Friday, July 13, 2007
Moshing for health

This weekend, Brigid's Blog heads to the Latitude Festival in Suffolk. That's not health related! you well may scoff, but if you've ever been in a mosh pit (the impression of a teenage boys sweaty nipples indented on your grubby t-shirt, the barest squeak of air entering your lungs, eardrums shattered, internal organs compressed) you know you need to be quite healthy to survive.

I am told this festival is quite delightful and a bit more 'mature' than other festivals. There'll be poetry readings, film screenings, gourmet camping and the kind of intelligent pop that you grow into after a teenage hood in your room listening to the Smiths and Nirvana.

The last mosh pit I was in, The Beastie Boys, resulted in an anxiety disorder. I was trapped in a mosh with a heap of rough blokes. We were cheek-to-jowl in a sort of a clothed group shag. Then the Beasties started playing Sabotage. The writhing shag got excited. There was mud. Shirtless blokes slipped in mud, pulling on the sleeves of others to help them up. The helpers fell on the people in the mud. A sort of human whirlpool occurred in the middle of the massive crowd. People were falling in. The people on the bottom couldn't breathe. The crowd behind us were surging forward crushing those trapped in the whirlpool. "LISTEN ALL Y'ALL ITS SABOTAGE"! The band played on. Would this be the end, I thought? At the Beastie Boys?

I lived. I'm not sure how. I am feeling ill just typing this. I haven't been near a mosh since. But somehow I can't imagine the same experience occurring during Jarvis Cocker's set on Sunday. Or when the Good, the Bad and The Queen play their lovely mid-winter-vibed melancholy dirges. I can however, imagine a lot of people like me, the anxious and afraid, enjoying the music from the edge of the fields.

This blog wraps up in a week, and although I would love to continue taking all of you with me on my 'fitness journey, ' sometimes there are times when you must walk alone.

The burden of taking my international audience to the grim gym with me each week was obviously a huge liability, inhibiting me from achieving my fitness goals. So like a sherpa discarding a white man's overstuffed backpack, so I must discard you all.

But stick around next week, as I cram some incredible fitness experiences into my blog (sour cream facial, horse-whip massage, warm coca-cola bath) and attempt to lose 8 kilograms in a week through the revolutionary orange peel and herbal tea diet.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007
Weight loss by hypnosis
Losing weight by doing absolutely nothing? Sounds like my kind of diet...

So it was with great interest I read Rachel Cooke's piece in the Observer last weekend about losing weight after attending seminars by hypnotist Paul McKenna.

She writes: "I'm not convinced that our little chat is going to have any effect. Then something weird happens. I don't start thinking I am Christy Turlington but, over the next few days, I notice that I eat more slowly, and feel full more quickly. This involves no effort on my part; it just happens. By the end of the following week, my trousers fit better."

While its sensible to be skeptical of anything that promises to take all the work out of health and fitness, McKenna's program is based on sensible advice.

As for McKenna's 'system', it's "very, very simple. It consists of four golden rules. Follow them, and you will lose weight. One: when you are hungry, eat. Two: eat what you want, not what you think you should. Three: eat consciously, and enjoy every mouthful. Four: when you think you are full, stop eating. That's it."

It seems we know how we should behave, we just lack the will do to it. Can hypnosis replace willpower? I bet there's a hell of a lot of people willing to give it a shot.


In the meantime I have locked on my own secret to weight loss - chip your tooth!

It only happened yesterday (on a pistachio nut) but already I have vision of the chip turning into a crack and the crack running up to my gums and my front tooth snapping off, leaving me looking like Nanny McPhee.

As a consequence I have been avoiding eating. When it has become unavoidable I put the food in the 'good' side of my mouth and laboriously chew on it. Its unpleasant and even the most innocuous soft looking foods I now view with some anxiety.

Forget losing weight the Paul McKenna way - try the Brigid Delaney method and get someone to half knock out your front teeth.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The black lung
The visions we entertain of ourselves are at best wistful, at worst a dangerous fiction.

My vision: rosy cheeked and glowing with health from my detox, I would make my way with startling speed along the fields and up the mountains of northern England’s Lake District.

Stopping to admire the scenery I would quote the region’s favourite son, William Wordsworth: “Which is the bliss of solitude/And then my heart with pleasure fills/And dances with the Daffodils.”

Pastoral delights – sheep, squirrels, butterflies would accompany me – like children following the Pied Piper and the air would be scented with mountain dew and wildflowers.

I would return to London like Heidi’s pal Clara coming back from the mountains: restored, vital, healthy, glowing and alive.

Instead I have come back half dead, suffering from what I believe to be consumption.

(Readers: revolting ‘too much detail’ warning….) This morning (as I have most mornings on the mountains) I coughed up blood. At night I lie awake, body wracked with a hacking cough that makes me appear as if I am in the throes of an exorcism, trying to expel Satan himself from my lungs.

I emerge feebly to the horrid, damp communal dining rooms of country B and Bs and try not to gag as yet another plate of bacon and eggs and black pudding is put before me.

Against the grimy window panes it rains and rains. Inside my lungs black stuff ferments then congeals.

Other residents of these wretched B and Bs shun me as the sound of my nocturnal hacking, splutterings, spitting and throat-clearings have obviously penetrated the thin walls.

Is it an elderly dying man: they may have asked themselves at 4 am? Shall we call an ambulance? Is it a dog whose voice-box has been partially torn out? Shall we call animal welfare?

No, it is moi: consumptive, delirious from fatigue, damp of lung, full of good intentions to walk in the Lake District but destroyed by those very intentions when the walking involved setting out in a grey swirly gale, with the wrong clothes on.

My travelling companions, hardier than I of lung, have grown weary of my morning dissections of the increasingly frightening appearance of my phlegm. As a consequence, I breakfast alone. Just me and my black lung and scrapped and bloody throat and a dozen abandoned black puddings.

Ahh a health blog. Since taking this three month assignment on my health has declined to its present low level.

In my weakened state I do not have the energy to contemplate my next health challenge. But I have a month – a month to turn it all around.

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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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