Diet and exercise – An honest account

I went for a jog today for the first time in absolutely ages. It was horrible.

I am unfit. I am overweight, and pretty lazy. I could eat a lot healthier, and I could exercise more but I always seem to find ways of not doing either. I always seem to have a great excuse as well – “My asthma is bad” “I wrecked my ankle a couple of weeks ago” “it’s too cold/dark” “I don’t know where to go”, there are plenty more where they came from. When I do decide to go for a jog, I am suddenly beset with even more procrastinatory problems – I need the right music to jog to, so I must spend hours making a playlist on my mp3 player, the mp3 player needs charging, what have I eaten today/when did I last eat? what should I wear? If I put this amount of effort into actually exercising then I’d be in a lot better shape. I was going to write this blog post earlier today, but I forced myself to wait until after I’d been out, as really it was just another weapon in my massive fobbing off arsenal.

There are people who really enjoy jogging (or running, as it is known if you go faster than tectonic plates move, which I currently do not). I know why they enjoy it, it’s proven that a prolonged increased heart rate triggers a release of endorphins, giving you a euphoric buzz, and on a general more gradual level increases your day to day energy levels and enhances your mood. Also simply knowing that you are healthy, especially when you are used to being unhealthy is an amazing feeling, it’s the feeling that you are the master of your own destiny, and if you want to you can change things, and naturally this viewpoint spills over into the rest of your life, and you feel you can take charge of any problems and issues you may have and do what you need to feel fulfilled and happy. That’s how I want to be.

Right now I’m not very happy with me. I know I am fat, but I’m not really bothered about looks. If somebody wants to judge me by my size then oh well, if that’s how shallow they are then I’m probably not losing out. When I say I’m not happy with me, I mean I just wish I was fitter, more healthy. I wish I wasn’t knackered all the time, and I am worrying about the long-term effects of being overweight. Losing weight would help with my asthma too. I don’t want to be 40 with loads of heart problems and diabetes, and I’m 26 now, so I better sort it out while I can.

I need serious motivation to exercise, because at the moment I am so unfit that when I do go out jogging it is such a horrific trauma, the breakcore style heartbeat and screaming lungs and the ever present desire to just collapse and die are too much to deal with when you are used to mainly sitting at a desk doing shit all. When it comes to the actual act of jogging I am hopelessly hopeless at it, which doesn’t help. I really need to fully concentrate on my breathing when I’m jogging, I can’t abide distractions of any kind, if I lose concentration my breathing loses its rhythm and kaboom, asthma attack, game over. Things that distract me are: other people, I have to go jogging alone, if I’m with friends they will talk to me, and if they are behind me (not likely, tortoise boy) I can’t help but look around manically because for some reason I need to know where they are. Any changes in the thing I’m jogging on, ie. if I have to cross a road, or if it goes from gravel to grass, or if a branch of a tree is looming, or if a dog comes to say hello. One thing I dread is seeing a people up ahead facing the same direction as me that I am soon to overtake, once I’ve gone past them they will see me, and I need to carry on at at least the same pace as I am for the time that I am in their view. Then I think to myself “They’ve never seen me before, for all they know I could be on my 10th mile by now” but then I think “I can’t do it” and I have to quickly find an alternative route before I get to them. This of course knocks my breathing rhythm out of whack and I have to slow down to a walk. One thing that does motivate me though is the feeling of utter failure that washes over you as you hear your carefully selected running song hit the best bit where you are supposed to be feeling amazing and running for your life but you are sat doubled over on a park bench cursing yourself for being crap. Moments like that are awful, and when that happened today I got up and carried on, forcing myself to appreciate the music and imagining that I could run and run and run. And afterwards I felt proud of myself, hopefully I will get more and more of those bits as I continue and it gets easier.

Another facet to this problem that I’m really going to try to sort out is my eating habits. I am willing to admit I have a problem with food. I would go so far as saying that I am addicted to food. I don’t know how anyone else’s brain operates, but I think about food all the time, I have been known to overeat to a ridiculous level, and sometimes it really is like I have no self control, and I eat loads and loads of food, until either all the food is gone or I can’t physically eat any more. Afterwards I feel absolutely wretched, I feel like an idiot, and I honestly wonder how it happened, as if it wasn’t a conscious decision to have such large quantities and I’ve suddenly snapped out of my trance and realised what I had done. If you do this then throw up it is called bulimia, and there are lots of people ready to help and support you, everybody knows about bulimia, and it is horrible. If you don’t throw up you are just labelled fat and greedy, and shit. A lot of people overeat because they feel shit, I have done that before, and it is a bad place to be in. It is hard to get help, or even to talk to your friends about this sort of thing, because hardly anyone gets it, to most people it is just a lack of willpower and an abundance of selfishness and greed, I don’t think that I am a selfish person. A lot of people say as well that if you label whatever your vice may be as an “addiction” then you are simply alleviating the responsibility of your actions, “It’s not my fault, I have an addiction, please pity me”. I’m not saying that, I know that I am the only one who can get myself better, but is it wrong to ask for help? I looked at the beat website (beat is a charity that helps people with eating disorders) to see if there was anything appropriate, and after searching around I found out about Overeaters Anonymous, well good. They have meetings, just like AA or something, and they give you advice and support to help you change the way you think about food. Sounds great eh? Well sorry to be rude but it fucking isn’t. I read the “12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous”, and by step two I will have “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”, and step three I will have “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” I am not a religious person, and it offends me deeply when people try to force their beliefs onto others. When I read this I was furious, I am furious now after reading it again. Apparently the only avenue for support for people in my situation is to change your whole belief system and decide that there is a God and be “.. entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” I don’t get proper seriously angry very often, but that is so unfair.

