Not Drowning

Last night was Swimming Lesson #2. I was a lot more confident and relaxed in the water. Well that’s what The Teacher kept saying anyway; I didn’t feel any less of a limb-thrashing water-snorting tidal-wave-creating clod than Lesson #1. But I think there has been some progress – I only drank about two mouthfuls of water this time and I didn’t kick the teacher in the boobs. Although I did boot one small child and made it fall off its foam raft thingy. Sorry, kidlet!

We did a lot of work on improving my kick, which involved holding on to the kickboard thingy and doing laps without any help from my arms. D’oh! But unlike last time, my legs were actually able to propel me forward. I managed four laps (100m) before I had to beach myself on the side of the pool and gasp dramatically. Then we worked on my freestyle arms (elbow not high enough) and breastroke kick (a total mess), then just for fun Teacher got me to try doing freestyle arms with breastroke legs. Kind of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Arrrgh!

The euphoria of the first lesson had worn off and was replaced just by an intense desire to Get It Right. I really did try too hard at times, going too fast so running out of puff so quickly; or concentrating so hard on getting the arms right that I’d just forget to do anything with my legs. I need to remember that old chestnut, PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER! Don’t quit just because you’re not good at something straight away.

The same goes for my blubber. I am having what my sister and I call a Week One Week – you know, when you join Weight Watchers or whatnot and you are positively angelic for the first week (you use this phrase around Week Fifteen or Seventy-Five when you’re totally off the rails, "Man, I really need to pull a Week One Week"). Despite this, the scales have been going mental. As reported earlier I weighed in at 81.6 on Monday. I always do a daily peek at the scale, to keep an eye of the overall trends. So Tuesday to Friday it’s gone: 81.1, 81.6, 82.2, 81.9. What the hell!?

But screw the scales. I know I’ve been absolutely Going For Gold since Monday, no bullshit or excuses. So if I keep GFG day after day, over and over again, things will happen eventually. You can’t give up just because the scale is being a bastard. You have to keep going no matter what, and string together a whole bunch of consecutive good days. It won’t heppen overnight, etc etc.

(I have to type out these pep talks you see, otherwise it’s just me chanting at the mirror, Travis Bickle style)

Day One

What can I say except… rats arse. It’s Day One of the Going for Gold challenge so this morning I showed up at the scale as promised. 81.6 kilos (179.9lb). This means I have gained 2 kilos (4.5lb) since that magical day I reached the 70s, six weeks ago.

So much for my summer Containment Policy! Grrrr! I am so bloody annoyed at myself. You’d think once I saw the magical digits on the scale that I’d have busted arse to stay there. Instead I relaxed just a wee bit too much. This now means I have 6.6 kilos (just shy of 15lb) to lose over the next sixteen weeks. 6 point bloody six. That’s just one six short of looking positively demonic.

BUT! I ate my cake and now I’ll lie in it, and other confused metaphors. Onward and downward.

Day One has been magnificent! I won’t make a habit of this (as No One Cares What You Had For Lunch) but since it’s gone so swimmingly I will tell you Wot I Ate Today:

B – 40g mix of oats, sesame and pumpkin seeds, small banana, plain yogurt
L – spinach pie with green salad
D – Quorn fillet, carrots, green beans and couscous

My mind has been all over the shop today so I actually forgot to eat my snacks (apple and almonds). I can’t believe it either. And I really must do the online grocery shop tonight, we are eating the dregs now. C’mon brain… focus!

It was rainy and gloomy when I left work and I wanted to slink home directly, but I went to the gym and did 30 minutes of gruelling intervals on the bike then spent just as long faffing round washing my hair. Job done!

This has to be the most tedious entry of all time and no doubt someone will email or comment anonymously that if I keep writing entries like this they will leave and never come back. But I need this blog to keep me focused. RAH!

One day down. To all you groovers who are joining the challenge, hope you had a good day too! Woohoo.

Operation Go For Gold

Ever since Lainey said there was only 14 weeks til Christmas, I have been mildy freaking out about how quickly 2006 is getting away from me. I also looked back at how my  New Years Resolutions are progressing.  Hmmm.

