Post the Easter chocolate overload, Mum-of-three Becky Dickinson embarks on a new health regime to shed the baby weight…
Here comes a point when you can no longer blame the wobbly bit around your middle on reproduction. Baby A has just turned two and I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘toddler weight’, apart from polishing off half-eaten fish fingers. Meaning it’s either genetic, or I eat too much chocolate. I’m guessing the latter.
My only consolation is that Unhusband has also developed a matching midriff so now we have His and Hers wobbly bits and he definitely can’t blame it on reproduction. Being there for the conception doesn’t count. One of the annoying things about Unhusband is that he has way more willpower than I have. So when he announces he’s going to do the 5:2 diet, I know that means he’s going to do the 5:2 diet.
This means he will definitely shed the non-baby weight while mine will continue to provide a source of amusement to the kids, whose current bedtime routine involves singing ‘Mummy on a plate’ to the tune of Jelly on a Plate while wobbling the squidgy bit above my jeans. That’s not something I’ll be sharing on Facebook.
Anyway, the next morning Unhusband comes downstairs and starts tapping the contents of his breakfast into a ridiculous app he’s downloaded which tells him precisely how many atoms of saturated fat, dietary fibre – and probably oxygen – he’s allowed to consume in one day.
It’s way too technical for me, and phones are banned at the table. Besides, there’s no way I could survive on a small poached egg and half a glass of orange juice without passing out on the school run. Instead, I dollop some syrup on my porridge and resolve to join the gym.
Oh hang on, I already did about five months ago. Better change that resolution to: start actually going to the gym. The trouble is, cavorting around after three children during the day means I can’t go until Unhusband is back from work in the evening – by which stage I’m already knackered. Still, the thought of Unhusband losing five kilos before me spurs me on.
I drag myself along and try not to look like the newbie. The cardio room looks about as tempting as tidying up the kids’ bedroom. Actually, I think I’d rather wade through piles of LEGO, soft toys and dirty socks, than jump on any of the torture devices on offer.
I ignore the treadmills laughing at me on the back row and give the rowing machines a wide berth too. Which basically leaves the bike or the cross trainer. I opt for the cross trainer, at least I can pretend I’m doing something fun like skiing.
Once I get the hang of the weird elliptical motion thing, it’s not too bad. Maybe I’m not that unfit after all, I think, hopefully. Then suddenly, a message flashes across the screen: Attention: heart rate high! OMG, even the cross trainer is worried I’m going to have a premature cardiac arrest. Better get off then.
Trying to disguise my alarm, I mention it to one of the members of staff. “Oh, it’s probably just to do with your age,” she reassures me. Charming! So in my (extremely early) forties, I’m already an insurance risk. I decide to give the bike a go instead. At least I can sit down for that one.
After 10 minutes I’ve had enough. It’s not that I’m (particularly) out of breath, it is just so boring. Could there be anything more pointless in life than cycling nowhere while watching Kirstie Allsopp 10cm from your face on a screen with no sound because you have forgotten to bring any headphones?
What’s more, after 10 minutes of working up a sweat, the bike display tells me I’ve used just 67 calories. What? That’s not even a Jammie Dodger – 85 calories in case you’re wondering. And as for a KitKat Chunky, don’t even ask, unless you’re thinking of doing the Tour de France.
I faff around on the weight machines for a bit, but it has been so long since I’ve used them that I can’t really remember what to do, except for the thigh trainer. There’s something rather undignified about opening and closing your legs and grunting like that in a public. Not quite as undignified as giving birth perhaps, but at least you’re guaranteed to lose a few pounds after doing that.
When no one’s looking I finish my workout (I use the term loosely) with a few sit-ups. I use this term even more loosely; it seems I left my stomach muscles somewhere in the labour ward and sit-ups no longer work. I try the plank instead, then realise my top isn’t tucked in and my jelly belly is hanging down for everyone to see. Oh well, at least I’ve got three children to show for it (and about 300 stretch marks.) And that ‘Mummy on a plate’ song really is quite amusing.
Suddenly I have the urge to be back home, to kiss them all goodnight and marvel at their cuteness (always easier when they’re asleep). Perhaps I’ll forget the gym and embrace my wobbly bits instead. Skipping the shower (I didn’t really get that sweaty) I make a quick exit before the personal trainer woman can ask how my “workout” went.
By the time I get home, Unhusband is stretched out on the sofa, fiddling with his phone again, no doubt trying to eke out some extra calories, having eaten only the prescribed number of chickpeas and a few cherry tomatoes since breakfast. “I’m starving,” he moans. “Me too,” I reply. There’s a silent stand-off as we wait to see who will be the first to cave in to this new health regime. “Is there any pizza in the freezer?” asks Unhusband.
For more on Becky Dickinson’s family life click here