I bumped into my old school friend Mandy a few months ago and agreed to meet up for a chat over a meal at a local restaurant. As you can imagine we had plenty to talk about having not seen each other for more than fifteen years. It turns out that she is married with two children and so am I.
After a long and interesting chat about our lives and experiences the subject turned to dieting, she sometimes feels a bit depressed about gaining so much weight after having her children (although I did notice she had extra chips and a whopping big slice of gateau). She told me that she and the children were looking through her wedding album recently and they wanted to know who daddy's first wife was in the photos. Maybe she had lost her sense of humour as well.
We had a few glasses of wine both of us agreed to try to lose weight together and monitor each others progress, a kind of incentive if you like. It always amazes me what you agree to after a few drinks.
Here's how we went about mission impossible.
Both of us joined the local keep fit classes (well you have to start somewhere) all went well until Mandy split her jogging pants doing the simplest exercise ever. Retiring to the pub to drown our sorrows with slimline tonic didn't seem do work very well but adding a double vodka did the trick and the second one worked even better. They do say not rush into these things the body likes slow changes in terms of exercise. We agreed to take it a bit more serious when we went to the next class. Boy was it serious, the female instructor was on holiday and her replacement was a young fit and handsome looking chap who could have easily been a commando. It took a lot of effort to concentrate on the exercise routine. All was reasonably well until he took us for a run round the local park. It was when Mandy and I collapsed on a bench and had a cigarette that we knew this wasn't for us. Maybe we should try yoga which is not so strenuous and bin the fitness class.
Not so strenuous, you must be joking. We purchased a yoga DVD and tried to copy the movements shown by a beautiful twenty year old, eight and a half stone female. Well I might be beautiful (only joking) but definitely not twenty years old or anywhere near eight and a half stone. Have you ever tried doing some of the movements they get up to? One I tried I nearly rocked myself to sleep trying to get up afterwards. Just let them try these exercises when they are over weight. I thought yoga was all about sitting in one place with your legs crossed. I bet you don't know just how many types of yoga there are. Binned the DVD, why punish your body when it's the mouth that causes all the trouble.
Someone told us that you have to burn off more calories than you consume and we both assumed we did enough burning with running round after the children doing housework etc. Evidently that was not sufficient so Mandy and I purchased a tread mill thingy. One that you can use at home, starting at a slow rate then gradually speeding it up when you feel more confident. After a while if used regularly you do get accustomed to it and of course you can exercise at times to suit yourself. The downside is that it is so darned boring; you are running there on the same spot for however long you can manage looking at the same old wall or whatever. My boredom threshold is not that high anyway. You do have a laugh though when one of you gets cocky and speeds it up then can't keep up with it.
Trying to get away from the boredom of the treadmill we started using our children's bicycles to get about and exercise. I haven't ridden a bike on the roads for almost twenty years and this episode was a rude awakening for me. The looks, language and signs we received from motorists were unbelievable. The last straw was when a speed cop went passed us did a U turn came back and asked us if we had actually read an up to date copy of the highway code, how embarrassing. Binned the bikes, or maybe we were banned by the children from ever using their bicycles ever again. Oh well back to the drawing board, there's got to be an easier way of losing weight.
The treadmill was quite expensive and we tried to recoup some of our money by advertising it for sale. The lady who came to purchase it told us she had been advised to do some regular exercise as she was worried about ending up like her friend who had just had a gastric band fitted. I looked at Mandy; she was giving me that look that says "don't even think about it". Who me? I wouldn't dream having that done, that's just too drastic.
Mandy got herself a dog, not just any dog but a big dog. Her reasoning was that if she took it out for long walks that would give her plenty of healthy exercise on a regular basis. What she had forgotten was the fact that every dog large or small has a built in timer and will bring its lead to you at the same time every day for walkies, rain or shine. I went to Mandy's house and there she was slumped on the couch and the dog was on the treadmill, problem solved, so we couldn't sell it now anyway.
The next thing we tried was slimming pills. If any of you are thinking about taking any then think twice about the side effects like diarrhoea. We both started taking some pills following the manufacturer's instructions. After a couple of days we were out shopping waiting in a cashiers queue when I had a sudden attack of stomach pains, it would have been disastrous for me to move or even cough as I would have done it there and then, if you know what I mean. I just had to stand there for what seemed a lifetime waiting for it to pass with loads of people waiting behind me wondering what the heck I was up to. Well I couldn't actually tell them could I? The best way to lose weight with slimming pills is to tip the whole packet on the floor then try squatting, bending the knees whilst keep the back straight then pick them up one by one. Binned the pills.
So where did we go from there? Supplements of course. Meaning something added to complete a thing or to make up for a deficiency. Have you ever tried eating some of the products that are supposed to supplement your diet? Wallpaper paste looks more appetising. I remember one day having a few plates of this so called nutritious food on the table when the kids got home from school, none of them even attempted to eat any of it, usually they devour anything edible in sight, even the dog's dinner looked more inviting. I dare you to try some of the so called slimming biscuits on offer, you know the ones that look like they are made of polystyrene. Just wait till you go to the loo and try to flush it away it all keeps floating back to the surface like some swimming aid. It's alright if that happens whilst you're at home but you are in deep trouble if you are visiting the mother-in-law for the weekend. You've guessed it, binned the supplements.
Perhaps we should try dieting instead. Why didn't we do that in the first place? I won't even go there, it did make me a light eater though. As soon as it got light I started to eat. Dieting made me very tired so I went to the doctors and he prescribed some pep pills but they just made me eat faster.
Basically after all the time and money we spent on the various procedures diets and equipment it just added a lot of stress to our relatively tranquil lives. It would have been a lot easier had we known from the start about Ali's slim girl's box of secrets.
Now that's what I call MISSION ACCOMPLISHED