Resolution (Slips Away Again) – How To Have Your Cake And Eat It
Twas the night before Christmas, And all ‘round the house, Not a creature was stirring, Not even a mouse….except for the lady of the house, of course, who was creeping stealthily towards the fridge and thinking : “It’s Christmas Day tomorrow and I’m going to be spending most of it in this kitchen. Fuck it. I’m having another piece of cake.”
It’s astonishing how much cake women can cram down their necks at Christmas time. Industrial amounts that even the most rabid cake devotee wouldn’t countenance at any other time of year. Almost equally astonishing is the amount of pork pie and pickle men can shovel into their cake holes. We generically call the mouth a cake hole, but at Yuletide men tend to go for pork pies and women tend to go for cake when it comes to grazing in between the actual meals. No idea why. Maybe it’s to do with hormones or something. Though to be fair, a lot of us just grab whatever catches our eye the next time we wrench our arses back off the couch.
At Christmas, we consume more calories in between meals than we normally would in a day. It’s fucking insane if you stop to think about it for a minute. So we don’t. We just eat. And drink. “Eat, drink and be merry” is the mantra of the season, after all.
But tonight is Twelfth Night. Christmas is officially over. If you’ve been following the seasonal mantra – and most of us have – then “merry” is probably the last thing you are feeling right now. You’re probably feeling like shit.
The only exercise you’ve had recently is clenching your buttocks to brace yourself for your next credit card bill. You’re facing the aftermath and you’ve hidden that pair of trousers. You know, the pair that fitted you snugly but tolerably a couple of weeks ago. The pair that you would struggle to pull a respectable distance past your knees now.
The magic spell of Christmas has been broken and the jaws of January are firmly clamped around our collective ankles. We all know what that means. Time to head to…..The Gym. Time for everybody to blame Christmas, when in reality the rot probably set in as soon as the weather turned and the sushi and salads of summer gave way to lovely, comforting stodge.
Being a gym owner at this time of year is a bit like being a Catholic Priest conducting Midnight Mass. “Where were you fuckers last week when there was just me and one altar boy and an empty church?”
Gym owners know the score though. They know that only lunatics and people addicted to their own endorphins exercise at Christmas. They welcome you with open arms rather than with thinly veiled snide comments during the sermon.
So, you head to the gym and sweat out your Christmas sins at the treadmill confessional :
“Bless me Trainer, for I have sinned. It’s been six months since my last treadmill confession”
“Ah, yes my child. Barbecue season. A nasty case of hot pulled pork on ciabatta with sticky Cajun sauce if I remember correctly.”
“Yes Trainer. It’s worse this time though. Every bad food you can possibly think of, I’ve eaten it. Mince pies, pork pies, cake. The lot.”
“Okay. Say ten Hail Marys, take a pre-workout and do a half hour spinning class and half an hour of kettle bells.”
“Is that it?”
“No, that’s just the start. Do that at least twice a week for the next two months and you might start to feel better about yourself. Skip the Hail Marys if you like.”
“Two months! I can’t get my head around that.”
“That’s because your head isn’t working properly right now. You’ve got it all gunked up with goose fat and gravy. It’ll soon clear.”
Except of course it won’t be like that. It’ll be far more positive. The people at The Gym actually believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.
You’ll head there like Shakespeare’s schoolboy, trudging at a snail’s pace towards his lessons. You’ll be feeling unworthy and will probably have broken your New Year Resolutions by midday on the 2nd of January. And you’ll be welcomed like a prodigal son or daughter and after an hour of hell, you will genuinely feel better.
I’m not saying that exercise is a universal panacea for all life’s trials and tribulations, but it helps.
So you’ve over indulged over the holiday season. So what? It appears to be a basic human psychological need. Every culture that has to go through winter has some sort of festival where everybody pigs out. No idea what they do in the tropics where there is no winter, just a dry season and a rainy season. Probably go around being happy and content the whole time. Bastards.
So you’ve broken your New Year Resolutions already. So what? Fucking un-break them. Make your resolutions again, on a daily basis if you have to. We all have stuff we need to do. Going to The Gym won’t make that stuff happen automatically. It’s all still down to you and your effort and determination. But regular exercise will certainly help you maintain your resolve.
Okay, exercise is a pain in the hole. It hurts and it only feels good when it’s over. But the benefits that spill over from it into the rest of your life far outweigh the pain. And if you do enough of it, you don’t have to creep stealthily to the fridge to grab that piece of cake. You can do the stride of pride rather than the walk of shame. But if you get to that happy stage of cake-to-exercise balance and you still can’t eat the cake without feeling bad, then you’re probably a Catholic. And no amount of exercise can help you with that, I’m afraid.
Copyright Michael Grimes 2017