Fit For Purpose

We both needed to get in shape, but I wasn’t prepared for my cuddly hubby to overtake me…

“It’s possible that these scales are faulty,” says Jim, my husband – gallantly trying for a hopeful frown but it comes out as an unconvincing grimace.

He is trying to be nice, but I know how pathetic it sounds.

I look down dejectedly. The last time I was that heavy, I had been pregnant with Gemma – fourteen years ago.

“Ouch.” I step off the scales.

“May as well see the damage for me too, eh?”

Jim steps on, boggling at the equally bad news before immediately springing back to the bathroom floor as if he had just tried walking barefoot on a scalding hot beach.

“Woah. I mean, we have had these things for years. Maybe if I took my socks off…”

His voice trails off.

“Who are we trying to kid?” I ask. “It’s diet time. Again.”

“Count me in, Fiona, love.”

“We also need to exercise. Regularly.”

“Couldn’t agree more,” he replies. “Next week? After one last visit to the pub… and the kebab shop? We’d get a whole load of steps in on the way there and back, wouldn’t we?”

I point a stern forefinger at him.

“No. No pub. No takeaways. But a good, brisk walk is a good idea,” I concede. “Let’s go.”

“What – right now?”

He almost looks offended.

“Right now.”

We dig out two pairs of battered trainers from the bottom of the cupboard on the landing and off we set; shouting up to Gemma in her room, asking her to watch the place while we are out.

How is that girl so skinny? I jealously ask myself.

All she ever seems to do is look at the mobile – which seems permanently clamped to one hand – while lounging around on top of her bed.

After a hesitant start, Jim and I settle into a new daily routine for the next few weeks. Morning walks, weather permitting; plus an evening walk before dinner.

We also manage to cut down on takeaways and alcohol.

Phew, it’s hard – but rewarding – work trying to be healthy.

At first I sneakily check my weight every day to see if there are any changes. Thankfully that’s a bad habit I soon get out of, with Jim and I agreeing on a weekend weigh-in.

We are both doing well; slowly but surely the pounds are dropping off.

No surprise, but it turns out those bathroom scales weren’t faulty after all.

Admittedly, Jim has taken to all this stuff better than me.

He is obsessed with getting out of the house and into the fresh air on a regular basis.

Gemma has even accompanied us on a few walks – she’s still young enough not to be completely embarrassed by her parents.

We are awake pretty early on a lovely, sunny July day. I’m not sure where Jim is, but I am so looking forward to a lazy Saturday morning.

Scrambled eggs on rye toast; a pot of freshly-brewed coffee; reading the newspapers or maybe a book. Bliss…

My reverie is interrupted, naturally, by Jim.

He is dressed in a T-shirt, tracksuit top, shorts and trainers. He’s even got a headband on.

“All right, missus?” he asks jauntily. “You’d better get ready.”

I look at him blankly. “For what?”

“Ha-ha. Good one.”

“Nope. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

“The five K,” he says, motioning with both hands towards his running get-up. “Obviously.”

“Er, what five K?”

Jim stares at me in disbelief.

“The park run. We signed up for it ages ago. Don’t you remember the email confirmations coming in?”

That vaguely rang a bell. Jim had organised this stuff.

When those emails arrived, I had dismissed them as spam and swiftly forgot them, to be honest.

It had been my idea to get into this fitness lark. But looking at my other half, I realise I’ve unleashed some kind of monster – although I don’t recall Boris Karloff’s creation ever wearing still-slightly-too-tight running gear.

What have I done?

I am fully aware that I am being a complete hypocrite.

I was the one who basically forced him into helping me on the health kick – so I’d better get with the programme.

I temporarily banish thoughts of that relaxing morning and delicious breakfast – it will be a nice, well-earned treat after the race, though. Surely we will be in need of some sustenance after that malarkey?

Neither of us has ever run a race in our lives. I really should have been in training, shouldn’t I?

I drag myself out of bed and pad over to the wardrobe with a view to finding my own T-shirt and leggings.

“Sorry. Slipped my mind. OK, Usain Bolt. Give me a few minutes.”

Darling Jim grins at my sarcasm and I laugh when he recreates the famous “Lightning Bolt” pose.

Yes, I – we – can do this. Go us!

Our My Weekly Favourites series of feel-good fiction from our archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one.

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