  1. Reduce paranoia, increase confidence!
  2. Write like a mofo.
  3. Eat well
  4. Keep moving my butt.

(They are explained in more detail in the original entry)

Well I think #1 has gone well. And #2 too. #3 has had its moments, but I’ve tracked my food every day as promised, good or bad. And I am about five kilos lighter and a size smaller. #4 has been a bit of a doozy, having to overhaul my exercise goals because of my knee problems. My legs are weak and  I’ve lost a lot of CV fitness. Operations Full Body Push Up and Tricep Dip had to be scrapped due to that whole Bad Shoulder business. Arrrgh. But still. I’m building my upper body strength again, and I tentatively started riding a bike and I’m learning to swim again… so it’s not all hopeless!

But what the calendar has highlighted is a lack of specific focus. As of Monday, it’s 13 weeks til Crimbo and 16 weeks til the Dietgirl 6th Anniversary. So I’m getting official with Operation Go For Gold!

I’ve never really been one to do groovy challenges on my blog, but I like Lainey’s countdown idea and I do quite fancy being at goal by the 6th Anniversary of this site, because anything longer than that just sounds ridiculous. I want to throw myself into this, systematically and enthusiastically. Gareth bought me a tape measure yesterday so I am going to do measurements for the first time. It still annoys me no end that I didn’t take measurements back in 2001, I’d kill to see how many inches I’ve lost since then. But better late than never, eh?

I’ve even got a new spreadsheet. It counts down the weeks from sixteen to ZERO! It tells me my weight in kilos AND pounds! Ooh you know having a spreadsheet makes me feel all warm in the nether regions. Let’s go, baby!

So there will be a few basic rules. They’re not too heavy, just a few parameters to keep my Problem Areas in check.

  1. Weigh-ins will take place each Monday morning, nekkid
  2. Measurements will be done every four weeks
  3. ONE weekly chocolate ration only
  4. Plan meals in advance
  5. Keep food diary
  6. Plan exercise seven days in advance (a la Mary!)
  7. No eating after dinner. When dinner has been scoffed, THAT’S IT for the day, you greedy piggy!

Yeah.

And of course all of the above will be reported on this site.

I’m determined not to scoff down heaps of food between now and the official challenge start as often happens before these campaigns – why make it even harder for myself? My sister is visiting so there are some social challenges this weekend, but I won’t go crazy.

I am so determined for this to really be the final push. I’ve been busting lard for about 275 weeks now, so I have to keep telling myself, you just need to commit fully to SIXTEEN MORE. I really hate "lose X by Y" kind of challenges, but I am just going to be as focused as possible for the next sixteen weeks and see how close it takes me to that number, and hopefully end up a helluva lot more fit and toned in the process.

So if anyone at work sees me wandering by the vending machine, you have full permission to crash tackle me and say, "Stay away, not today, DIET LADY!".

Lesson One

On Thursday night I went to my Former Fancy Gym! The lovely Lainey goes there and kindly invited me along with one of her guest passes. Oooh it was spooky being back there after twenty months away. Not that I’ve been counting. My favourite shouty instructor was still there, and so were the comfy couches and giant changerooms and sprawling fields of cardio equipment.

There were still the same Ladies of Perfection in the changerooms too. I couldn’t help gawking at one woman who had a flawless all-over tan, carefully landscaped nether regions and gravity-defying boobs. Not to mention the arms that had that perfect blend of muscle and slimness. I know it’s wrong to stare but she WAS standing there butt naked with the hairdryer, it’s not like she was shy. As much as I miss the fancy facilities and Body Jam classes, I must admit I feel more at ease at the Girl Gym and Council Gym I go to now, where there’s saggy tits and stretchmarks galore. Much better for one’s self-esteem 😉

Lainey has admitted that our jaws got more exercise than any other body part. Hehe. But it is great to be able to gab about Fat Busting Issues to a real live person. Not that we’re incapable of talking about other things, mind. But it is always hilarious talking about Blog People in real life, as if they live right down the street. At one point I said, "How bloody foxy did Kathryn look today?". As if I’d just seen her at the shops five minutes ago, and not just referring to pictures I’d seen on her blog.

Lainey of course knew what I was on about and said, "Oh I KNOW, she looks so good!"

And then later on Lainey said, "We should try an aqua class. Sue does aqua classes." And I said, "Sue who?" and she said, "Smaller Sue!" and I said, "Oh Smaller Sue. Derr!".

I really love that shit.

. . .

Lainey also mentioned there’s only 14 weeks til Christmas. I dunno about you, but I am totally Going For Gold between now and Christmas. I failed in my Five Year Plan to be at goal by the Dietgirl 5th Anniversary (15 January 2006), so I’ll be damned if this caper is going to take any longer than SIX bloody years. So there.

