I coped by retreating into my own world, and by eating. Once a week, on Thursday, we drove into town to do the shopping, and we went to the library. How magical that was! I was allowed to take out two books. I would read and re-read them over the next week, and my favourite way to do this was to lie on my bed sipping a cup of cocoa or eating a sandwich or a bowl of peanuts. It didn't help that I was part of family that loved food, and my mother would always push us to "clean our plates", so I would dutifully eat more, even though I was full.
I slimmed down in late adolescence and my early twenties, because I was so busy: surfing, mountaineering, walking, riding. In those days, young people didn't have cars. We walked everywhere. For example, I used to take the train to uni, then walk a couple of miles uphill (U.C.T. is on the slopes of Table Mountain). I used to ride my sister's horse up our street, which was a dirt road, into the nature reserve on the slopes of the mountain. I would walk to my friend's house, which was a good five miles each way. In summer, I would swim a mile 3 or 4 times a week. My waist was a remarkable 28, my chest 38.
But then I got a desk job, and depression, which, to quote Georges Moustaki:
"ne me quittait pas d'un pas". When I get depressed I eat. And drink.
So my weight started to rise, Every so often, I would go on a strict diet, and my weight would fall, but, my psychological need for comfort would eventually have me going back to what I was doing before. I tried Weight Watchers, and I lost weight, but I was always hungry. I tried this diet and that, and they all worked. Temporarily. I even tried hypnotherapy.
For a while, running and cycling kept my weight under control, But then all the running I did damaged my knees and ankles, Today I can't run at all, and can only walk short distances. On the other hand, I'm not depressed any more. Often, actually, I am piercingly happy. Despite my joints!
But now I have an incentive to lose weight. In a year or so, we will be retiring, to a small coastal town in country Victoria. I'll tell you more about that in another post. And if I want to walk along the beach every day, then I will have to lose some weight. The orthopaedic surgeon said that often in cases like mine, losing a lot of weight helps. And I really do want to be able to walk on the beach every day. To wear a speedo without looking like a blimp. So that's what I'm going to try and do. I have a real goal now. Retirement, and my happiness when I am retired.
|Road sign at Cabbage Tree Creek|
Distances in kilometres