The Wheel of Time turns and years come and go, leaving memories of a time before I got pregnant when I used to fit into clothes that had become stored in vacuum-sealed bags at the top of the cupboard on the off-chance I would ever get to wear them again.
Pregnancy was a great excuse to give up exercise and eat a lot of ice cream and chilli lime pickle, sometimes together. I figured after the baby was born I’d breastfeed and all the weight would just get sucked away. But it turns out when I’m a sleep-deprived zombie stuck at home with a child I basically just eat cake.
So a few months ago, I decided to do something about the weight and signed up for the Michelle Bridges 12WBT (https://www.12wbt.com). It’s a calorie controlled food and exercise 12 week program. When I started I could run continuously for a grand total of one and a half minutes. I got my 3yo to take this ‘before photo’ of me.
One of the first things you do on the 12WBT is write down a list of the excuses you make for not exercising, then you try to figure out strategies to get around them. That was a revealing exercise. I worked out, for example, that I felt terribly ashamed that I wanted anything so shallow in life as to improve my appearance. My vanity, ironically, was not wanting to appear vain.
Then there’s the problem of opportunity cost. Every minute I spend exercising I could be doing something I enjoy more. Like writing. Or eating. Or watching my nails grow.
To fool myself into thinking I was not doing exercise, I decided to listen to audio books while running. More specifically, I decided to challenge myself to exercise my way through The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. For those who don’t know, this is the mega-series of all fantasy mega-series’. It is continuous story spread across 14 books, each tome the size of Lord of the Rings. At approximately 25 audio hours per book, I figured by the end of it I would either be dead or have the butt of one of Jordan’s Aiel ninja people.
Well, maybe not. My ambitious aims were to run 5km continuously and get back into my pre-baby clothes.
And thus began ‘Operation Leather Pants’…