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Excerpt From 'Making March'- Sweat and Tears


5 February 2017

8 am

Even though I have been defeated in the quest to lose weight before the wedding, Heather and Tracy managed to rope me into going for a power walk this morning before we all venture out on today’s wedding mission. I don’t know why they call it a power walk, as I feel like someone has promptly pulled my plug out of the wall. I am positively exhausted after completing only one block. It felt like I was lugging around a huge bag of wet sand.

It is not just diets I detest. In case you have not already guessed, I am not a fan of exercise either. Every form of exercise I attempt ends up with me looking ridiculous or sustaining an injury of some sort doing something stupid. I am convinced that exercise was invented in order to torture us all.

I really hate gyms. They are hideously heinous institutions designed to make us feel miserable and intimidate us all with their complex machines. You end up having your hard- earned money taken out of your account monthly just for the prestigious privilege of humiliation. All they do is make you feel inferior, ugly, and very fat.

Let’s see, you have the women only gym. Sure, there might be some other big women there, but you know that most are probably judging you every which way but Sunday. You are both there for the same reason after all, but no, it has to be a competition with each other. Why can’t women simply support each other?

Most women are just beastly bitches in disguise. I have always preferred the friendship of men with the exception of Heather, and this is the very reason why. A female only gym will only prolong the misery as there isn’t even anything worth looking at. A good perv at some random guy’s impressive biceps goes a long way and would give me a reason to at least give it a go.

Then there are the complete show-offs who come to work out with their perfect hair and their perfect make-up. They look like an air hostess about to offer you a tiny pillow and a plastic smile. These people clearly do not need to lose any weight and are only there to show off their toned bodies, as they do not even work up a sweat. I usually end up looking like Mrs Hannigan from Annie. Despicably dishevelled and in need of a stiff drink.

I have always liked the water, so I tried aqua aerobics. If I thought I was uncoordinated on land, it was even worse in the pool. With the resistance of the water, every move felt like I was pushing a baby elephant up a steep hill with one arm tied firmly behind my back. One bonus to this form of exercise, however, is that it makes you feel quite youthful as most participants have at least one foot firmly in the grave.

I have never had much upper-body strength, and we were given those big foam dumbbells you use under the water. I lost my grip on one of them, and as it launched itself out of the pool like a rocket, it bounced off one lady’s head before smashing into the instructor’s face, knocking her glasses clean off her flushed face. Everyone glared at me as if to say, ‘Who is this crazy lady? Get her out of the pool before she takes somebody’s eye out’. Needless to say, I will not be back to put on a repeat performance anytime soon.

Old-fashioned aerobics without the water. Oh, my lord. I didn’t seem to know my right foot from my left. The music was fantastic, though, as the instructor was pumping out Olivia Newton John’s greatest hits. I then proceeded to look like a right fool and gave a new meaning to ‘Let’s Get Physical’ as I bumped into so many people, I ended up coming away with more bruises than a rotten apple. The other participants required the skill of the Artful Dodger in order to have any chance of avoiding my unwanted advances.

I tried a circuit class once. That was interesting. By the time I got the hang of whatever torture device I had landed on, it was time to move on to the next. By the time I managed to prise my body away from the malicious machine, I had the woman right behind me glaring at me to get a move on. I got so disorientated with which way I was supposed to be going and felt so dizzy it was like I had launched myself off a merry-go-round.

Group boot camp was pure pain and suffering. It was held in the local park. I do not think the members of the general public out walking their dogs, wish to witness my love handles struggling to make it up and down the huge patch of grass while I puff and pant like a pervert making a late-night prank call.

My introduction to boot camp–style training was a high-intensity boxing workout. I was so hopelessly uncoordinated that my poor partner got punched in the face and chest on more than one occasion as I continually missed the pads completely. My aim really sucks. Do not put me on the basketball team.

The second night of boot camp involved moving around a circuit of different stations where we had to perform each exercise for one minute before moving on to the next. Since this form of fitness takes place outside, I thought I might as well get better acquainted with nature as I face planted onto the dirt, tripping over the brightly coloured cones that had been laid out for the beep test.

The worst station by far was the one where we had to put on a velcro vest attached to a tyre on a long rope. We then had to run out to a tree approximately one hundred metres away and back again. I really struggled with it, which is very surprising. You think I would find it a piece of cake as I have been carting around a very large extra tyre for years now.

I tried buying myself a pushbike to go for daily evening rides. It usually went well until I came across an incline of any description. I could never make it up the hill without getting off the bike and walking it up the rest of the way. My legs just gave up on me, and it then played out like the story of the little chubby that tried. I think I can, I think I can … Nope, I can’t.

While we are on the subject of jelly legs, have you ever experienced the sheer burning pain that is a spin class? After an hour of that hell, I could not walk for over a week. It was worse than prying yourself off a horse after a long ride through the hills. The hills were most certainly alive with the sound of agony that night.

Jogging was fun. Firstly, as I am not exactly athletically gifted, I tripped twice, on one occasion ever so gracefully landing backside first into a cardboard box left by the side of the road. Secondly, I forgot to buy a sports bra for the occasion and hopelessly hopped along the road almost giving myself a black eye in the process. If I am ever brave or stupid enough to try jogging again, I shall invest in a good bra so I don’t end up looking like Bill Sykes’s dog from Oliver Twist.

All the cheesy exercise DVDs that I have eagerly run out to purchase over the years are now all quietly collecting inches of dust somewhere in the back of my TV cabinet. My attempts at in-home Pilates, aerobics, and toning have resulted in three broken toes, one shattered glass coffee table, and one very traumatised little cat.

Poor Ebony usually looks up just in time to see my ample backside hurtling towards her like an asteroid threatening to destroy the earth as I lose my footing, and she watches on in horror and runs for her life. She has used up at least six of her nine lives witnessing my shameful shenanigans. It is not very hard to see where the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ came from.

I even bought a shiny new exercise bike and a treadmill from one of those websites that offer you a bonus item if you call now. I thought, as I didn’t have to drag my backside to the gym, I would use them every day. I am pleased to report that they do in fact get used almost every day. The Bombay Bandit sleeps on the treadmill as it gets the afternoon sun, and the exercise bike is perfect for drying my underwear. Hey, don’t judge me. My heart rate is rapidly rising just thinking about exercise. Does that count?

Diet and exercise is one thing, but when you are on the curvy side, shopping for clothes is another. It is a never-ending source of mental anguish and pain. First of all, you are lucky if the shop has your size. If you are lucky enough, however, to actually find it in your size, the manufacturers think you are obviously seven feet tall as the shirts resemble a nightdress. Granted a short one at that, but a nightdress nonetheless. They also think you have the arms of a gorilla as the sleeves usually extend way past where your fingertips end.

There are shops that specialise in larger sizes, but have you noticed that they charge almost double than the smaller-sized shops for the same thing? Bra shopping when you have big breasts is also an expensive venture. If you want a pretty bra that also offers the right amount of support and does not resemble a beige-coloured sling designed for a cow’s udder, you will pay about eighty dollars for one bra.

I still have to find a new swimming costume and sarong for the hens’ weekend cruise. The sarong will pose a challenge as most of the ones on the rack would be lucky to wrap around my legs comfortably. I might have more luck shopping online. The manufacturers of swimming costumes think that all big women wish to look like their grandma.

If I can manage to find a black flattering costume without thigh-covering mudflaps, it will be a miracle. I might just purchase a floral rubber swimming cap while I am at it to complete the look. I have always been a tragic fan of the classic seventies TV show The Love Boat; however, looking like I have just stepped out of an episode might be taking it a bit too far.

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