Look at that.
Just look at that ‘stomach’.
That vestige of 10 years of just not looking after myself.
But it wasn’t always like that.
There was a time when I felt so much younger. When I wasn’t dogged by the overwhelming feeling of being incapable of doing anything physical. As far as I know, there’s nothing responsible for my current state of disorder other than my own terrible life habits.
Now at 53, I can honestly say that in the last 10 years I have witnessed an unrelenting decline in my physical status.
Month after month, the challenges of life seemed to weigh me down into an unchangeable slothitude.
Following a divorce at 42, I found myself still having to work countless hours in the week (as a doctor, no less), commuting many miles with an ever greater wastage of time, seeing my take home pay evaporate into the vapours of CSA payments, medical subs just to stay in practice (of course these were never taken into consideration by the CSA, so I ended up with so much less than was strictly fair) and living alone.
It was just all too easy after a endemically stressful 12 hour day to lie in my bed in my barely affordable hospital bedsit (I couldn’t afford to rent in the private market) – I say lie in my bed, well I couldn’t sit in a chair as the bedsit didn’t have one) and stare into space. I missed my children terribly, and the legal wrangling with the ex, coupled with the impossibility of seeing my children owing to her devious and successful attempts at restricting access just below the threshold of legal reportability, didn’t help my fragility. The easiest thing to do was to lie down, stare into space and wait for life to get better.
But with that lifestyle came the wasting away of my muscle mass and fitness. Dammit it’s bad enough how your muscle mass vanishes in your 40s but spending most of your time horizontal when not at work made matters many, many times worse.
In the years that followed, I was lucky enough to get remarried, have another family, change job several times, relocate from the UK to Australia, but with all of that hard work, effort and seemingly endless paperwork I continued to find myself working 14 hour days and for years just getting home and once again, lying down and staring into space. I’m sure that there are doctors who have managed to kick that unhealthy lifestyle, but for me it never seemed to happen. The odd health kick crumpled when faced with the inevitable stresses of working in the NHS. Talk about a full time commitment, but this was full time on mega steroids. It was a depressing, restraining, and slowly killing career, one I had to get out of but could only do so by having to work even harder.
As those 14-16 hour days became ever more commonplace, my physical strength and energy continued to decline. I started noticing the little skin polyps on the base of my neck which are a marker for Syndrome X – or significant obesity and impending insulin resistance. Something had to give. A new life down under required even greater work to stay ahead of the game, with more and more sedentary activities sucking my life force away. Here I was now with the greatest opportunity of my life in a new continent even but with the worse ever physical reserve to cope with it all.
So I’m now in the third year and it’s time to get back on am even keel. 10 years of change has resulted in this belly you see before you. At 6 feet tall and weighting 108 kgs it’s really time to make a fresh start. It’s been so long since I actually felt well that I feel as if I have lost the confidence to even make the first step. Being a 53 year old man there aren’t really many male confidants to ‘get fit with’ orcyo offer support where I live. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places but once again the day job takes its toll and somehow I have I marry a fitness plan and habit with the demanding day job. I really, really hate how I feel.