As the first warm rays of summer appeared my mind turned, as it always does, to how exactly I plan to lose those few pounds which have crept onto my hips and thighs over the long, and exceedingly cold, winter months.
As, of course, has everyone elses. Fellow JOMEC student Esther Armstrong is detailing her search for the perfect bridesmaid body on her blog, while the magazines and newspapers hand out hints and tips a-plenty to help us all lose those inches.
And I am reading it all, enraptured, hoping someone will give me the perfect recipe for shifting that half stone.
I know I don’t have Esther’s commitment, nor the money the Times quick fix solution requires. I needed something easy and cheap, something that doesn’t take much time, or require me to go to much out of my way.
Skipping, I decided, was the perfect thing. It was cheap – I purchased a rope for £1.99 -, convenient – at the risk of being classed as bonkers by the neighbours, I have been skipping in the back garden -, but it is not easy.
Skipping apparently burns twice the calories swimming will in fifteen minutes. However, after fifteen minutes of skipping, I wanted to die. And after three days of skipping religiously? Well, I woke up and couldn’t walk, my muscles rebelling against the torture I was inflicting.
And then, today, I learn this little bit of trivia from the Times:
A pound of body fat is the equivalent of about 3,500 calories. If you have a calorie deficit of 500 calories (ie, you burn 500 calories more than you eat each day), you would lose about 1lb a week.
Well, it deflated my ambitions quite a lot. You see, I love food. I know the half stone I have put on over the winter is pure Haribo. And I enjoyed every, single sweetie I ate. And I don’t want to give it up. Combined with my own dislike of exercise, the likelihood of me ever managing to burn 500 calories more than I’ve eaten is on a par with Gordon Brown winning the next election.
All is not lost for lazy, greedy people like me though. My morale has been lifted by Liz Jones, writing for the Daily Mail, who worries “women … have had their lives ruined by trying to pummel their bodies into a shape that is unnatural for them” and argues “that making us think about what we ate today and what we will eat tomorrow is a great way of ensuring women don’t have the energy to succeed”.
The latter statement is maybe slightly extreme, however, next time I reach for the Haribo, I am going to remind myself it means I will be successful because the sugar rush will give me the energy*…
*(This, of course, ignores the many surveys which point out skinny, pretty people are more successful… ah well.)