Opinion

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Realising it's time to get serious about your health

Louise McSharry writes about how things have to change now she's thirty...

Louise McSharry

Published 01/05/2014 | 02:30

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Woman running hard and sweating
"Now that I'm engaged, and hoping to have children in the not too distant future, time has become so much more important."
Louise McSharry

Like everyone else, I spent my twenties acting like a moron and loving every minute of it, never considering the fact that the phase might end.

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However, my twenties are over, and suddenly, uncomfortably, things have changed.

It started with a conversation a couple of years ago, when my friends and I pondered whether or not we'd ever become one of those people who ran for pleasure and posted annoying status updates about their spin classes. Of course we wouldn't, we decided. What was wrong with those people? Slowly but surely, however, the group of little Judases have gone to the dark side, and now I find myself in the minority. I scroll through Facebook, mouth agape with horror at all of the healthy meals people are creating and consuming, and all the fitness classes which have suddenly become a part of everyone's lives.

How has this happened? How had the people who once considered a pitta with super noodles in it a solid meal, become people who revelled in grilled chicken and assorted leaves? And worse, how had they become the kind of people who posted online about this bizarre behaviour?

It's not that I don't get it. I do. I get that boasting on social media is essentially a reward system for deeply unpleasant activities. I understand that sometimes it seems like there's no point in eating a really boring meal almost entirely made of veg if you can't Instagram a photo of it with the hashtags #cleaneats #healthy #fitness after it. However, that doesn't stop me from wanting to punch people through the screen of my phone from time to time.

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The truth is, your healthiness offends me. It cuts me to my gelatinous core. Because I have not caught the bug. I am still eating whatever I like, and drinking whenever I want, and my lungs absolutely burned last week when I ran a few hundred metres to the bus stop. I'm not saying this proudly, however. No, no, your pride in your healthy living has infiltrated further than my Instagram feed, it's gotten deep into my consciousness and now what I am feeling is shame. It's hard to pretend that everyone is living the same lazy life as I am these days. One can't assume that everyone gets up at 11 and has a jambon and a sausage roll for breakfast to counteract the pints they had the night before, because they've already logged in 8k via Map My Run. And you can only scoff at people for so long before you start thinking that maybe you're the one who has got the wrong idea.

I'm pretty sure I've got the wrong idea. Now that I'm engaged, and hoping to have children in the not too distant future, time has become so much more important. The idea of my fiancé leaving me on my own on this planet horrifies me, and I would never want to do that to him. I also want my children to live an active life, and I want to be able to be active with them. I want to be able to run alongside my kids as they learn to ride their bikes. I want to be able to ride a horse on holidays in Spain, and not worry that the horse is going to collapse underneath me. I don't want to stand guiltily as my future kids run away from me with their father in a game of chasing, knowing that I can't play because I'm physically unable. So, I'm going to make a change. (Gulp.) I really have no excuse at this point, a new job leaves me with lots of free time during the day and I'm no longer sharing meals with anyone so I am in complete control of my diet. There has literally never been a better time for me to get healthy, and frankly, if I don't do it now then I'll be letting myself down.

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It's not like I haven't tried before though. Oh no, I've had the Couch to 5k app on my phone for at least three years. (It turns out you have to do more than just download it to get results. What a crock!) The thing is, I'm my own worst enemy. My inner voice is really good at coming up with reasons not to exercise so I have to come up with a way to fight that. I think that on this occasion, it means getting someone with a louder voice to shout at me. That's right, a personal trainer. I'm hoping the appointments will mean I won't skip it because I can't bear being rude to people, and the shouting (I think they call it 'encouragement') will force me to give it my best shot. It's not going to be cheap, but hopefully it'll get me started, and the truth is it's important now.

Let's be honest, it's fun to be the group sitting in the corner making fun of all the eejits with their Paleo diets and half marathons, but it's not so much fun to be the person sitting in the corner making wisecracks to yourself. It's time now, to take my health seriously. Although, if you ever see me put #cleaneats at the end of a tweet that doesn't have a photograph of something deep-fried with it, feel free to give me a slap.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday’s Irish Independent

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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