. . .

Swimming Lesson Report. I did not drown!

I very nearly called up the teacher and cancelled. An hour before I almost threw up, which is my typical response to extreme nerves. I put on my swimmers and examined myself from all different angles in the bathroom mirror, alarmed at the sight of myself naked but for a flimsy bit of lycra. I’m so used to living in Scotland and cowering behind layers and layers of clothes, and that’s the way I prefer it.

Then I needed to pee about 27 times, my second most typical response to extreme nerves. I’d forgotten how complicated that is when you have swimmers on, having to take off your jacket and t-shirt and trackies then peeling off your swimmers over and over again. Arrgh. And the smell of the rubber swimming cap was making me even more nauseous. Yeah, I was panicking big time.

But it was too late to cancel. So fifteen minutes later I stood by the pool, waiting for the teacher and literally shaking like shitting dog (one of Gareth’s favourite phrases). Just looking at the water and all those memories I talked about in the last entry were on replay. I cursed My Stupid Website and my Stupid Public Declaration of Intent. WHY did I have to tell the world I relearning to swim? These plans always look so exciting and brave when they’re just words, but then when the moment of actual action rolls around… well frankly, it sucks.

Then my Teacher arrived and she was lovely. She spoke in soothing, encouraging tones that were no doubt most often used to calm hysterical toddlers, but they worked just as magically on a trembling 28-year-old.

We stepped down into the pool and without thinking my hands shot up in the air and I screwed up my face, expecting the water to be freezing. But it was perfectly tepid, being an indoor heated pool and all. Oh yeah. It was funny how my body automatically assumed the Australian Open-Air Ice-Cold Pool position.

"So Shauna, just start swimming and let me see your technique."

"I don’t have any technique!" I protested, "I haven’t done this for about fifteen years."

"Don’t worry, just have a go!"

Dammit. So I started hacking away at the water in a pseudo-freestyle, or front crawl as they call it here. I managed about two strokes before I was swallowing and snorting and on the verge of drowning.

When I surfaced I looked up at the far end of the pool. It was only 25 metres long but my heart just sank, it seemed like a hundred miles away. How did I ever do endless 50 metre laps at school? I looked at all the tiny kids and puffy old ladies happily lapping away and just felt so cranky and jealous and bloody hopeless.

But the Teacher was positive and reassuring right from the start. I explained that my basic problem was that I just didn’t remember how to swim. I know it sounds dumb, but I just didn’t get the basic concept of how you breathe with your face in the water and propel your body in a forward direction at the same time. So she broke it down to absolute baby steps. First how to let your breath out under water. Then what to do with your arms. How to hold your hands. What to do with your legs.

We worked on one tiny bit at a time. I’d do one tiny thing, two or three tiny strokes, then she’d get me to add one thing, and then another. We used kickboards and foam noodle thingies. I’d swallow some more water. She’d explain another thing in extremely simple language. I’d thrash about some more. I’d readjust my googles. I’d cling to the side of the pool and gasp for air. I’d accidentally kick her in the boobs. Twice.

But she was just such a positive lady and she made me want to do well. This was what was missing at school. Pure encouragement – no mocking, no bullying. I was too busy concentrating to be self-conscious. I was making an arse of things left right and centre, but I loved being in the water. I loved paying attention to her instructions then eagerly trying to replicate. I grinned when I got it right. I frowned when I didn’t and immediately tried again. I was acting like an over-sized over-excited five year old, so desperate to please and ridiculously happy with every word of encouragement.

By the end of the hour she had me doing proper laps of messy breastroke and even excruciatingly slow laps of front crawl. Suddenly the end of the pool didn’t seem so far away. Sure, I had to stop halfway because I kept forgetting when to breathe, so I’d do about ten strokes without a breath then  surface, gasping and groping for the edge of the pool. But I was actually MOVING! Forwards!

But I have soooo much work to do! Aside from my lack of freestyle breathing technique, my legs are a mess. My left leg has a mind of its own, and when I attempt to breastroke it just sort of drags along behind me, smacking the surface of the water. Apparently it’s a common problem but the loud THUMP THUMP THUMP is embarassing. It made me laugh so hard as I did my laps I’d start gulping in water which of course made me stop and thrash about so I didn’t drown. Hmmm. Also with the breastroke, my butt sticks up too high in the air, so I need to learn how to keep it down so I don’t look like a demented caterpillar.

