It’s been an interesting weekend. And I mean that APART from my baking my first ever catastrophic failure of a pavlova, breaking down on the hard shoulder of the M11 in pouring rain and our drain blocking up and emptying into our bath.
We had friends to stay for the weekend down in Suffolk. She is probably my most beautiful friend (and I am, pretty universally, the ugly one with all my friends). Typically of her matter-of-fact attitude, she doesn’t exactly shrug off compliments but says it’s just luck and genes – nothing she can actually take credit for. This is true of course, but also she works very hard at fitness. When we hadn’t been friends that long, she ran the Marathon, despite hating running. I massively enjoyed her rejoinder to all the people saying: “Was it amazing? Did you love it? Was it the best experience of your life?” to which she’d say “Have you ever run a Marathon? It’s 26 miles of hell.” Her latest bout of insanity is something called Tough Mudder which sounds, by even the keenest, fittest point of view, to be utter purgatory, lightly disguised as an obstacle course. So to her usual work in the gym (and she still does run) and cycling into work, she’s doing a lot of circuits and pull-ups to increase her upper body strength.
So she can take credit for some of her good looks – she works hard on her fitness. She’s always looked pretty amazing but I can see the difference in her sculpted shoulders and very tiny waist of all this upper body stuff. Am I jealous? Not really. I’d love to look like her, but I don’t resent her attractiveness. I had a moment of considering going back to doing weights – which I never minded (no-one could actually enjoy weights but it’s okay) but tbh, I think I’d have to lose a LOT of blubber before you could see any sort of muscle definition or leanness. It’s something to consider for when I’ve dropped a few stone. HA! I’ll have a few years to think it over carefully then!
When I did weights, I suppose I must have been stronger, logically, but there was no visible difference. Nor did it make any difference to the scales. Which didn’t give me much incentive to keep going. I used to be mystified by the absolute lack of impact of any type of exercise on my weight – but I’ve subsequently discovered that there is a small proportion of people for whom that is the case. Not running, not cycling, not gym work, not kick boxing (which I did enjoy), not classes, not pilates. No effect whatsoever. Nada. That would be MY lucky genes then. Sigh.
My friend and her husband have travelled quite a bit – both being outdoorsy, intrepid types. I was listening to her talking about swimming in gorges in Australia and I cannot imagine – I literally cannot begin to envisage – not being so stressed about what I look like that I could enjoy such a thing. I haven’t swum for years – and certainly not where people might see me (and yes, the middle of the Australian Bush counts). I was marvelling at the concept of just stripping off and enjoying the moment. It’s akin to riding a unicorn bareback in the level of comprehension I can bring to this. My epiphany didn’t go so far as thinking I could or should do this (the stripping off, not the unicorn riding) – it wouldn’t be fair to mankind generally, quite apart from anything else – but next year we’ll be having a more modest holiday and are talking about hiring a villa/gite in France. It would be amazing if I could be in a position where I didn’t have to fret about my appearance and only concentrate on enjoying the moment. It’s a year away. Surely even I could get to a reasonable size in a year? It would make SUCH a difference to my enjoyment of a hot holiday if I could wear decent clothes and if I could swim, without feeling (and indeed looking) like a less aesthetic whale, it would be amazing.