Saturday, 24 March 2012

Success consists of going from failure to failure 
without loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill.

I managed to go to the gym a further two times this week.  It’s no longer a novel idea that from time to time I might subject myself to a bit of exercise.  I didn’t quite manage to make it to today’s 9.30am Body Attack class though.  I woke up at 9 o’clock to a text message from my cousin, who was in the next bedroom: ‘cbf gym’. Barely awake, I replied ‘Hahaha’ before rolling over again, only to wake up at eleven. Motivation fail.

Since then, it’s been a day of failures.  I accompanied Cat, my aforementioned cousin, to the vet; she with Mitzi on a lead and me with Peanut the rat scurrying around in my now urine-covered, excrement-filled cardigan (failure #2).  As soon as I entered the vet’s room and inhaled the aromatic mixture of old dog and clinical disinfectant, I knew it wasn’t going to go well.  

The last time I went to the vet was in 2004, with my little Westie – ironically named Scottie – for his routine vaccinations.  I hate needles, and it seems Scottie did as well.  Before the vet had managed to finish injecting him, he had jumped off the table and begun to run around the tiny room, the half-full syringe still clinging to the back of his neck.  By the time the vet had caught him and properly administered the jab, she had to deal with me as a second patient, pale and light-headed, slumped in a chair trying to remove the image of my dog’s red-stained white fur from my mind. 
Peanut, on the right
Mitzi was shaking as Cat lifted her onto the table.  I sat in the corner and distracted myself with Peanut, telling myself there would be no repeat of last time.  Still, I couldn’t help but watch while the vet gave Mitzi her injection, although I shuddered at the sight of the needle.  The vet carried out a few more checks on Mitzi before turning her attention to Peanut, who had a bit of a scabby tail. 

Peanut's tail
I stood up to carry Peanut to the table, proud that I had endured the ordeal with no signs of nausea. The vet told us that the tip of Peanut’s tail was merely dead matter. Sure enough, it fell into the vet’s hand as she tugged it. Easy!  But wait. Peanut started to run around the table, flicking her tail against the vet’s top, and a tiny streak of blood appeared on the pale blue of her scrubs.  I breathed deeply, but then I saw another thin trail of blood on the table, and the bright red circles increasing in number on the tissue in the vet's hand.  Game Over. 

Soon the bleeding stopped and it was time to go home. I sat in the waiting room while Cat sorted out the bill, leaning my head against the wall behind me.  No use.  I put Peanut down on the chair beside me and leaned forward, just as mum had always told me to when I was younger.  “You ready to go?” Cat asked. “Mmhmm,” I replied, standing up, before changing my mind. “I don’t feel so good.”  Damn right, I didn’t feel so good, otherwise I would have used the adverb, “I don’t feel so well.”  Failure #3.

I sat back in the chair, while Catherine went next door to buy a Coke and some food.  Soon I felt better, and was able to make it back to the car. I placed my half-empty can of coke (it would be ‘half-full’, but today warrants no optimism) on the dashboard as I tucked Peanut into my cardigan on my seat, and then perched myself in front of her.  I turned to pat Mitzi in the back seat, and Cat got in and began to move off, while saying things such as “You are so useless, Megan.”  We’d barely made it out of the car park when – prepare for Fail #4 – my forgotten coke slid off the dashboard and into my lap, right onto my brand new jeans.

At least things looked up during the second half of the day.  Cat, our Aunty Leonie and I had a bit of a girly nail painting session, and Cat made the ultimate comfort food for dinner.  Thanks, Cat! Success.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Exercise is done against one's wishes and maintained 
only because the alternative is worse.
~ George A. Sheehan

My cousin made me go to the gym again.  It’s International Fitness Week, so I got hold of a free pass and went to Body Attack.  Body Attack?? Self-confidence Attack, more like.  Yes, there was a great deal of physical pain - my legs hurt so much after ridiculous amounts of squats and jumps that they went numb and nearly collapsed underneath me while the instructor shouted ‘Stay with me! Push through it!’  But worse than that, I couldn’t even work out how to do the leg moves. I watched myself struggling in the mirrored wall, with moves like new-born Bambi, surrounded by all the other perfectly co-ordinated girls.  Dance was never my forte at school, and anyone who knows me will have noticed I’m as co-ordinated as Booba in his new shoes (I confess. That was just an excuse to get that link in there).  I told myself ‘Everyone else can do it, so you can work it out too!’, but still I just couldn’t figure out when to put which foot where. Eventually, the instructor smiled gently and said into her headset, ‘If you can’t get these moves right now, no worries! Just side-step for a bit instead.’  Crushed.  And that was before the first track had even finished. According to my cousin, my co-ordination will improve after a few classes, but I don’t know how much hope there is for me.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Muscles come and go. Flab lasts.
~ Bill Vaughan

All the hard work from Thursday is undone by yesterday's overeating: Red Rooster and sushi handrolls with a coke for lunch; a huge serving of sar hor fun for dinner; and, as if that wasn’t enough, rice porridge for supper followed ice-cream topped with crispy m&ms. 

