I treated myself to new gym leggings last week. They’re pink leopard skin and looked stunning on the model in the catalogue. The description of them promised:’zero gravity’ with a perfect mix of compression and stretch to sculpt the bum and elongate the legs. It had to work, the model was surely testament to this – she had a tiny bottom and her legs looked ready to run a marathon.
I wore them for the first time yesterday. The day was the launch of The Society Game and instead of Champagne toasted over a fan fayre of celebration I was, instead, in a body pump gym class staring at the size of my bottom which looked disproportionately huge on top of my stumpy short legs. Why, when I had spent close to £80 was my reflection not that of the svelte model I admired? (It was not helped by the 11 year old, tatty grey holey T-shirt I wear to accompany my trips to the gym.)
After soul searching I realised the reason is food. Quite simply, I eat way more than my body needs. But Calories are cunning things. They hide themselves in the nicest of foods, namely, cake. I must avoid them at all cost. My class finished at 11am and a sweaty me decided at 11:02 that I will sample the diet of not eating beyond 5pm.
This diet lasted until 10:13pm when I was offered a toasted crumpet.
It is my lack of will power. It is the reason my running training hasn’t gone beyond 3km – the pain of exercise is too much. It is the reason any diet lasts less than a day – the pain of not eating nice food hurts.
But others with beautiful slim bodies do have this will power; these women can run 20km on just coffee and the smell of chocolate. I’m not one of them, I never will be but I wish I was.
So, the extract I have chosen is describing the will power of Olivia to change her look in preparation for her return to the Uk and being accepted into the shallow trust of Tatiana:
“I needed to slim down considerably; my bottom was far too large, my legs were too cumbersome for their purpose of placing one foot in front of the other. If I stood with my legs hip distance apart they did not meet for the first time at the knees but instead moulded together like a mono leg. I calculated I needed to lose at least half a stone to look as elegant and beautiful as Tatiana and Carolanne. The revenge attack on my pear shape body started in earnest and it would continue for the rest of my life.
James was opposed to me losing any weight claiming that I was already too slim. I ignored his gentle pleas especially as I felt strong at the control over my body shape by just denying it food. It proved to be a cheaper option as I did not need to buy any groceries but unfortunately, this was the only immediate benefit to only eating toast in the morning and then water throughout the day with a reward of toast in the evening.
The immediate disadvantage to my radical plan was obviously hunger however, starvation is beyond hunger it’s a constant pain. At the start my brain screamed at me to prescribe food; any food. It didn’t matter what. I would obsessively watch others eating, as if their chicken sandwich with juicy tomatoes and lettuce all dripping in mayonnaise, would telepathically arrive in my mouth. I found myself involuntarily licking my lips then actually chewing my tongue as I watched a sugary doughnut being eaten……………. As the days passed I progressed from just pain to feeling tired to then owning a constant state of lethargy and apathy to everything going on around me. Eventually I was rewarded with the sense of achievement each day at overcoming cravings and controlling my body and watching my casket slim down to the shape I wanted…”
I travelled around Australia after University with a friend with this self control. At the time I envied her – her body in a bikini, her legs in slim fit jeans, her ability to deny any calories other than those found in a glass. Twenty years on, I don’t envy her lifelong struggle to maintain her shape, her obsession with avoiding dinner dates, her difficulty in conceiving and the stomach ulcers she gets related to her (I believe) low calorie/low fat/low taste food substitutions.
I ask my husband the standard wife question: ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ His reply is always the same, ‘it’s not the trousers that make your bum look big but your big ass!’ He laughs, I change outfit but I still go out for dinner. My new leggings may not slim me to a 6’1″ model but I will continue to waste my money hoping.