Putting the resolve in my New Year’s Resolution: The Beginning
Time to face not the music but the mirror. On January 1st, 2019, ‘maintain, don’t gain!’ was giving way to ‘oh no!!!!!’ and I was faced with the familiar disappointment of having failed to make it through the Christmas hols without doing serious damage to my figure. Every year I make the same New Year’s Resolution. And every year I swear it will be different. I won’t over-indulge over Christmas and pay the price on the scales in the new year. I’ll join a gym, hire a personal trainer, and get to work on a healthier, happier me. But the best resolutions. . .
So there I found myself on yet another New Year’s Day in a state of total self – denial. There’s only one thing I can’t deny: I am a self-denier. I was doing everything I possibly could to convince myself that surely this time the mirror was telling big lies – big fat lies. Yes, my face seemed too full, but that must be due to the hangover from all that champagne at the office party. And the neighborhood party. And the family party. . . And the belly? That must be due to all that Christmas chocolate: I had to have just one piece, to be polite. So OK, maybe the grapefruit diet and gym every day were the quick fix. But it’s still the holidays, technically. It would be a pity to let all that turkey stuffing go to waste! And there’s nothing better for a hangover than hair of the dog. Besides, everyone knows champagne is almost calorie – free.
Which brings us to February 16, when my best friend was hosting a hen party in Jamaica. Studies show that most women feel depressed even thinking about trying on a bathing suit. I’m not normally one to put off shopping. But this time I stalled as long as I could. A couple of weeks went by. Finally, as I didn’t want to wind up trying to buy a bikini at Stansted, I dragged myself to the shops. Their mirrors didn’t lie. I looked like the ‘before’ picture in a weight – loss ad.
Desperation set in, so I consoled myself with chocolate and champagne. Then I came to my senses and swore to live up to my resolution – to look and feel better in the new year by having a serious chat with my diet and by joining a gym.
My best friend, a woman I’d hate for looking so good if I didn’t love her so much, packed me off to RP Fitness, where she’s been working out for years. Under strict orders to sign Richard Patman as a personal trainer.
I had my doubts. I’m a serial gym – joiner. At first it all seems too good to be true. The jolly trainer guarantees that I’ll shed a couple of pounds every week without even trying! Before I know it I’m the bunny hitting the gym five times a week. My perennial worry was that I’d bulk up. I’d rather carry extra curves than bulge with a man’s muscles, but the trainers couldn’t have been more reassuring. The routines they’d perfected for girls would remove fat from hips and bum without making me look like a man. That’s why gruelling cardio and endless reps with tiny barbells is for girls who are going to look fit.
And of course it was too good to be true. After a month or so I’d be weak, cranky, and fed up with all the grapefruit and cottage cheese I was living on. I was so cranky, in fact, that I’d console myself with chocolate and champagne, with an added side of crisps.
Richard Patman is nothing like the trainers I’ve just described. He listened respectfully to my ‘I used to weigh only … Chocolate and champagne and maybe a few crisps … We have only a month!’ Then he said the unexpected: ‘That’s not realistic. A month might be enough time in which to get you started. Then again, it might not. And starving while doing too much cardio and lifting tiny barbells will take the weight off, but you won’t look good. If you like, I’d be happy to put together a realistic programme that will improve your health and your looks, but real results take time.’ ‘How long, Richard?’ ‘If you stick with it you’ll see results in a couple of months. After that improvements could be dramatic.’ ‘I don’t want to bulk up.’ Richard smiled and said ‘you don’t need to worry about that. And so I walked into RP Fitness in Cambridge, and my journey to the end of a New Year’s Resolution began.