Exercise and I have never been close bedfellows. I spent most of my P.E. lessons at school sneaking off with to loiter on benches in the woods during cross country, making fart noises from the sidelines as the other girls scissored over the high jump bar, or – on one occasion – getting sent home for sort-of-inadvertently throwing a javelin in the general direction of our Mrs. Trunchbull-esque, obese, teacher, after she failed to respond to my requests to demonstrate a suitable overarm technique.
And things didn’t really improve from there. I think it’s safe to say that sport at my school wasn’t a particular priority; we were allowed to spend our GCSE year either doing sport or getting changed into jeans (a true thrill for a 16 year old girl trying to get attention from the local acne-covered talent) and heading to the bowling alley up the road to fling the balls down as quick as we could before congregating at the local McDonalds. Ah, the heady days before Jamie Oliver lisped himself into a frenzy, when it was perfectly acceptable that our school canteen stopped selling home cooked meals and turned swiftly into a (undoubtedly horsemeat-laden) burger bar.
Upon catching half an hour of Bridget Jones’ diary as I was drifting off to sleep the other night, I got to thinking about my own ‘Bridget-esque’ grapples with womanhood. I read the book in my early teens, and remember naively empathising wholeheartedly with the despair at having a ‘bottom the size of Brazil’, one you could park a bike in, needing to lose twenty pounds etc. I also remember it coming as a bit of a shock when, as an adult, I realised that my fellow ‘fatty’ weighed in at about 9 1/2 stone ( I’m not sure Zellweger ever did, but that’s beside the point).
‘WHAT A WHOPPER!’ I hear you cry. ‘I’m surprised she could fit in the seat on the planehome!’ and so on and so forth.