Overall my lower body is really, really weak. No doubt all these long months of knee injury and limited leg work have taken a toll. It’s going to be a hard slog to build up some strength there. At one point I had to do a lap while holding the kickboard and just use my legs only, and I was barely moving! My legs were kicking away but I just wasn’t getting anywhere. Old ladies were zipping past me in a blur. Oh dear.

But my teacher did say my upper body is really strong. There’s something to be proud of. Finally my honking huge shoulders will come in handy for something!

She says I will need a couple more lessons then I should be fine to go lappin’ all by myself. Wow. I am so excited. Soooo excited. I had such a blast. Once I was in the water not once did I think about my fat. I just wanted to learn and get better. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. I really shocked myself with how hard I concentrated and picked up on her instructions. She’d tell me do another lap and I was all, "Woohoo, okay!". I actually wanted to do it.  There was no moaning and excuses like I used to pull with the running. I was just raring to go. I was actually sad when our hour was up.

I will admit, it was a battle at first to not panic, to shut out the Old Doubts and force myself to listen to this lady and learn. I tried to tell her about my History of Crapness, but she’d just say, "You can do it". So I started telling myself, "Why the hell not".

Of course I realise now that I was probably never as crap as I thought I was, all those years ago. It’s amazing how easily you can convince yourself that you’re rubbish, especially when other people are telling you so. But now? I just want to keep at it. I like how I felt in the pool. I liked learning a new skill. I think this is something I could stick to in the long term. I was deliciously sore the next day but my knee wasn’t troubling me. I know I have a loooooong road ahead to learn to breathe and to strengthen my wimpy legs and to not drink the water and to move faster than a geriatric turtle… but I can’t wait. In your FACE, Swimming Fear.

Water Log

The scales went down a couple of pounds this week. I’m back on track with food and exercise. Hurrah!  But I won’t rejoice too much until I am back in the 70s. Bear with me!

. . .

Before I crack on with these swimming lessons, I feel I must explain why I have such Big Issues with the wet stuff. I worry people may be thinking, What’s the big bloody deal? It’s a hole in the ground filled with water. Just get back in there!

So here is some context for my hysteria.

Swimming has always been the personification of Suffering and Humiliation. It’s all my fat girl fears and insecurities tied up in a neat little package. Just the merest whiff of lycra and decades of traumatic memories come flooding back!

It’s hard to avoid the water growing up in Australia. Kids + scorching summers = pools. My problems really began in primary school, where it seemed we did nothing but swim. We had swimming lessons every Monday during February and March, then every day for the last two school weeks of December. So I’d start building up my anxiety around October every year.

I can still remember the feeling of dread as the schoolbus headed for the pool, the smell of zinc cream making me nauseous. It’s not that I was afraid of the water – I loved the actual feeling of being in there. And it’s not that I couldn’t swim – I was extremely slow but I could stay afloat. I just had no confidence. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel hyper-aware of my body and not think that I was fat and hideous. Looking back at old photos, I don’t think I actually was particularly fat or hideous in primary school, but at the time the thought of wrapping my pudgy bod in a swimsuit was a nightmare. I felt so exposed.

My heart would race every minute of the lessons, wondering what they’d make us do next. I didn’t want to jump into the pool because I thought I’d make a bigger splash than my friends. I didn’t want to stand on the blocks because it felt like the eyes of everyone in the pool — even those 50 metres away in the shallow end, even those UNDERWATER — were zoomed in on my freakishness. I was pretty neurotic for a nine-year-old.

Because I was so wound up with fear and self-consciousness, I was a rubbish swimmer. I couldn’t dive for shit, for instance. I remember different teachers trying to teach me and I just couldn’t grasp the concept. I’d bellyflop every time. The worst teaching "method" was when I had to stand on the block and my teacher would wrap his hands around my ankles then sort of fling me in, forcing me into the correct hands-first feet-last position. It was mortifying. Over twenty years later I still can’t stand by the edge of a pool without feeling like there’s a big pair of hands clamped around my ankles.

And then there was the Character Building incident when I joined the local swimming club and had to be fished out of the water by the lifeguard in my freestyle race because I just couldn’t make it.

And then there was that time when my teacher made me jump off the big diving board. I didn’t wanna jump off the big diving board! It wasn’t coz I was scared of heights. Again, it was coz I didn’t want to elevate my fat body to where everyone would stare at me. And it wasn’t my imagination either. Because, when my teacher made me climb that ladder and I stood trembling at the edge of the board, everyone was staring at me. Particularly when I froze there for so long, staring down into the blue abyss, that the pool owner called out over the booming loudspeaker, C’mon Shauna, if you jump off your mum will buy you a packet of chips!

