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Day 34: Exercise (or: Starting again, yet again)

Today I have made a noble attempt to look after myself by exercising. Last time I 'started again', I injured myself by attempting to run like a fit person while hugely unfit and overweight. (Although the thing that really stopped me in my tracks was a foot injury related to the blimming kids leaving blimming Lego on the blimming carpet.) So, feeling wise, smug and slightly Zen, I decided to take baby steps and begin with an exercise DVD. Also, I was going to do one of the workout sessions on the DVD, not all of them, taking me into a whole new world of moderation. We're talking 20 minutes of Davina here, not Nell McAndrew or 30 Day Shred or even kettlebells.

An hour and a half after my planned start time, not much has happened. Well, I did hoover and clear Lego off the carpet, put on my work-out clothes, warn the neighbour that there might be crashing noises, prepare a water bottle and change my shoes twice, but no actual exercise has been done. Why? Because I can't work the sodding tv. Seriously, do we need that many cords, switches, remotes and so on? I was very proud when the tv came on, then, half an hour later, I got the DVD player not only functioning but connected to the tv. Could I do anything but watch Davina's introductory talk again and again on a loop, though? Of course I couldn't. The remote doesn't work - and yes, I tried new batteries - and there doesn't seem to be a way to move to the next 'track' without the remote. I was not going to be beaten, so I tried every exercise DVD in the house in case any of them would just start on the exercise bit if I pushed the Play arrow, but no such luck. Exercise video people, we don't want you to talk. Just get on with the sweaty bits and make my backside fit into my jeans. Gah.

I did then realise that I could find something on YouYube and connect the laptop to the tv, but dear god, that amount of cord-fiddling was going to be well beyond me. And then I saw the time. So I've given up on that for today, and instead am ranting on here, and will squeeze in a trip to CAMHS to pick up one son's meds, then the supermarket, then a hunt for cricket kit that is needed tonight but hasn't been seen for months, plus all the other usual Mum stuff.

But what I wanted to say, really, is that I refuse to hate myself this time for (a) failing to start again with exercise and (b) needing to start again with exercise. In my 'all or nothing' history, exercise is a biggie. I joined a gym when I was still at secondary school and exercised pretty regularly until I spent most of a year in France, where the gym was an altogether odd and over-priced affair, featuring gentle stretches, sunbathing and diet pills. (Apparently there is a direct link between lack of muscle tone and the consumption of baguettes. I'm still confused.) I started again at a gym soon after I moved to England and got myself pretty much addicted. For several years, I would turn up for hours at a time, for classes or gym sessions. Weirdly, I stopped the day of 9/11. I'd seen the Towers come down on a computer screen at work, but that evening the coverage was all over the screens at the gym and I just went home and didn't feel like going to the gym again. Ever. (I worked out later that I'd been a regular attendee at gyms for 7 years, but all of a sudden I didn't fancy it. Another one for the therapists, no doubt.) There followed a few years where my job took over and I found excuses not to exercise, interspersed with the odd few weeks of resolve, each time at a new gym, as I was too embarrassed to show my face at the previous ones. After I had my kids, running was my new obsession. I absolutely love to run and ran regularly for a few years, before injuries interrupted me. Then I walked, training for a year to walk from London to Brighton in a fundraising event - for ADD-vance, of course. After the event I knew I would miss the training, but could no longer justify the many hours I spent on 20 km walks while the boys were at school. A few attempts to start running were interrupted by further injury, but I did at least have a weekly Cobra session with the crazy ladies (and one tolerant gent) from the village and surrounding area. (It's a kind of Bulgarian Bag thing, if you care enough to google it.) Then I missed that for a load of appointments for the boys, then it was the summer, then the class was cancelled. And so I've been a blob for many months.

Each time I hit blob zone, and I'm sure (or I hope!) that lots of you can relate to this, starting again is incredibly hard and somewhat depressing. Exercise just isn't fun until you can get through a decent amount of it without feeling like you might die. And as I get older, starting again gets harder. And then I hate myself for having worked through this 'beginner' stage to a good level of fitness, then letting it go again. How did I forget again that forcing myself to keep going while already fit would be easier than the many weeks of pain and puffing and panting that comes with starting again? Why am I so stupid? And so stupid repeatedly? Will I never learn my lesson?

But you know what? I'm a grown-up now and I don't have time to torture myself. It is what it is, and it will only become a genuine problem if I don't start again at all. So today didn't happen. Tomorrow I have two appointments and a school assembly, so that won't happen either. But Friday is looking good. I'm not going to feel guilty for having a life that gets in the way sometimes, and boys that need me more than most and have entire teams of professionals who keep summoning me to meetings! I'm not competing with anyone, and I don't have to be perfect. Just 'trying' is enough for me.

Trying to exercise, but also to work the accursed remotes.

Thank you again for all the donations to ADD-vance, and for the personal support that many of you have shown me. Any further donations can be made via the following link:


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