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Friday, February 01, 2008

Weighed down by guilt

The Last Word column from Day and Night in today's Irish Independent

Wow, February 1! It’s hard to believe I’m one month into my new exercise regime in the gym. The last month has just flown by and I’m really feeling the difference…

…Agh, I can’t keep up these lies! The truth is, I’m only theoretically one month into my new regime, but at least the part about the month flying by and me feeling – or should I say weighing – the difference is true.

I’m going to be straight with you (stop your sniggering down at the back): I haven’t darkened by gym’s door since last September – at least that’s the date I’ve settled on in my own mind as part of a revisionist project to assuage my guilt about not going (but still paying for it).

Because that guilt is the worst – yes, even worse that a mother’s disapproval, or when someone you really admire and want to impress, like a favourite teacher or supportive boss, says something like, ‘I’m not mad, I’m just so disappointed in you’.

Gym guilt, ironically, eats away at you, but sadly not enough to waste away those unsightly post-December pounds. And while you may occasionally have good reason to dodge the sweat house – say, if you’re travelling for work or lying in traction - that guilt will soon come back and bite you on your slightly-bigger behind.

It does this when you’re just lying idle, with time on your hands, and with no distractions to let you off the hook. Telling yourself you won’t go before work because it’s raining outside, and the bed is just sooo comfy, won’t pass muster.

Similarly, trying to justify skipping your treadmill duties on the way home from work because you need to spend quality time with your loved ones isn’t going to stack up either, not when you realise that the two hours you’re spending in your car or on a bus trying to get home could have been spent sweating it out on the cross trainer.

My big gym avoidance hook is time. I convince myself that I just can’t fit it into my hectic schedule, or, even better, that I do have a little time on my hands today, but not enough to commit to a proper workout. Of course, I could follow the example of Condoleezza Rice or Barack Obama’s wife Michelle, who both apparently get up at 4.30am to hit the gym because it’s the only time they can make for it in the day. I don’t even know where to begin making excuses to avoid that.

And so, always with others in mind, here are my top five tips to help you ease your gym guilt and live a more content, if rotund, life:

1. Get an off-peak membership: This way, all you have to do is get through the guilt of not going in the morning, because you literally can’t use the facilities after 3pm. Suckers.

2.Develop a fear of sweat and/or lycra. Once it’s psychological like that, it’s not really your fault now, is it?

3. Take on a second job. If you’re working 14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, going to the gym can be easily ditched. Who’d criticise such a person for doing that?

4. Conveniently keep losing the key for your locker in the gym. It’s simply not safe to leave your stuff unguarded like that. Also, make a point of not getting a new key cut to teach yourself an imaginary lesson about taking better care of your things.

5. Read one of the very many new books out at the moment that denounce gym-going and excessive exercise. While sitting with a bag of mini Cream Eggs by your side.

1 comment:

Kriselten said...

Said it before, I'll say it again, you're BRILL at this! I never get tired of reading your blog! :D