Cue raucous laughter from the crowd.

I distinctly remember glaring down at them and thinking, "Oh great. Now if I jump off everyone’s going to think I only did it FOR THE CHIPS, since I’m such a fatty boombah!"

In the end I jumped. I don’t remember if I got the chips, but I’ve never trod the boards since!

The worst part of that story that my swimming teacher just so happened to be MY MOTHER. She taught at my school at the time. I periodically remind her of this incident and the resulting emotional scars, but I have to say that over twenty years later I am finally letting go and can almost see why everyone else thinks it was so bloody funny.

By the time I got to high school, my hatred of swimming was cemented. I tried to avoid swimming carnivals and pool parties for the next six years, dreaming up all manner of elaborate excuses. I got brave one time after graduation when I was on holiday with my school mates. We were staying a hotel with a rooftop pool and spa. They spent a whole hour trying to persuade me to come for a dip, and I only relented because by that time the sun had set so I’d be less visible!

I remember my size 16 swimsuit, navy and white checks. It was at least two sizes too small, so tight that the squares were stretched and distorted across my enormous butt like chessboard roadkill. But I also remember almost crying from the pure bloody joy of being in the water after so many years. I’d missed that soothing coolness. I momentarily forgot about my fat and my Burning Hatred of Swimming and just relished the moment.

But after that came university, and three busy years of accumulating a size 26 physique.

Finally in 2001 when the Lard Busting began, I made a couple of attempts at returning to the water. The first time was hilarious because I realised I’d forgotten how to swim properly. I couldn’t remember how to do the breathing so I just splashed around for awhile, again surpised at how much I loved being in the water.

We went back a few weeks later, and I’m not sure I ever wrote about it as I was so embarrassed. The pool car park was extremely busy when we arrived. All these kiddies with floaties and noodles and kickboards were streaming out of cars. Tall sporty types with swimming caps strolled purposefully to the entrance. I completely freaked out and told my sister there was no way I going inside, not with this body in these size 24 old lady bathers. I got back in the car and bawled all the way home.

Since then there’s only been the Blue Lagoon and a brief dip at the hotel pool in Lisbon this year. But as I said recently, it’s high time to kiss these old hangups goodbye. I’ll be thirty next year, so it’s sad to still be clinging to the fears of a nine-year-old. I’ve had a good start by conquering my fears of running and cycling, but I know the biggest challenge is the pool.

Thank you if you made it this far! I just had to let it all out and have a good laugh at myself. Next entry I’ll let you how I got on with my first lesson.

Diet Lady

Here are some snapshots of my life out of the fatblogging closet, ever since those newspaper articles.

Scene 1: The vending machine at work.

SHAUNA:
Oooh bugger! There's no Minstrels. I really wanted Minstrels.

COLLEAGUE:
Should you even be anywhere near that machine, DIETGIRL?


Scene 2: At the train station, late at night.

[A friend spots us and runs over. I think he might have been a little altered.]

FRIEND:
Heyyyy! I saw you in the paper!

SHAUNA:
D'oh!

FRIEND:
What a surprise eh? Diet Lady! Hello Diet Lady!
Hey don't look embarrassed, it's so cool. BE PROUD, DIET LADY!
… It is Diet Lady, isn't it?

. . .

I would give my efforts a C+ so far this week. Exercise is all coming together but the eating has had some really sucky moments. And the scales were up. I am back in the 80s. But I don't plan on staying there. So I am not going to update the sidebar, as that would be too demoralising. I've done all my moping and yesterday and today were good days. Onward and downward. Don't give up on me kiddies!

. . .

The following is a wee quote I read in Oprah magazine. At the end of 2004 when I was having my existential crisis (aka Will Gareth Marry Me or Will I Be Deported), I somehow thought an annual subscription to Oprah would make me feel better. Hmmm.

Anyway:

"Are you waiting to be skinnier, thinner, more toned, more tanned, better dressed, sexier, more loveable, nicer, smarter, funnier or wealthier before you really begin your life? Millions of us are. And it's a complete waste of time. Body obsession and the quest for perfection are destroying our lives, and we are willing partners in this destruction."
– Jessica Weiner in Do I Look Fat In This? (Simon & Schuster)

I ripped out that page and have been meaning to blog it for yonks; I was just waiting for an appropriate moment. This may seem like a flimsy premise, but after a sad week that's seen famous Australian race-car drivers, writers, politicians and croc-fiends leave us, maybe it's time to think about what our passions are and whether or not we're holding ourselves back.

