Choose life*

A few weeks ago we were walking to our cars and complaining about the weather (there was a late cold snap, just as it had been warming to a lovely Spring). I said that “I have to get up at 5am to do a 4km recovery jog tomorrow morning”, and a friend said “Well no, you don’t have to; you choose too. People don’t ‘have to’ run, they choose to.”

I said “No, I have to; I signed up to do a half marathon, and if I want to get to the end without feeling like I’m dying, then I have to do the training. It is not negotiable.”

I can see what he means though – I chose to do a half marathon. I chose to do 12WBT, I choose to exercise, I chose to deliberately lose weight. It is a choice, and I could have taken the other path.

I could have chosen to not lose weight. But I don’t like that choice. I don’t like me at 81.4kg and rising. I don’t feel comfortable at 81.4kg and rising. I am unhappy. I know that I am putting myself at a higher risk of a number of diseases, I deeply resent having to buy larger and larger clothes just to accommodate my stomach rolls and large thighs. I know that the heavier I am the worse I deal with extremes of temperature, so summer becomes generally uncomfortable, and winter is painful.

I don’t like that I have to fight hard to keep up with Jeremy on a bike. I don’t like that he has to slow down for me when I ride. He doesn’t see it as an obligation, but I see myself as an imposition, which makes me not enjoy cycling. I have cycling and multisport goals that I would like to reach in the next decade, and my weight is holding me back from those goals.

So I chose to do something about it. I signed up to 12WBT, and when I did – before the program had started proper – I began to adjust my portion sizes and look at my diet with a close eye, and I am losing weight. It was not luck, it was not a radical adjustment of food in my diet, it was not the elimination of an entire food group, it was a measured, careful approach, and so far it is paying off.

I don’t really have a precise goal weight; I have a bracket that I believe I will be happy in – I think that I should try and get down to 65 through to 70 kilograms. Outside of that amount I am fairly sure that I will be carrying extra fat on my stomach if I go above 70. I have disliked the extra fat on my stomach since 2005 when I first actually took any notice of it, but interestingly I still managed to add on an extra 8 kilos of it until earlier this year.  If I go below 65 I think I will probably be as unhealthy as if I were at 90. I am 173 cm, and currently sitting at 75 kilos, I don’t believe that my frame should be below 65 kilos. I don’t think I’ll deliberately go below 67 kilos, but I believe that if I was putting in serious regular training with a particular event in mind that 65 kilos would be closer to my racing weight.

I did have an 800g gain this past weigh-in day, which I am not entirely concerned about, because I figure I am bound to go up on the odd occasion – particularly around Christmas, but as long as the general trend line goes south I will be happy.


I know three people who completed the Busselton Ironman today and I am in awe. One is an ex-Hockeyroo, who smashed it home in 11 hours, her partner slogged it home in 15 hours, while the quietest, unassuming, most determined woman I know, came in in 14 hours. I am so proud of you all.

*with thanks to Irvine Welsh

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