I have gone off on one a bit, and for that I apologise, it’s good to talk innit? Anyway, from now on I am going to make a decided effort to eat healthy amounts of food at proper times, if I catch myself thinking about eating loads, I will do my best to stop myself doing anything stupid.

Lets not end on such a grim note. I’ve realised what is ahead of me, it’s not going to be easy, or fun, but I’m going to try, I promise. I will need help though, If anyone reads this please encourage/congratulate/nag me as right now I really don’t feel like i can do this on my own ๐Ÿ™‚

And to play us out, the song that was playing earlier when I was running, that made me get up and carry on, despite feeling like I was defeated:



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8 responses to “Diet and exercise – An honest account

  1. Beth

    I know what you mean! I’m the same, I need to jog/run but I haven’t been on the first one yet. Well done for going, and taking the first step to health! You should be proud to have done it – do it again next week, and the week after, and the week after that. Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. anon

    Have you ever tried CBT? Free through your GP, or available online at It looks a bit cultish, but is actually really good. Also, what about trying a form of excercise you actually enjoy? I hate jogging, but enjoy cycling and climbing.

  3. sarah

    hey man! it’s sarah thornley. i found this post after i revisited your excellent chilli post to send to my flatmate ben, who is a fan of watching videos of people eating chilli.
    i don’t know if you’re still jogging, but i just wanted to say that it will definitely be agony at first but it is totally worth sticking with it. you should jog three times a week for three weeks before you give up, because by then you will love it so much that you won’t want to stop. at first you shouldn’t be jogging for more than 10 or 15 minutes, really really slowly, and then when you’ve done 15 minutes a few times, move up to 20 minutes and so on.
    i started jogging last year, and i’m running my first 5k race on sunday in hyde park. it took me ages to get to the point where i could run 5k in one go, and it’s going to take me about 40 minutes, which isn’t really a respectable time, even for a beginner. i had to start off by jogging unbelievably slowly, probably even slower than a fast walker, and then working my way up.
    i’ve seen training programmes for complete beginners that involve X minutes of jogging, then X minutes of walking, until you get to the point where you can jog continuously. maybe you should do that if it would make you feel less rubbish?
    i’m only saying all this because at one time i would’ve hated the very idea of going for a jog, and there’s no way i could’ve jogged for 40 minutes, but now i fucking love it. it makes you feel like you’re the king of the entire world.

  4. Vagabondette

    I don’t really know how I came across this post or blog for that matter (I was searching hashtags regarding the joketrail on twitter and ended up here so go figure?) but this post tugged the old heart strings!
    It’s so difficult to get fit and every time you fail at getting started, it seems to be harder to try again the next time.
    I find that I binge exercise (go for it for a few weeks) then think that I’m fine and do nothing for 5 months; itโ€™s a vicious cycle that gets me no where.
    So I hope you have managed to stick at it, if you haven’t… don’t despair, you aren’t alone in struggling with the battle of fitness and health.

  5. mrcube28

    Hi Hellie,

    Thanks for reading my blog, I really need to post again, I haven’t done since March whoops.

    I have tried the approach that Sarah (see above comments) suggested and it’s ace! I’m still not very good at motivating myself to go, but the actual jogging bit is much more do-able. I heartily wholeheartedly thoroughly wholly recommend it.


  6. Treadmill. IN a gym, or one at home.

    Solves all the problems of the above (too cold/dark, people, talking etc.)

    Don’t like running? Bad for the knees?

    Crosstrainer ( weird kind cyclical arms & legs moving machince, similar to running, but far less impact on joints)


    Rowing – Brilliant exercise. Very low impact. Do it sitting down, but still great for you.

    Buy a gym membership – you’ve paid for it then, use it.
    Go with a friend – you don’t have to exercise with them, just go with them. That way, you feel compelled to at least turn up.

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