Monday, 25 May 2009

Mens sana in corpore whatever

I don't feel terribly healthy at the moment. Bizarre. What could be healthier than 5 hours sleep a night, endless cups of builders' tea, Levonelle abuse, whole meals composed of confectionery and no exercise? I am totally certain that was the diet of the week in Grazia recently. It was definitely featured on Lorraine Kelly.



Indeed, the whole household seems a little under the weather. The CFO is complaining of a sore throat and feeling 'space', a tenuous French concept that seems to manifest as gloomy silence interspersed with over the top shouting. We take it in turns to twitch at night - I take the early shift, unable to sleep before 1 or 2; then he takes over, waking at 4. By 6 I am sitting morosely in the kitchen poking the dog, while he is out in the back yard performing a tortoise census. The weepette and the children have runny noses, but the dog is more stoic about it (presumably still reflecting on the words of Marcus Aurelius).

On top of this, Lashes has a terrifying verrucca that looks like it has a plan for world domination. We tried to sneak up on him during the night to use the burning freezing tool of pain, but I had an uncontrollable giggling fit whilst trying to grab his scrabbly, twitching foot and woke him up. There is something so funny and so mournful about the puzzled expression of a child that you have accidentally woken. It reminds me of all my mother's stories of Glaswegian menfolk coming home from a night on the piss and waking the baby for entertainment. The last time I woke him up in the middle of the night it was, as per his express request, to show him a toad I had just caught. The toad hopped all over the duvet and then peed on us, but Lashes did not remember a single thing about it in the morning. I wish I slept like that. Once woken, I got to adopt my now familiar Lashes brace position (also used for the removal and insertion of stitches, blood tests, injections and claw trimming) while the CFO did the scorching (He always gets to be bad cop; he does it so well). It doesn't seem to have done any good. I have offered him the prospect of a trip to Dr Kevorkian, the dead eyed verucca killer of Uccle, but he flatly refuses. The leaflet from the deadly potion says veruccas naturally disappear after 2-3 years, so I suspect we will be going with that option. I remember trying to cut my own verucca off with scissors rather than tell anyone when I was about 10, so I sympathise.


The thing is, I believe my body owes me one (for the alopecia, the knee of death, the freak pregnancies), and has to be on its best behaviour for the rest of my life regardless of what abuse I throw at it. Sadly my body has not received this memo and continues to go about its brisk business of decline and decay. This is compounded by a demented belief that there is something very decadent and unBritish about looking after yourself. We must ignore all signs of decrepitude until our falling limbs and involuntary groans start to inconvenience our neighbours. It is The British Way.

Do you look after yourselves, citizens of the internet? And if so, do you recommend it?

33 comments:

Bath bun said...

What is "Levonelle" - if it's good do tell where you get it. I do eat healthy food but as well as rather than instead of, copious amounts of confectionary and crap which means farewell to fashionable clothes as they simply don't make them in my size. I also walk to work and back (generally) which although very beneficial in the health stakes means being seen in public in trainers - a big downside. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am pretty healthy but at the expensive of lovely clothes, elegant shoes and sick days lounging around watching daytime TV. Frankly, I'm not sure its worth it.

katyboo1 said...

No. I do not look after myself.
I agree about the whole British fear of decadence thing. I have existed on buttered crumpets and sweets for the past three days. My feet are so disgusting no amount of pumicing, scrubbing, nail polish or cream is making any difference and I am now bored after three days of slathering cream on them because I don't look like Heidi Klum. Gah! That coupled with the return of teenage acne that makes me look like a glue sniffer and huge rings round my entire face from averaging about four hours sleep a night, and I'm good to do a front cover for Vogue just as soon as they ring me.

You are not alone.

Poor you.

Pochyemu said...

After taking apalling care of myself for the last 6 or 7 years, I've grown sick of the sight of me to the point where something had to give. I realized that either I would have to ban mirrors in my house or I would have to make an effort. I have always been afflicted with an extreme case of Self Loathing, and I thought it might be nice to know what it's like to Like Myself.

And so, I am trying to go to the gym 3 times a week (really a feat for someone who would rather die than sweat) to do yoga and pilates.

