Hands up if every January, “lose weight and get fit” are among your new year resolutions but come February you’ve lost nothing but the motivation.
Yup, me too.
It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, I don’t seem to be able to lose weight. For example, three weeks in India at the start of the year saw me eating heaps of vegetables, drinking no alcohol and taking long walks every day. You’d have thought that at least a pound or two would have come off, now wouldn’t you?
Nope. Nothing, rein, nada.
Every time I step on the scales, whether I have maintained healthy eating (I don’t/can’t diet – they’re totally unsustainable), exercised, stayed off the red wine and the cheese (no mean feat given where I live), whatever, the needle on the dial stops in exactly the same position. Every single time.
The scales must be broken, right?
No. I tried other scales. Same result.
So, I have decided to take action. I have booked myself on to a health and well-being retreat organised by this great little outfit called Too Fat to Run with the express intention of getting to the bottom of whatever it is that is blocking my ability to lose weight.
Too Fat to Run was started by accident by a woman called Julie who in 2003 was persuaded to take part in a fun run by colleague. In her words, she “…almost died on the way round, and not only due to the unusual strain on my body, but also from pure embarrassment when a young boy shouted ‘Run Fatty Run’ as I passed him.”
She decided to get more serious about running, started blogging about her progress and in the process discovered a whole load of other women who shared in her experiences. Too Fat to Run was born and Julie now works as a motivational speaker, has grown an online community of fellow “fatties” and offers a whole load of branded goodies for runners to enjoy.
She also hosts a retreat in Rhodes, which my very good friend Jo attended last year and raved about. Indeed, Jo loved it so much she is now on the organising committee and has done a very good job at selling the idea to me.
To be fair, what’s not to like? Seven days on a sun-drenched Mediterranean island, healthy homecooked food, a group of like-minded women to have a good old natter and giggle with. Coupled with this are the weight loss and fitness experts on hand to offer yoga, Zumba and nutritional advice. I was sold.
Determined not to be the only person on the retreat who is “too fat to run”, I’ve decided to start training in preparation. I’ve found a free 5k training programme online, dug out the sports bra and running shoes, and every morning I head out into the fresh air.
I love it.
I’m not sure you could call what I do “running” per se. It’s more of a shuffle, with an occasional stumble, and by the end, a stagger. But I am outside, I am lifting my feet off the floor and I’m giving my lungs a good airing.
It isn’t easy. Not only am I very unfit but I often find myself getting distracted along the way.
For instance, my route takes me past the field where Donkey lives. Donkey is my new best friend and so it is essential that I stop and say hello – does anyone else run with pockets full of carrots?
I also sometimes bump into the neighbours who like to stop for a chat. The last time this happened I was reminded that I really need to improve my French and quickly. I attempted to explain to the chap who lives next to the church that the reason why I was running was to lose weight but I am sure he now thinks (incorrectly) I am pregnant. Ooops!
Occasionally, I get company. This morning it was a local dog who accompanied me on my route. So attached he was to my side that he didn’t want to leave and I had to go back up the hill to take him home to his owner. Yet again another reminder to refine the language skills – trying to persuade someone I hadn’t stolen their dog and that I was actually trying to return him wasn’t so easy with terrible French.
And there are hills everywhere! But the reward at the top is some stunning scenery. Indeed, it’s so beautiful that almost always I feel the need to stop and take a photo (definitely not because I need a breather). I did try and find a route that was a bit flatter, but it’s nigh on impossible and so I’ve decided to embrace them and incorporate the hills into my training goals instead – the day I get to the top of the first big hill in one go I’ll be like Rocky when he makes it up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Bring it on!