It is proving to be a stormy start to the year in year in the part of the universe I inhabit and not just that I am looking out frequently to see if our fences are still standing and keeping the fingers crossed that the roof will still be intact in the morning.
But so far so good, although I found the morning run a little more of a workout than normal thanks to a head wind that was strong enough even to be problems for my considerable bulk.
Ah. There I go again. Once more I see myself as a blubbering mass of flesh. My lovely Wife will be reading this and shaking her head again and will no doubt (rightly) tell me off.
But still as Lent approaches I always wonder whether I can use this as a self-control rocket launch pad to get myself out of bad habits and into good ones and get myself into a path that could be sustainable for future years.
As someone who will be forty five in a few weeks I am still able to ‘party’ reasonably hard and get (mostly) away with it, partly because I have a heavy exercise regime and partly I guess luck and blessings. But the reality is that I am losing the war. The weight has gone up a bit but is under control; nothing seems to have gone badly wrong in other areas – yet. But I drink too much and regularly. I know so do a lot of people but that is not really an excuse for having full recycling boxes. On the plate the portion sizes are still too big, I have not yet completely unlearned the terrible curse of ‘eating everything on our plate’ and I let pass my lips too frequently things that should never be classed as food (I am thinking here of one of my favourite bar snacks, that cursed things known as the pork scratching. Take fatty pig skin, deep fry it – because the natural fat content is clearly not sufficient – and then saturate it with salt – honestly, I am not sure how you could make the things less healthy. But with a nice pint of beer, and the bags are so small, usually so everything must be fine, surely? I kind of thought that until I realised just how much that salt was temporarily elevating my blood pressure…)
Exercise is essential but it is only one half of the story and I find the other half difficult to adjust – although progress is being made. The main thing I need to find is the motivation. Someone very close to me smoked for years and despite many entreaties never really wanted to, and so didn’t, give up. Then he worked out that if he was no longer paying through the nose for cigarettes that the books could be balanced so he could take early retirement. He stopped overnight.
For me it is probably the weight question. I was a hugely overweight child and have struggled all my life with weight and related self-esteem issues and still do. I was terribly disappointed when I gave up alcohol one year for Lent and lost no weight as a result (and I was deliberately trying not to overcompensate in other areas). Not sure why that was, but I think that for the alcohol intake fear of other issues (my poor liver) is probably the best incentive for intervention. I guess what concerns me most is not the moment, but the future – if I’m blessed enough to have a substantial number of years left I’d like to be in decent condition but time does take its toll and the possibility of (what for me would be a disastrous) running injury gets higher and higher with each year.
So what am I giving up for Lent this year? Well, with regret the pork scratchings are getting the push among other dark delights (see you in April, chips). My birthday falls within Lent and I find it hard to celebrate a landmark birthday without a tipple, so it’ll be more cutting down than cutting out.
Rather I think I will try and use the time to redesign some parts of my life that are under my control to build something I might actually maintain after Easter that can lead me to a place where I do not feel that I am just building myself up for trouble in the coming years.