Back in February I rejoined Weight Watchers and then proceeded to mess around going up and down with the same few pounds (ok, two. It was just the same 2 pounds) until May, when after an April full of birthdays and an anniversary celebration that took in the whole of May Day Bank holiday I weighed in at the heaviest I’ve ever been - just under 12 stone. I’ll admit I cried, then after a bit I told myself to suck it up and do something about it.
I knew something had to change. I was feeling very unfit as I’d still not been able to resolve my exercise issues due to my poorly hips and I know too well about all the health warnings around carrying extra weight as you enter your fifties. I want to be fit at 50 not fat at 50.
All the gyms near our office are the Gymbox type; they’re a bit like the Hollister of the gym world - it’s very dark and I’m surprised an alarm doesn’t go off when someone over 30 enters. However in April I discovered a Nuffield gym near Covent Garden with a pool, something of a rarity in central London. I hate swimming, it’s boring, but perfect for my body as it’s non-impact so it doesn’t damage my hips. I started with a measly 10 lengths and now I regularly swim 30 lengths. I even bought goggles!
I can assure you I don't look like this though...
I still wasn’t losing much weight though; when it’s only the WW app that you’re answering to it’s easy to kid yourself. So I bit the bullet and joined a class. A lot of classes are evenings which are hard for me to get to, so again I’d used it as an excuse not to go, but not working Fridays meant I didn’t have that excuse anymore, especially as there was a 9:15 class literally 5 minutes drive away.
This weight loss malarky has meant that I’ve had to get out of my comfort zone several times recently…
Using communal changing rooms… I can use any Nuffield with my membership but they are not all created equal… the Covent Garden one doesn’t have any cubicles in its changing room so I’ve had to perfect the getting-your-underwear-on-under-a-towel manoeuvre. I’ve taken to putting my swimming costume on at work before I go now. Others are not so concerned, including Naked Slider Girl™ who stood stark naked, except for a pair of Adidas sliders, in front of the mirror for 15 minutes applying her makeup. Is it me, or is that not the done thing?
Joining a Body pump class. I LOVE Body Pump. I did it for years, until I moved to London. I was super excited to see it on the class timetable, yet it took me a full month before I dare go to a class. Because the thought of walking into it on my own and not knowing where anything was or how the bars worked (they were different to my previous gym) terrified me. But I did it! A friend asked me if it was cliquey (something that is prevalent in gym classes) but it wasn’t, probably because this is London after all and no one speaks to anyone here… I approached the guy who I thought was the instructor to ask for help; turned out he wasn’t the instructor but was flattered enough that I thought he was to help me set up my bar and helped me with weights. Once the class started I was fine, I didn’t die of shame on the spot although I did stick to the back row. No one else is looking at you in a gym class, they’re all to busy concentrating. Or looking at themselves.
Going to my first WW meeting. If you’ve never been to a WW meeting (other weight-loss clubs are available) the basic premise is that you “weigh in” on arrival and then once everyone has done so, we hang around for a talk from the leader. This usually includes welcoming new members, discussing who lost how much (never who gains, unless they want to share) and then a brief chat about some aspect of healthy eating/healthy living/exercise etc. My group is a bit like a Victoria Wood sketch crossed with The League of Gentlemen. I’m easily the youngest there by 15 years. Each week there’ll be someone who has gained but claims to have been good all week, someone who loses but claims they don’t know how because they’ve eaten out twice this week, and the people who’ve maintained will be surprised because of either of the aforementioned reasons. I’ve been to several different meetings over the years and like the gym, they are not all created equal. Some leaders are patronising, some strict and some are just too nice. Whilst you can only be a WW leader once you’ve done WW yourself that doesn’t necessarily make a good leader per se. The leader at this one is a bit like Janet Street-Porter on speed, but at least she’s enthusiastic and knows her stuff. There is quite a lot of that cringey “discuss with your neighbour” stuff and sometimes when she is talking about the online tools there are some confused faces, but at least it makes me answerable for my eating actions for the past 7 days, and do you know what? It’s working. I’ve lost 4lb in 3 weeks so I’m going to keep going, even if I do feel like Twinks in a roomful of Dinnerladies.