I don’t usually weigh myself. What’s the point? Owning scales would only make me anxious. The size of my body is just another source of worry among all of the others. I have generally monitored the fluctuation of my body shape via the fit of my clothes. As long as my jeans still just about do up in the morning, I figure there’s no need to panic.
But last week I was weighed at the GP’s for the first time in several years. Turns out, I weigh in at an impressive sounding 102kg. Impressive, that is, if I were a heavyweight boxer formed of sinewy muscle. But I am, in fact, a slightly spongy 47-year-old dad with a wobbly stomach.
I typed my details into an online NHS thing which told me I had a Body Mass Index of 29.1 and had to lose a whopping 5kg to reduce my risk of diabetes and heart disease. It was disheartening.
It was also surprising. I exercise four or five times a week. I go for long runs and also work out with a personal trainer in the gym. I don’t drink alcohol. I am vegetarian. I have long since made many of the lifestyle changes most doctors would recommend to anyone trying to take control of their weight. And yet here we are.
I am insecure about this stuff. When I was a kid I was pretty podgy for a few years. I’d like to say this was ‘puppy fat’, but the truth is that I ate loads of chocolate biscuits and rarely got up off the sofa between the ages of 10 and 14.
The teasing and cruelty that went along with my childhood tubbiness cut pretty deep. The exact wording of insults delivered by bullies, friends, relatives and – perhaps worst of all – secret crushes about my plump appearance still ring vividly in my mind all these years later.