Earlier in the week, I was chuffed to get an entry for the Henley Swim in June, which prompted me to get my wetsuit out of the wardrobe, remembering that the last time I wore it I pranged the backside on a bit of barbed wire attempting to slide safely into the lake at Eastnor Castle. I should have been more reckless and just jumped in; it would have saved me swimming 1500 m with a torrent of water gushing around my arse. So this week I also got around to contacting the highly-acclaimed Snugg Wetsuits and sending the sorry article for some restorative patchwork around the rear-end.
The last time I wore this bad boy was in 2007: I don't remember being child-sized myself, but the wetsuit definitely appears to be so (pictured with my trainers for scale) and it's clear that I must have been significantly smaller back then to squeeze myself into it and retain near-normal circulation in my limbs. Alarmingly, it seems I'm going to need to undertake a considerable task before June if I'm to avoid either buying a new wetsuit or having to employ a lady's maid to hoist me into it. There is, of course, the added bonus that any progress made towards getting in that wetsuit should also help my cause for London, given the lessons learned at Dublin Marathon.
It's just a question of finding a way to do this now. You see, I really like food. Oh, and I really hate diets. To give you an idea of why, I'll give you a synopsis of some of the diet advice that has made an impression on me in one way or another over the past 10 years:
(1) Tyrannical rowing coach: "YOU'RE A BIT FAT. EAT LESS!"
(2) Fat Fighters slimming club: "Eat as much as you like as long as you categorise all of your food as brown or white and don't eat potatoes on the same day as meat and give all the naughty foods a cute, phonetically-confused names, like "vyce", "gylt" or "glutoneee", so you make sure you hate yourself a little bit when you eat them. Oh, and please pay £5 a week for us to tell you that."
(3) Lovely boyfriend: "It's easy: calories out must exceed calories in.... it'll help if you stop raiding the fridge for cheese all the time too.""
Now, being told I can't do something I want to do never sits well with me and generally makes me even more determined to prove otherwise; whereas being given permission to do something I would very much like to do does little to encourage any sense of restraint or moderation: two virtues I was hardly blessed with. As such, although I've managed to lose weight following the advice of both Diet Gurus (1) and (2) in the past, I've learned very little about a healthy and sustainable attitude to food in the process.
I can, of course, see that the nitty-gritty of lovely boyfriend's no-nonsense scientific equation makes perfect sense; however, it can be hard to swallow (if you'll pardon the pun) such sane and sensible advice from someone a) close to you, and b) whose only ever need to count calories has been in an attempt to gain weight. Added to that, the idea of scrutinising everything I eat for its calorific value sounds a bit miserable.
I do realise that there is no magic solution and, ultimately, some hard graft is required, but I know that any changes I do make need to be both realistic and sustainable, particularly as I would like to continue eating cake. So I'm proposing this radical plan:
Eat what I want, but only when I'm hungry. Then, stop when I'm full.
Simple, eh? We'll see about that.
I promise I won't inflict an exhaustive account of this process on you, but I'm hopeful that the public shame of the occasional blog post might provide me the virtual kick in the arse that Janathon did. Again, we'll see.
I wonder whether I should leave the creepy, headless wetsuit figure hanging next to the fridge though, just to make me think twice about the cheese-raiding.