The Vital Ingredient
I'd been thinking about it for a while. Peter, my aging mentor, friend, and in some ways, my saviour, had been on to me about it.
I was twenty one, about three and a half stone overweight, and putting a brave face on it, pretending I didn't care.
Or how I looked. Or how I felt. I was aggressively indifferent. I'd had one or two snide remarks, to which I'd answered, 'If you don't like what you see, don't look', and thought I was the bee's knees; clever, quick, insouciant.
But I'd heard it. And I'd felt it. So I started planning. That is to say, that I'd got to the stage where I had started to think about planning.
I was behaving like the Bravuras in boarding school, those who swagger around pretending not to care about application, or exams, or results, and nearly blind themselves with the torchwork study they do under the bedclothes every night. Yes, every night.
But my planning was aimed at getting myself back into good shape. I read the one or two magazines devoted to fitness and weight training that were published at the time, but those mags were all about the Bodybuilding craze which was starting then in earnest, That wasn't for me. I'd never, and still don't, contribute to the notion that arms and legs and other parts of the body, developed to the edge of deformity, have much bearing on the quality of life. And yes, I know, Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom I admire, wouldn't agree, and has the credentials to support his argument. But that's my view; fitness has to contribute to a personal purpose, a way, an idea. It's a means to an individual's end.
So I thought about the planning. Then, because the thought persisted, I began to do some planning.
I started doing exercise programmes; not doing them physically, but writing about them and thinking about doing them. After about two weeks, I moved on to some really cool and effective dieting strategies, writing and thinking at length about these; what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat it, how to eat it, what I'd do if for some reason I couldn't eat it and had to eat something else. I drew charts, colourful, neatly ruled, itemised charts which I brought to work and showed to my pals. They were mightily impressed. They asked me whose diet it was.
Peter kept telling me I'd damage my arteries, strain my heart, die young. Who, at twenty one, worries about clogged arteries, damaged hearts, or even early death? We are invincible. Indestructible.
And early self-inflicted death had a tragically romantic aspect to it; think of James Dean, Jim Morrison, Chet Baker.
So, the planning continued. I was getting really good at it. The charts, drawings, cut-outs, calendars, were building into a neat sophisticated pile in my drawer.
All to no avail. I still hadn't lifted a finger, refused a hot, butter-dripping, jam-laden scone, opened the fridge door without guzzling a pint of cold milk, a chilled coke, or a half-pint tub of ice cream. I still hadn't passed through a weekend without excessive amounts of beer, Chinese meal-indulgence, and slothfully lazy Sundays. My self-made dinners were mountains of chips, or potatoes, vegetables, and a highly fried version of something that had inhabited the earth on the wing, on the hoof, or in the sea. And so I went on.
Until Brands Hatch.
It was a Spring Saturday morning and two pals and myself went to the Kent motor racing circuit to spend the day finding out whether or not we were going to be future Formula 1 Stars. The instructor of the day was a well-known club racer and the three of us, and about fifteen others, listened attentively as he explained how to drive around a racing circuit in a competition-prepared car. So, we went out then and did ten laps in tuned saloon cars. Then we came in, were briefed again and went out a second time in open-wheeled racing cars. It was a thrilling experience and to my surprise and delight, I kept with the instructor for the seven laps and we caught and passed a couple of the others. The concentration required, even for seven laps, is exhaustive. And even the front runners on that day, were about seven seconds a lap off the normal pace of that class of car, so clearly we were NOT Formula 1 material. But it was a a great experience.
Later, when I was walking away from the instructor, having returned the helmet and other bits we'd borrowed, and thanked him for the patience and interest he'd shown us, I heard him say to one of his assistants, "That Little Fat Paddy can drive."
Little Fat Paddy.
And he'd said it kindly. Tony, one of my pals, a direct South Londoner, had heard it too. I'd raised a quizzical eyebrow to him, but they're an honest crowd, and he just added, "Nail on the head, Mate."
Three months later, three short months, I was back to my eleven stone. No more planning, thinking, ruminating, writing, talking, wondering, making excuses for doing nothing.
I got started, did it with a will, and saw it through. And it worked.
And so it does. Every time. The learning is in the doing. That's the ingredient that gets anything done. Anything.
Getting started. Doing it. Talking less, getting on with it.
It goes for anything, doesn't it?
And if you're in accord with that, and if you've been considering doing a Detox, or a Cleanout Eating Plan for a few weeks, then click the following link and read about the November Event coming up shortly.
I think you'll like it..........click HERE
Have a Great Day and Do Well...
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