Plus, for the past twenty-four hours I haven't even been able to lift my handbag without getting cramps seizing up my shoulders. I feel like I have permanently dead arms. Who’d have thought attacking imaginary predators for 50 minutes would have such an effect! To top it all off, my tummy is no smaller and the weighing scales are no kinder. I might give up going to the gym.  

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sandy, Sandy, beauty is pain.
~ Frenchy (Grease).

I’m in Australia –yes! Today was a day of pain, all in the name of aesthetics. For the past few weeks, I’ve been stuffing my face with all sorts of food in Malaysia. Even after averaging five meals a day, I still didn’t manage to eat all the country has to offer, such as corn in a cup. Anyway, my mother saw a photo of my chubby face, and made some comment about my newly acquired chin to my aunty, who is now encouraging me to eat a little more healthily. Ah, that gentle honesty that can only be expected to come from family members. And Facebook advertising, which has no qualms when it comes to suggesting I try to shed a few pounds. 

Bah Kut Teh in Klang
So first up: breakfast. Or is it lunch? It reaches midday before I even manage to drag myself to the kitchen. In Malaysia, breakfast would be bak kut teh (literally ‘meat bone tea’), a Klang specialty consisting of fatty pork stewed in a dark herbal broth, eaten with rice, fried shallots, you char kwai (‘oil fried devil’, or breadsticks), pigs’ intestines (which I affectionately called ‘roly polies’ when I was a child) and fried tofu. 
Nasi Lemak
(another popular Malaysian breakfast)
I’ve heard that it’s best to start your day with a breakfast that’s got a good balance of carbs, fat and protein, but I think bak kut teh might be taking this a bit far. As I am no longer in Malaysia, I reach for the oats and make myself a (rather large) bowl of porridge, with water instead of milk, and with the smallest amount of sugar.   I am so proud of myself. 

Next, because it’s not just my weight that got out of hand while I was on holiday, I called a local salon and booked a wax. So I took a nice 25 minute walk in the 27 degree sunshine, paid someone to put me through half an hour of torturous pain, went to the post office to send a few letters - yes, I still use snail mail – and strolled back home. 
Feeling invigorated after my walk (I'd forgotten the benefits of fresh air) and re-womanised after my wax, I decided I'd tackle my underarms.  I've been shaving for years, knowing it's not doing my underarms any favours in the long-term.  I epilated once, but that episode ended rather abruptly when I saw droplets of blood appearing on my skin.  I decided today that it's time to throw out the razor for good. I hoped waxing would be much quicker and far less painful  than epilating.  I was wrong. I burned myself on the wax, and each time I pulled a strip off I had to start counting to three then fool myself by unexpectedly ripping is off on two. But I have been rewarded with hair-free underarms.  Totally worth it, right? Yes.  

My ordeal over, I treated myself the only way I know how: with food. I had a deliciously wholesome brown rice and chickpea salad, prepared last night by my older cousin - at least one of us is dedicated to this healthy eating concept.  I even managed to work towards my five-a-day with this tupperware of fruit salad which my aunty lovingly prepares for the family every single day. 

Before long, my cousin came home and told me to get ready for the gym. I made up some excuse about not having any suitable clothes, but she unfortunately handed me a pair of leggings, told me not to be lazy, and again instructed me to get ready.  

Body Combat isn’t too bad as fitness classes go. It was pretty fun, for the first 10 minutes, then it gradually became more and more painful. After 50 minutes of non-stop pulsing, jabbing, blocking, and kneeing, I was pretty relieved when the instructor told us to grab a mat for the warm down. Not that the warm-down was particularly painless. My arm and stomach muscles are not strong enough to manage four minutes of crunches and press-ups. But I did lose over 700 calories. 

So, a successful day. Let’s hope this continues!