Friday, May 18, 2007
The curse of Keira Knightley

The Fitness Regime started today and unfortunately it was ruined by Keira Knightley.

No she didn’t push in front of my in the queue for the treadmill or force me to eat a pain au chocolate (that was my friend Bonnie) instead she was the reason my phone rang at 12.50am on the eve of my regime, thereby displacing hopes that I would feel fresh for my fresh start.

“Brrrrrrrrr rrrrringggg,” said the phone pulling me up from the start of a particularly enticing dream.
“Hrhuma adar,” said I into the receiver (translated as ‘Brigid speaking’.)
“Where the hell is the Keira Knightley copy?” asked a voice I didn’t recognise on the other end.

It was an Australian voice, speaking from a newspaper office in the middle of the day, obviously wanting something that I hadn’t delivered, when I was in England in the middle of the night in no shape to deliver it.

I had interviewed Knightley some time ago for an Australian newspaper and they were, in the manner of editors, screaming for their copy.

This has very little to do with my fitness regime except for the fact that I was so distressed that I couldn’t get back to sleep and a few hours later I got up, tidied up the story and walked the predawn streets of central London looking for an internet café so I could make the Australian deadline. It meant I would be going to the gym with very little petrol in the tank.

I cursed Keira and her global celebrity as I hauled my fatigued corpse through Soho to the gym, feeling defeated and exhausted before I had even started.
I cursed the fact that world operated on different time zones meaning we don’t all sleep at once.

I cursed the fact that every new plan, every great dream, fresh hopes, clean goals, ambitious fitness regimes all start on a Monday and sometimes Monday really is the worst day of the week.

And I cursed Keira again – because she is utterly beautiful, lean and radiant and as I slumped against the treadmill (yet to actually start exercising) they were all the things that I felt I wasn’t.

Somehow I got through my first hour at the gym. But I’d be keen to know your thoughts on whether one should exercise while tired.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Good-bye bacon sandwiches, I will miss you

Kevin Bacon - a healthier option

Three more days until my New Start fitness regime starts and I could not feel more unhealthy if I tried (although you may argue after this that I have been trying pretty hard to be unhealthy).

I woke this morning after four hours sleep. Only hours before I was shouting “ No – not another gin and tonic!” over the din of someone singing George Michael in the karaoke bar somewhere near Victoria Station.

Last night was my leaving do from my old job. It was typical of many leaving do’s: people drank a lot and forgot to have dinner.

It was more a leaving don’t. We went from pub to closing pub until we got to the Stag and it was only at 3am when the senses that had left me made a brief return.

Maybe I should go home – I thought. I have to work tomorrow and I have an important meeting. Anyway I am days off starting a fitness regime – I should get some rest, leave this seedy bar, refuse the gin and tonic, put out the cigarette…

When I woke this morning my ears were aching, there was a shoe in my bed (right by my head) and my mouth tasted of rust. Yikes – did I eat rust last night, I asked the shoe.

The shoe didn’t answer.

Somehow I managed to get dressed and out of the house, but it was only later that I realised the t-shirt I was wearing had stains on it. I didn’t dwell too long on it because my mind was honed so narrowly, so precisely on getting a bacon sandwich.

Bacon sandwiches are the only positive payoff in being hungover. In fact some people may argue that they are the reason people get drunk in the first place.

I purchased mine from my local greasy spoon – a fine establishment where the spoons are literally greasy (and the tea mugs are coated on the lip with some brown, hard stuff) but the water used to wash them is also greasy, so you just have to accept the status quo.

“One bacon sandwich,” I murmured to the lady behind the counter in a shaky voice.

She looked at me with perfect understanding in her eyes – she understood the precise nature of my needs. “Eat in darling?”

I looked longingly at the grease stained bar stools. How I craved to park there and munch on my bacon in peace. But as I was late for work it would have to be eaten on the hoof.

The anticipation while my sandwich was being prepared was hard to bear.

The bacon was almost singing in the pan. The aroma made me weak. The bread itself was so fluffy and white I was amazed it didn’t rise up into the ceiling fan.

I grabbed the sandwich with shaking hands. I ripped the bag open with my gnashing molars before I had even hit the street.

I added stains to my already stained t-shirt. The first bite was sensational, ambrosial, divine. I forgot the nasty house white of the previous evening and just lived in the now.

But I digress…. It is now 4pm and my hangover is a dull, boring, hideous thing. The bacon sandwich is long gone and I can’t get another (rule – no more than one a day). My t-shirt is still stained.

Three more days until my regime starts. Good-bye bacon sandwiches. I will miss you.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The reluctant exerciser

McDonalds? No thanks


Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brigid, I am a journalist and – drum roll- I am about to start a major health kick (again).


I’m probably not that different to a lot of other young professionals living in a big city who have a fairly schizophrenic approach to their health.


I have a hectic social life that often revolves around food and alcohol and a lot of good intentions about food and fitness. Often the two don’t mix.


For example – today I had muesli for breakfast, an apple for morning tea, sushi for lunch and am well on the way to drinking my recommended eight litres of water a day.


So far so good. But last night I had a pint of beer, ¾ of a bottle of wine, chicken with lashings of buttery mash and 4 cigarettes. Yikes!


This blog will chart my attempt to follow the righteous path, to be holier than thou, to say "Non!" and "Mon Dieu!" to the offer of fragrant Beaujolais, to the temptation of a sweet, puffy pastry, to the lure of solipsistic cigarettes.


Instead I will bunny hop to the gym, I will only eat foods that have not been through the horrors of processing and I will promise not to go within 50 metres of a food vending machine.


But as its one week before my gym membership kicks in, I’m clinging to the remnants my soon to be former life like a banker to his BlackBerry.


This week is eat, drink and be merry.


There’s a lovely freedom to living life this way – to not caring. Feel like a can of Coke mid afternoon – well have it. Chocolate after dinner – for sure. Late afternoon gin and tonic? Why not.


Not being concerned about diet and exercise gives you an enormous amount of mental freedom. Instead of spending dinner fretting about calorie counts and carbs – there Iran’s nuclear program to debate or Tony Blair’s legacy or the merits of this year’s Booker prize winning book.


Instead of leaving a restaurant feeling guilty and sick with self loathing for having had all three courses there is the delightful feeling of having enjoyed beautifully cooked and prepared food. It is the full, happy feeling.


I will miss this feeling.


But I recognise there are consequences to living without care. Feeling sluggish for a start, and heavy, and certain lethargy in the day that comes from having a bit too much fun the night before.


So Monday it starts. There’ll be the gym (daily? Once a week? Never?) , a personal trainer, a cutting back on booze and a radical rethink about the sort of food I put in my gob.


I’ve been down this road before but have found the whole healthy living thing a little bit drab, a drag on my social life, and ultimately unsustainable. So like particularly springy elastic bound, I start taut for a while then ping! I’m back to my bad old ways.
I’ll be blogging a couple of times a week from my progress from super-sloth to super-fit.


I promise to be honest about how the program is going, and if and when I fall off the wagon.


In return I’d love it if you would share your health and fitness tips with me – and your own stories about getting healthy.


Maybe you’ll inspire me to be in it for the long run rather than stepping off the treadmill when it all gets too hard.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG
Welcome to the diary of a reluctant exerciser. Having previously shunned fitness regimes in favour of bacon sandwiches, Brigid Delaney vows to finally shape up, get fit and eat more healthily. Over the next three months read how she gets on in a brave new world of gyms, exercise classes and no bacon sandwiches.
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