It felt as if the cheeks of my backside were bumping against the backs of my knees, as if my post-Christmas muffin top had not quite set and would pour over the elasticated waistband of my running leggings, but I did it. I went out for my first run of 2015. I say run; it was really more of a shuffle or a ‘joggette’. To be fair, it was my first bit of real exertion in a while. The chest infection and hacking cough that had been hanging on since early December were still lurking in my lungs on the uphills, threatening to explode messily and alarm passing dog-walkers. The neck and shoulder muscles that have set like concrete after years of extreme activities started screaming after just a few miles (who am I kidding – a few metres), and the large piece of Christmas cake I had hoovered down earlier in the afternoon almost made a colourful reappearance due to the excess of effort.
Now the trick is not to allow myself to feel disproportionately virtuous for my small trot around the block and justify rewarding myself with a large amount of snacks or wine. I cannot keep wearing the same pair of (baggy) jeans forever – they will eventually leave home of their own accord if I do not wash them – and one of these days the cold weather will be pushed out by a glorious summer (I am trying to think positive) and I will have to peel off the clothing currently camouflaging my hibernation layers. So when I am tempted by steak and chips with a nice glass (or three) of Rioja, a cream pasta with yet more red wine, or a gluttonous portion of Nandos chicken, I will remind myself that even though I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, what I will call my 2015 ‘reboot’ of that relatively healthy lifestyle I used to have, must continue.
I tell myself that as I get back into it, I will start to enjoy my runs around the local countryside, sucking up the vitamin D as the days get longer and stretch into balmy sunlit evenings, silently scoring the immaculately English country gardens as I pass their green-fingered owners pruning and trimming the spring flowers, and slowing to quietly observe the families of deer foraging in the woods. I tell myself that at the gym, I will be able to enjoy the smug feeling of still being there punching and whooping my way through Body Attack classes when the New-Year-resolution-joiners of 2015 have long lost interest and torn up their membership.
But most of all, I tell myself that as I get back into it, I will start to feel the cheeks of my backside returning to their rightful position, the muffin top melt away and my breathing calm to a more dignified wheeze. I will then genuinely be entitled to that steak and chips, that glass of wine (or three), and the leftover Christmas cake that I have yet to hoover up.