Give it a Year: The Battle to Beat Middle Aged Spread (Part 1)

At last I have found time to publish the first of my monthly fitness blogs. This will chart my progress through the new Legacy Programme – a bold step which I am taking in a bid to beat middle aged spread. My ultimate aim is to look like a stripper by the time I hit fifty. And if that proves unattainable, I will settle for being able to do unsupported handstands the way I could when I was forty.

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The Legacy Programme is a twelve-month commitment, but it comes as a natural progression to my recent, sweaty efforts. You may recall that I ‘graduated’ from the Six Week Body Challenge at the end of June. I was happy to award myself a distinction from this challenge because losing ten pounds in weight, plus 2.5 inches from my waist, certainly made me feel like a prize-winning student. And, to coin a recently acquired phrase, I was ‘pumped’ at the prospect of continuing my good work for another year.

But a year is a long time and, regardless of my long-term aspirations, nothing will happen overnight. These things must be approached in stages and so the Legacy gang have monthly goals to work towards. My first month goal is simple. To crawl out of the ‘overweight’ section of the NHS Height/Weight chart and into the ‘Healthy Weight’ section. To do that I need to drop from 11st 10 down to 11st 4.

So here I am. I have now completed the first month of the Legacy Programme but, despite being ‘pumped when I started, I’m afraid I have nothing but stagnation and excuses to report.

Anyone who has trudged their way through a fitness and diet programme may well recognise the pattern which I have followed.

1. Celebrate initial weight loss success with a night at one’s favourite restaurant. Devour a barrel of red wine, two sacks of potatoes and a cheesecake the size of a satellite dish.

2. Spend the following day popping indigestion tablets and reading over the new meal plan. Take note of food combining rules whereby proteins, carbohydrates and fats are consumed in a controlled fashion.

3. Order food from Tesco and then ignore plan. Eat all of the food in whatever quantities and combination you feel like over the next few days. Add some chocolate digestives into the mix.

4. Mentally scold oneself and declare that you will ‘start again’ and ‘stick to it this time’.

5. Repeat steps 2 – 4 over and over again.

And that, dear reader, formed the basis of my first two weeks on the Legacy programme. Now I did attend most of the fitness classes but there is little redemption to be found there because fighting the flab is 80% reliant on following the right nutrition plan. And I didn’t bother my fat ass with that.

A half inch sneaked back onto my waist. The feel-good factor began to slip away. I clawed it back by reminding myself that there was a whole YEAR to do this. What did two weeks matter in the grand scheme of things!? And with that cheery thought, I headed off to Devon on a family holiday; a week of love, laughter and late nights. A week of kid’s meals, ice lollies and beer. A week of ……. dare I say it ……… Devon Cream Teas!!. Did you know that when you have a Devon Cream Tea – in Devon itself – you get TWO scones and a mug of clotted cream – all to YOURSELF!!

No surprise that, by the end of the week, my jeans were struggling with the Cream Tea obsession. Meanwhile, I was lamenting this spiral of gluttony and sloth which, by then, was into its fourth week.

There was only one thing for it – a return to the Conifer Lodges at Newton Stewart. A self-catering haven where one is in control of one’s nutrition and where hard-core cycling and walking are on the doorstep. That, and an outdoor hot tub.

With only one week remaining of this first Legacy month, I dragged my other half out there and we gave it our all; walking until I fell to my knees and cycling until my knees seized up. It was fat free cottage cheese and grilled fish all the way. Slowly, my waistband relaxed a little and my sense of clean living returned. I was confident that I had made it back to the same condition in which I finished the six-week body challenge.

I was also confident enough to get naked and soak my aching bones in that private outdoor hot tub. Safe behind the wooden screen, I disrobed and climbed in. Stretched out and floating I marvelled at how different my body looked in the water. Everything was light and supported. My boobs looked lovely and full; my hips and stomach seemed to shrink in the rippled view. Oh yes, the warping effect of water was a great confidence booster.

So, when a drone flew overhead shortly afterwards – complete with camera – I was a little less bothered than I might have been before I did the six-week challenge. Part of me was horrified when the drone flew back and forward a few times before coming in for a closer look – but a part of me also felt quite chuffed that my middle-aged baps were worth a second look. Nonetheless, someone out there had ‘a bloody cheek’ (along with a pair of viewing goggles) and I still, I had my decency to think about. On realising that I could not reach my robe without flashing a full moon, I had no option but to make a rude gesture at the drone and that seemed to do the trick. Off it flew complete with aerial footage of my boobs and the opportunity to post them on the internet.

But back to the important stuff – did I meet my first Legacy goal? With holidays getting in the way it was actually 6 weeks before I had my weigh in which meant that I had even longer to achieve the target 11st 4. So, did I make it out of the ‘overweight’ section of the NHS chart?

The answer is NO. I did not even get close. In fact, I was exactly the same weight as I had been at the start. A solid 11st 10. I fondly recalled the Devon Cream Teas and tried not to be too disappointed.

So now we are in the second Legacy month which means new goals. Mine is easy and requires no imagination whatsoever. Having failed to reach my normal weight goal the first time round, I have simply set this as my new month’s goal. Can I make it out of the overweight section of that NHS chart this time? All will be revealed in next month’s blog.

Ps – if you do see my boobs on the internet can you let me know cos I’ll be seeking royalties for them!

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