues. I’m staying true to the diet which is, incidentally, informally known as the cardiologists’ diet – if it tastes good, spit it out. And I’ll plod on with the treadmill and other instruments of torture. And I’ll try not to look at the thin, bendy people with the watches and ponytails.
That bitch Gaga goddess has a lot to answer for. But I’m determined to out her. I’ll keep you posted… if I don’t eat my laptop in the meantime.