I know I've been guilty of it. All the blokes I mentioned wholeheartedly pursued their interests, and I doubt if Steve Irwin ever paused to wonder if his bum looked big in his khaki shorts.

Let's not wait around for smaller thighs or a tiny tum. Let's just get out there and go for it right now.

The Scales of Delusion

The problem with holidays is not so much the holiday itself but when you’re back home and desperately clinging to that lovely Holiday Feeling.

In other words, being lazy and eating like a pork.

I spoke too soon in last Wednesday’s entry. I had the week off work so after Amsterdam all I did was write, sleep, read, watch telly and eat toast. No exercise. Not many vegetables.

On Friday I went to Edinburgh and decided to take myself out to lunch. I’ve never done that before and it seemed like a glamourous sort of thing to do. I paced around peering into cafes looking for the perfect spot, but in the end I just went for a gigantic Hawaiian beef burger and a chocolate thickshake from Wannaburger, because I’ve been there a million times and knew it would be good. I only ate two-thirds of the burger, which astounded me coz normally I would cram in that beefy bacony pineapplely cheesy goodness until my jeans exploded. Way to go, listening to my stomach!

Then on Saturday night Dr G and I drove out to Anstruther and ate fish and chips by the sea. It was dark and rainy. Ahh, the dying dregs of a Scottish summer.

They had a sign in the window, "Did you know that our fish and chips have less fat and calories than a Whopper Meal from Burger King?"

Now how’s that for a marketing angle? Fish and Chips – Not Quite As Bad For You As Fast Food!

. . .

So I wouldn’t say I’ve completely gone off the rails, I’ve just had a slight… diversion. But I’m feeling mega-blobby and need to refocus, dammit. I desperately want to blast off these last ten pounds. This won’t happen while parked on the couch!

I went to the Girl Gym last night. For the first time since my induction, a month ago. Fark! I had been doing Cathe DVDs at home now and then, but the overall theme has been: Slackarsedness.

So I got on the bike then did upper body weights. It was so strange to do exercise with mirrors! Normally I’m at home performing for the bed, wardrobe and pot plants. We don’t have a full-length in our flat and there wasn’t any at my old gym. I actually did a cartoon double-take while using the tricep press-down machine thingy coz I didn’t recognise my own butt and hips. They were a lot smaller than I thought. My stomach has shrunk too! But another five kilos or so and it would be much less pokey-outy! All the more incentive to get movin’.

(Incidentally, I barely recognised my posture either! It really has improved. Finally. No more rounded shoulders! The physio would be proud.)

The Girl Gym is bloody hilarious and surreal. Every other gym I’ve seen on a Monday night was heaving with sweaty bodies, everyone flushed with early-week resolve… but last night I didn’t see a single pink cheek. I was the only one in the room not reading a magazine, no exaggeration. The other ladies seemed to be in a very leisurely mood. There was even a woman reading while using the leg press machine! I’d never seen someone read while doing weights before. She got so absorbed in Hello magazine that she didn’t even pretend to do the exercise after awhile, she just sat there flipping through the pages.

Maybe it’s not always like that, but I don’t mind. There’s no fighting over machines or dumbells, in fact I only saw one pair of dumbells used in the hour I was there, those dinky wee pink plastic ones. Best of all, since noone was sweating noone needed the change rooms, so I had a leisurely shower and washed my hair. We only have a bath in our wee flat, so it so nice not to rinse out shampoo with a teacup. Happy days!

Most brilliant of all at this gym are its Scales of Delusion. They said I weighed a good five kilos lighter than I do on my home scale and every other scale I know! Methinks they are designed to trick patrons into believing that reading a six-month old copy of Cosmopoliation while cycling two miles per hour has serious health benefits, so they’ll keep coming back. So last night I stepped on and off them about seventeen times, just marvelling at seeing the dial at 75 kilos. Holy crap, I wish that was for real.

Overall I liked the Girl Gym experience. It was nice to have a special House of Exercise to go to. Having a water bottle and a locker key and a miniature bottle of shampoo all makes me feel focused. At the very least, I’ll keep going for the showers!