If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I have weight issues – I always want to be thinner than I am. I’m not bulimic or anything like that. I just wish my tummy was a whole lot flatter. I weigh a rather scary 73kg even though it doesn’t really show because I’m 5’6 and curvy, but my BMI is 27 and it really does bug me. So starting last month, I decided to do something about it.

It happened quite accidentally. I was visiting my cousin and I saw this timetable on her wall, so I asked her what it was about. She told me she was on The 4 Day Diet. It’s not nearly as cheesy as it sounds – it actually lasts for 28 days, and includes about 4 hours of exercise every week. I ordered the book on Kalahari. Three months and several frustrating phone calls later, the book arrived.

No, it's not what is sounds like, even though once I bought the book, Princess read the cover, stared at me in horror and yelled, 'Mummy, you want to be thin on Friday?!?' God I love that child.

Now here’s the thing. Apart from my midriff section, I quite like the way I look. I enjoy the double dees, and I look okay in jeans. Also, I love food. Every man I’ve been with [and some women I haven’t been with] has commented on my appetite. For food. I allegedly eat a lot. So any kind of diet is hard for me on several levels. One, I don’t want to lose the pretty curves. Two, it’s really, really, really hard for me to say no to good food. And it’s even harder to be thought as a girl who ‘watches her portions’ *shudder*.

But I’m turning 30 at the end of this year, and that brings with it all sorts of insecurities. Fortunately, I have an 8 year old daughter, so I skipped over the bio-clock thing. But I’d still like to look my best, so I set out this big, ambitious plan. I was going to lose 15kg in 6 months. If I lost just one kilo per week, I’d be done long before then, and I’m doing okay so far.

But … the programme involves exercise … and … well … and I suck at exercise. I recently got a new job in Westlands, and I have to report to work at 8.30. That means I wake up at 5.30, get my baby ready for school, walk with her to gate, and get on the mathree at 7.00 a.m. Exercise would mean waking up at 4.00 a.m. to do tae-bo. The tae-bo part is fine. The getting up at 4.oo not so much. I suppose I could exercise at night, but I usually get home at 8.00 or 9.00 p.m. and I’m too tired to do anything but cuddle the babies and sleep. Thank goodness I’m the ‘man of the house’ so I’m not required to provide sex after work.

The diet has 4 day cycles, so you do 4 days of detox, 4 days of protein, 4 days of pampering and etc and etc. There are cycles where you’re not meant to have any carbs, and I admit, those ones are hard for me. Yes, I cheat. But despite doing no exercise and cheating on occasion, I’ve managed to lose 3kg in 3 weeks, so yay! Of course if I’d stop cheating and exercise, I could reach my target a lot sooner than that. And I hope I don’t plateau before I get there.

Anyway, this story is about fake cardio. I had concluded that if I could just run up and down the office stairs ten times a day, I’d do all the cardio I need. But two Saturdays into the diet, that wasn’t going very well. It’s not that I can’t climb the stairs – I can. It’s that I’m … well … embarrassed shy. See, my office in on the 4th Floor of our building, and each floor is separated by two flights of stairs. The lift only goes up to the 3rd Floor, so everyone has to walk up the last two flights of stairs.

At the top of the stairs, there’s a G4S guy, and he knows how the stairs work. So every day, I run up the 8 flights of stairs and get to the top panting like I’ve just run a marathon. He assumes I’ve just come off the lift and am exhausted after scaling a mere handful of steps, so he stares at me like ‘Really?!’ So yeah, that form of cardio isn’t on anymore.

Anyway, Saturday. I was feeling guilty because I’d had a pack of fries for breakfast [What. It was either that or two huge chocolate doughnuts. I’ve had dreams about those doughnuts. Dreams!] I was standing at the bus stop waiting for my ride home and the mathrees were taking a little too long to arrive. After waiting for maybe half an hour, it occurred to me that I could walk. Other people were doing it, and it would only take me three hours to get from Church Road to Westlands, right? And after that, I might as well go all the way to town, right? It would burn off the fries I’d had…

While I was thinking these blasphemous thoughts, a mathree finally arrived, and I was about to get on when a workmate got off. We chatted for a while, then he went to look for something to eat … and I realized that the mathree had left me. Crud. I was toying with the idea of walking again when a second matatu arrived, thank God. Because I really don’t think I would have made it all the way to Westlands…

So here I am, three kilos lighter, with just five to go. I feel pretty pleased with myself, and I plan to go on at this pace. I’m crossing fingers against weight plateaus because if that happens, well, I’ll have to stop cheating, and I’d have to do the exercise portion of things *shudder*. I don’t think I’ll end things with a washboard tummy, but I have a slightly more healthy lifestyle. I’ve learnt to cut down my sugar and my portions, to cook brown rice, and to pile my plate with veggies and legumes so there’s barely space for carbs. Today I served up a regular lunch and it was too much to finish, and that felt awesome because it means my body can now operate on less, yay!

I’m not sure how this translates into dates. I mean, I won’t have men complimenting my eating capacity now. *pout* The guys at work look at my plate, sneer, and ask, ‘Is that enough for you?’ I bow my head in shame as I admit that I am now one of ‘those girls’ and I almost want to eat in the closet! But I think I’m still kind of doing okay … as long as I don’t walk into a restaurant and order a plate of salad. That would be so wrong. So very, very wrong…

Without you Breaking Benjamin

110 thoughts on “Fake Cardio

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