I’ve been thinking about it for a while, really. I was sick of looking in the mirror and seeing the remnants of cigarettes and pints winding all over my face. I’m only 24 but am extremely paranoid about being old. I had fits when I became 20 and was no longer a teenager. The more that the shrouded figure of being grown up – looking older, less people wanting to sleep with me and the prospect of having ‘responsibilities’ – crept upon me, the less I liked it.
When I was a child I always thought that I would grow up to be tall, muscled and handsome just as a matter of course. I didn’t realise that I may have to do some ‘exercise’ or something. Ah well, none out of three ain’t bad. Oh hang on, yeah that is quite bad, isn’t it? I mean, how ridiculous is the prospect of exercise? Luckily I did not grow up to be a huge tubster despite my revolting eating habits at university. The staff at McDonald’s knew me by name and said hello to me when I saw them in pubs. Bad sign. Bad, baaaad sign. I had always eaten well when I was living at my mother’s house but apart from a few half-hearted attempts at hockey and playing shockingly bad tennis in the summer, my exercise was limited.
So I had a PLAN. I would eat healthily, join a gym (I really, really meant this at the time) and I would also stop smoking. I have to point out that when I decided all this I was of sound mind, but wrecked body. I had a horrendous cough and was sick of hacking up phlegm balls the size of a urinal every morning. Running was impossible…even the 3 yards to the bus stop had me clutching my chest and gasping like Old Father Steptoe.
Stage one of the plan was the exercise. I started off well by walking home from work every evening (about 3 miles across town, not TOO bad for a start), and my next step was to join a gym. I was expecting a little lump sum so I thought that would be me launched on to the exercise frenzy! Not to be. Well, gyms are just sooo expensive and I was terrified to be honest. Despite friends telling me that gyms were cool now and that everybody was friendly, I just had visions of the one my mum used to go to when I was a kid. During the holidays, I had to go with her as there was nobody to look after me. I would sit on the hot pink plastic sofas and scowl with a 12p cup of juice and watch my mother torture herself on huge machines, whilst body terrorists in stripy leotards, leg-warmers and ‘muscle’ tops (this is the 80s we’re talking about here boys and girls) sauntered about looking healthy. Also, I didn’t really have the money to join a gym so that was put on the back burner for a wee while.
I decided to do the fags and eating thing at the same time because when I was hungry but could never be arsed to cook I would smoke a couple of fags and have a can of Coke. So I trotted along to my local supermarket and managed to dig out a few healthy salads even though they are not really popular in Scotland. You see, health is not really that ‘in’ amongst the Edinburgh folk, judging by the grub they eat, but more of that another time….
I stopped smoking cigarettes at work completely, smoking only 2 or 3 at home, and ate very well and often to make up for it.
And how am I doing? Well, I’m sick of eating and I still miss the old cancer sticks. I have actually started to smoke the odd one at work now due to my ‘high-pressure’ job (yes, yes, cop out of the century). I still eat a salad every now and again, but with mammoth-size portions to make up for the ‘salad is rabbit food’ concept.
On the whole I feel healthy, my skin is à la baby’s ass, but if I don’t get my hands on a quarter-pounder burger soon I’m just going to jump into a field and devour a live cow…