Agony. Bloody aching and hurty ankles. Painful shoulders and neck. Still finding it difficult to move around after yesterday’s exertions. “Crikey, Trev”, I hear you chorus, “What did you do? Swim the Channel? Run a marathon instead of eating one? Cycle across England again (I’ve actually done this twice when I was younger and, consequently, more mobile and the sheer thought of such a thing didn’t reduce me to a gibbering mass)? To which the answer is no, none of the above. So, what was this Herculean task that I undertook that reduced me to this crawling, agonised, whimpering (that’s a good word) lump with bones in?
I walked to the shops. I know, I know. Walked to the bloody shops. I can hear the laughter welling up, so stop it now. It’s over a mile each way, you know. Why is this such a big deal for me, then? I shall tell you (after all, I’ve got to do something to shut you up). I now weigh over 20 stone (131kg, I think). This, coupled with my distinct lack of height, means I have a Body Mass Index similar to that of Jupiter and could, according to the many and varied healthcare professionals who drift into my orbit (and quite a few helpful, public-spirited passers-by) stand to lose the odd gram or two. Quite. How did you get in this parlous state, Trev, goes up the cry? To which I reply “Apart from the pies, you mean”? Well, gather round and I’ll tell ‘ee a tale.
To begin with, I was astonishingly sylph-like up until grammar school. For some reason (probably not being too bothered about playing rugby, which seemed like legalised maiming to me – and still does, for that matter) I began to put on weight. Add to that my passion for reading, especially science-fiction short stories and the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, and the compulsory doing of lots of homework, and now I think we’re all beginning to build up a picture. This brings us to the pies. I love pies so much that I might give them their own post – maybe not on here but on my other blog, going into the history and that. When I say “pies”, I mean steak and kidney, pork, etc.. Not fruit pies. A home-made apple pie is alright, I suppose, but it’s not really what floats my personal aquatic surface transport. No, it has to be proper, meat-filled pies with absolutely none of this “pastry crust on a bowl of meat”, oh no. That’s not a pie – it’s a lie, as I forget who said. There’s even a Facebook group on the subject. Mind you, there’s probably a Facebook group about that cat that looks like Hitler. Anyway, I’m sure you comprehend the visual depiction. If there’s any foodstuff that can be guaranteed to turn one into a turnover then it’s the pie. Then there’s my thyroid. The more faithful of you, my dear reader(s), may have read my post on this very blog about how hypothyroidism (the under-production of the thyroid hormone) adds to such a scenario as being able to work as a department store Father Christmas without padding. These, of themselves, are bad enough. “What about all this cycling, though?” I would shout if I were you (actually I wouldn’t be that rude, but we’ll let that pass for now). That fell by the wayside when we moved to London. My ex-wife and I used to cycle lots; the Essex countryside (yes, it exists. It’s not just Romford connected to Southend-on-Sea, you know) the Isle of Wight, the Coast-to-Coast rides above and a few times in France. One day we moved to the Smoke and, by some means or other, that was that. Anyway, when I finally went solo from the marriage, I only ended up cycling a couple of times. The traffic didn’t worry me unduly but I never regained my enthusiasm. Then there is also depriving yourself ofvitamin D. If you do not expose the body to small yet regular doses of sunlight (and we’re talking face and forearms here – not mankinis in the street) one’s body stops making vitamin D and the many enhancements it brings to one’s life – including less depression – are not present. I hope you see a pattern forming. The final step was the PC. My PC is used, as I’m sure most of yours are, for lots of different functions; games, blogging, staying in touch with friends and family, music, films, finding out about local events, etc., etc.. Let’s recap, shall we? I don’t cycle any more, I eat food which piles onto my midriff with no steady release of energy and I don’t feel up to going out thanks to those twin Dementors, Hypothyroidism and depression. So, the inevitable happens. I inflate. I also become acclimatised to hiding in a corner and vicariously attempting to exist through the computer. What happens next? Well, what did happen next? I spent most of the last fifteen years (!) or thereabouts as solidly glued to the wall of my flat as mould – only considerably less cheerful, decorative and fun to be with. It still astonishes me that I managed to find and become engaged to the love of my life in that time. Why, then, am I now starting to move around, attend dietician’s meetings, go up the shops and some such? Why now, Trev?
Things sometimes have to get worse before they get better. Last year I told my GP that I felt a tad down yet again and they put me on to a new initiative known as the Wandsworth Psychological Therapies and Wellbeing Service. They are fairly new, having been formed within the last two or three years. The psychologist assesses one, treats one then suggests other bits and bobs to help. Whilst it’s true that my GP also recommended some of the same treatments it is completely different when someone expects you to actually – say - walk to a meeting as opposed to suggesting that it might be a good idea at one time or another. It was as a direct result of this intervention that I started to move around and to schedule meetings with other medical folk to get my physical health looked at some more. These folk include Wandsworth Council’s own physical activity scheme and the NHS Dietician, to whose tender mercies I have subjected my diet.
It’s astonishingly early days, yet. I still haven’t got the gym sessions (which were supposed to have started this Monday just gone) sorted out as my feet are retaining water and currently look like a pair of novelty foam slippers on my normal feet and, if I may refer you to the top of this post, hurt even if I go down the shops. I’ll e-mail them (thy gym; not my feet) when I’ve finished this. The diet, though, is (if I say so myself) starting off okay, with veg outnumbering everything except bread (which is wholemeal, at least). Please may I ask you, then, to cross your fingers, pray to your gods and wish me well in my quest for happiness AND fitness. I thank you and although you haven’t asked I’ll keep you informed as to my progress. No, no, don’t thank me – oh…