Stealth Health Ninja
It turns out this writing a book lark is harder than it looks and, like so many things in life, not made easier by having two small children about your person much of the time.
Neither is it made easier by going on a demented health kick, which is what I am doing at the moment. I am exercising to the point of great agony and simultaneously reducing my brain fuel. I am pretty sure I am losing brain weight, which is not where I have it to spare.
The exercising part is a combination of re-starting the Couch to 5 K running program a few times a week, and punching Dave for an hour twice a week. Don’t worry, that’s Dave’s job. He rents himself out to North Shore housewives and lets them punch him in their kitchens.
He also makes me lift weights and dash about my backyard in a very unbecoming fashion, much to the delight of the builders next door, some of whom, if I may put it delicately, could benefit from a bit of dashing about themselves.
Then there’s the eating part. I’ve stopped eating nice things. I just eat nine hundred thousand grams of protein a day, and same amount of plants as a small herd of wildebeest. I drink a lot of water. I am a joy to live with.
Losing weight when you have impressionable children around is challenging, because you’re supposed to be teaching them body confidence and to be happy with themselves, which is easily undermined by a mother moping about eating different food from them, pinching her fat rolls and grumbling. You have to become a stealth health ninja.
Today for lunch Garnet and I had soup. Mine was chicken broth with chicken breast and broccolini, and his was chicken broth with chicken and noodles.
‘Why aren’t you having any noodles?’ he asked.
‘I just feel like broccolini instead of noodles,’ I said, and I smiled the smile of the hungry liar.
He didn’t look convinced. I could see he was thinking, ‘If you don’t want any noodles, then stop looking at my noodles like they’re David Tennant, you massive weirdo.’
Coming two nights after they watched, equally astonished and horrified, as I ladled my Bolognese sauce onto a heap of spiralised zucchini, they are quite quickly figuring out something is afoot.
I don’t know the answer. My parents never talked about their weight when I was young. I think I remember my dad deciding to lose a bit of weight when I was about twenty, which he achieved swiftly by eating only two serves of dinner and cutting back the pre-dinner cheese and biscuit course by about 25%. I recall this irking my mother quite a lot. But apart from that, I grew up eating excellent home made food, plenty of it, and enough sweet treats that I never felt deprived. I want the same for my kids. So for now, the idea that I’m not happy with my weight needs to remain top secret.
I’m telling them I’m trying to get stronger by exercising more, and that Dave is a friend who really likes being punched, for money, and isn’t nice that I can help him out. And there’s no harm in them seeing me eating more vegetables.
Of course this is all about to come to a germy end, this bout of healthfulness and clean living, because now Garnet is sick. He coughed all night, in my arms, into my mouth. I give myself three more days before I collapse in a heap and eat only toast for a week.
He’s coughing right now. He’s also doing a puzzle and complaining that I’m not helping and giving me a rundown of his friends and the relative degrees to which they are four:
“Arlo is less four than me, because he was bornt in January. Charlie is only just four. I am four and a half, aren’t I. Aren’t I? AREN’T I FOUR AND HALF? Josh is bornt very near me so we are both four and half.’ The coughs are something of a respite from the endless monologue of fourness.
Now he’s started to cry because neither of our cats’ birthdays is in December, when his is. They are both in October, like May Blossom’s, which is, objectively, very unfair. ‘October is a stupid month,’ he wails in a hurricane of tears and snot.
I don’t know. May’s looking like a pretty stupid month from where I’m sitting.