Exercise for Life

To exercise or not to exercise, that is the question…

An insight into the life of Wendy Vella. 

I have always been a mediocre participant of the hot and sweaty ranks. In my youth I played the obligatory team sports with some success, but as most young people do, I relied on natural fitness. Funny how with age that word ‘natural’ no longer applies.

At 53 I decided it was time to re-gather the reins of my life, lose weight and get fit. The people in my family had been getting thinner and fitter whereas I was moving more comfortably into elastic waists and support knickers.

First I had to address my ability to consume vast quantities of food without drawing breath. What can I say? I love food, sweet or savoury. I was raised in a family that enjoyed eating, so I’m fixing the blame firmly on them!

I started slowly cutting back on things that were really bad (a lot of knuckle biting went on, I can tell you) and replacing them with foods that helped with the cravings. My family supported me – and then they just avoided me, as I tended to snarl and bite if anyone got too close. Eventually I got on top of it and when I started to see the results I decided it was time to start exercising.

The problem with exercise is that the more you do, the hungrier you get. I always want a burger and fries when I finish, which of course defeats the purpose. But somehow a carrot stick just doesn’t cut it.

I’m one of those people who like to exercise hard for brief periods. I sweat buckets, breathe like a steam train interspersed with grunts, and then it’s over.

I’m always slightly ticked off when I look at the exercise bike beside me and find a leggy blonde in all the gear, logos emblazoned all over her, barely breaking a sweat and usually with a full face of makeup. I mean, seriously, what is up with that? Sometimes genetics just suck!

I went to my first spin class not long after I started on my new regimen, excited but a little nervous. I thought to myself, I do road cycling so this should be a breeze, right? Very wrong actually. So wrong that when I stood up for the hill-climbing portion, I re-seated myself right over the back of the bike. The front reared up and it was only through a desperate grab at the handlebars that I managed to stay upright. It broke the ice, however, as most people had to stop pedalling to clutch their sides as they hooted with hysterical laughter.

It has taken me 18 months, but as of today I am 25kgs lighter. I still love food – who doesn’t – but now I can look at it without my eyes glazing over and that voice in my head screaming EAT ME!