I am a big girl. I have always been a big girl. I probably always will be a big girl. I have not, however, always been a fat girl and certainly not always an unfit girl… these things took time… but not much talent.
As a kid I had what I would describe as an unconscious baseline of fitness. I don’t ever recall consciously exercising outside of PE lessons… I was just… active, but unconsciously so because the activity was just part of daily life.
Our school was 2 miles away from home. Back then it was standard for kids to walk to school, unaccompanied… and at the end of the day you went back, on foot. No-one waited at the school gates for you, no collection by car.
On the occasions you didn’t walk you cycled… because that’s just what kids did. It’s not that the roads were safer then it’s just that we kids were fearless and thought we would live for ever… Our parents probably did not recognise the risks; car ownership in the UK didn’t take off until after they had grown up.
I also did a paper round 7 days a week…being the UK this was often in the dark of an early morning. Cycling in the dark. On my own. At age 14… It’s probably illegal these days…
On Saturdays I went swimming. Competing against my brother to see who could do the most lengths in an hour (over 100 in case you were wondering) or if we were feeling lazy we would race to the first to 20 lengths and then practice swimming underwater in as few strokes as possible… the pool, naturally, was 2 miles away from home and we would cycle there and back…sometimes it felt as if everything was 2 miles away from home
But none of this was exercise. It was just life.
So how did this happen? How did I become this living sofa loving slug of a girl?
Strike 1: I am a big girl. All that cycling creates muscles. Not every girl had thighs like mine. So I got teased. I stopped doing cross country running. I became reluctant to be seen in a PE kit or a swim suit. I tried not to leave the house. I hid with my books and my music.
Strike 2: I grew up; went to university. Then I got a job in front of a computer, and a commute…by car. I discovered wine and parties… I lived life to the full. I became less active because time was short.
Strike 3: my body decided it wanted a baby. Post pregnancy was fine. Babies keep you active, all that walking with push chairs and the lifting up and putting down. Post pregnancy it is constant activity… but then babies become toddlers and want their independence “I do it” is their constant refrain and all Mum can do is walk slowly behind to make sure they don’t fall over… and then, and then its being a full time worker who is also a Mum whose days are filled with the admin of making sure the child gets to school on time…before heading off for a full days work… in my case 67 miles away…and spends their days just so so tired just from the effort of living
And then when you turn 40 you start fighting a losing battle against your hormones which are insisting that a belt of fat around your belly would be a must have accessory
So here I am… a slug
But a slug who can now do something towards not being such a fat, inactive slug.