Let's talk about exercise for a while, shall we? Yes, really. Exercise and being healthy, to be more exact. I know, if we were to rewind back in time to about 2 years ago, even I would be laughing. Yes, me talking about exercise and healthy(ish) living.
I posted this photo on Twitter and Facebook recently. Just shows you where it started and where I am now. Actually, I may be a tiny bit further than the "after" photo since it's six months old now but you get the idea. On the left, I'm singing at my brother's wedding in September 2012. On the right, I'm posing for a mirror selfie at home in March 2014.
So, what happened in between? I wish I could tell you. If I had a simple answer, something that set it all in motion, I'd bloody bottle it and make my millions faster than you can say "Run, fat bitch, run!". Something did click in my head, though. Some people might put it down to the fact that I turned 30 in 2011 and all that but I'd like to think that had only a little to do with it.
Anyway, that winter I made the most of my free time. I walked. Just walked because it didn't require anything more than the runners I already had and the comfy trackie bottoms I was wearing to arse about the house in. I also took full advantage of the miles of car-free paths at work. I can tell you there's nothing more frightening than walking down a country road around here when you know around the next corner there could well be a predatory car hurtling towards you, its next victim. In short; roads here are narrow and people drive like lunatics.
Food-wise I really got into 5:2 diet.5 days of eating normally, 2 days of restricting your calorie intake to 500kcal per day. Worked for me, since there were days at work when I'd only eat very little if anything at all and eat only once I got home. On the fasting days I never felt hungry, the day after I only ever felt lovely and light and full of energy. I must say I've talked to people who've had terrible experiences with the same diet so I am only speaking for myself when I say it actually works. It made me take a good look at my relationship with food and actually minding what I put into my body. Saying that, I still eat rubbish. Just in moderation.
Back to exercise. I never liked exercise unless it was for a purpose. I didn't see being healthy and fitter as a purpose until now. What started as walking soon progressed into jogging and running. And to my surprise I actually loved it! I loved the feeling of setting off on my lap knowing that with the music in my earphones and the steady beat of my feet on the road would help me clear my head of whatever might be floating about in there. It didn't always feel great, there were days when I would've rather been just about anywhere else but the knowledge of that floaty, happy, endorphin-induced bliss at the end of it was enough to keep me going.
There's one particular run I remember vividly and it's that one I conjure up in my head when I need motivation. It was a perfect setting. February this year, dusk. I was on the last quarter of my lap, I had just cleared the small incline and was on the terrace of a Victorian castle. The castle to my left, to my right a lake, its surface like a mirror. Beyond the lake mountains growing darker as the sun was setting. In front of me a wooded path and beyond that more mountains. Biffy Clyro's 'Biblical' was blasting through the earphones. I had found my stride.In that moment, I'm fairly certain I could've ran all the way home.
So, that's where I was and that's where I need to get to again. Sadly my joints have aged with me and my poor battered knee has decided to remind me that what happened when I was good 15 years younger than I am now, will come back and bite you if you don't look after yourself. Patellar dislocation or a wandering kneecap, as he's also known, has me off running and jogging for a while. So I'm walking. Walking and wishing I was running instead. Hopefully in another six months I'll be able to tell you I'm back on first name terms with my stride, but for now I'll remind myself that I was there once, I'll get there again. In time.