Also, last week, I joined Weight Watchers. My mom is a leader in the states and lost 20kg or so. A friend of mine at uni's mom is also a leader, and my friend lost 4st on the programme. So I joined. It's hard but I've surprised myself with my self-determination and willpower, in that I never knew I had any.

However, some old habits die hard and thus while I should be out walking the dog I am still in my pajamas, lying on the sofa, watching rubbish telly and looking up silly websites. The only difference in this routine pre- and post-WW's, is that I'm not eating a bar of chocolate while I'm doing it.

smackcrumplebang said...

I think this crappy feeling is global - or perhaps infectious - maybe you brought it over from Belgium with you, transmitting it over les buttii de bacon and now I am infected. All I have managed to consume today are my own nails and several large black coffees, and this morning there was no toast available so I decided I couldn't face contemplating even trying to think of anything else.

I am wired, and I have been listening to the smiths all day. The only thing that has given me any pleasure has been insulting poor Dr Alice Roberts on my blog, which was ineloquent and unnecessary.

CRUEL WORLD

ahem. what did people do when they felt like this before the internet was invented?! just stare out the window?? wierd.

P.S. I wonder whether all this depression will instill in your a sort of schadenfreude (a word which, you will be impressed to hear I just spelt right first time) and be beneficial? or whether we will all go down together in some sort of european-titanic-depression type thing. pardon wafflemere x

Z said...

I intended to take up smoking when my youngest reached 18 and therefore I was free, but I had a nasty chest infection a year before then and it put me right off. I still haven't found the vice I truly want; alcohol being a basic human need and not a vice at all.

I bounce with rude health and prefer delicious crunchy raw vegetables to cakes and biscuits, but preferred to take no exercise at all until I discovered it would help my arthritis. That is the sole reason for cycling and losing weight. I also eat lots of yoghurt for the calcium, because I don't want to get any shorter than I have to and I absolutely don't want osteoporosis.

I am, at least, taking perverse pleasure in my hands becoming gnarled and wrinkly through bricklaying.

Evitchka said...

I'm one of those people who is now falling into a state of decrepitude. Fortunately I don't have neighbours to hear my John Cage type creaking groans symphony. The worst thing is I can't spring up out of a chair any more. That was a bad day when that began to happen. To avoid permanent injury I now have to get up in 3 stages.(really embarrassing at parties). A similar nail-in-the-coffin moment happened when I jumped over a log in my early 50s and crumpled horribly. So dear Miss Belgianwaffle if you can still spring up out of a chair and jump over a log (a low one), count your blessings.

redfox said...

I am sadly always much more willing to (temporarily) add (stupid) things to my life than to cut the bad things out. The exceptions of course are exercise, sleep, and drinking water, because those would actually be of some help. So plenty of faddish supplements and unguents and odd German teas, but no corresponding cutbacks in coffee, whiskey, butter, or packets of crispy snacks. I suppose I walk places, though not in athletic shoes (which perhaps says something about how strenuous said walking can possibly be).

I too am showing off the results of this glorious regime in the form of spotty skin, enormous circles under my eyes, and calloused feet.

emily said...

Im with Pochyemu on the hating the sight of myself. plus i now work with nearly all women at my office and cant afford the glorys of designer swank, so had to start doing the "looking after self" thing. I however have no willpower. So my way around that is to take no money to work, just a pack lunch ~(so cant buy coke and chocolate) and to put my partner in charge of keeping me in line. We take long walks along the beach exercise wise and i am currently hjaving a phase of starting to look after my face, mainly because i started getting little lines around my eyes and it was depressing me - im 25 for gods sake!

Ummm...sorry for loooong comment...

Pochyemu said...

Emily - I'm sooo with you on the little creases around the eyes, and I'm 24!

Vanessa said...

Working on it. Difficult to balance desire to NOT feel like a squashed rat with extreme suspicion of any controlling regime, once one has been down eating disorder road and back. Fighting "oatmeal soap and a comb" upbringing of self-denial plus lack of money for the lasers, creams and treatments it would take to make me look presentable. And then I couldn't afford the lovely clothes anyway. In conclusion: I do the things that cost little money and keep me off insulin and out of the hospital, but that's it.

However, I am feeling a twinge of American-style vicious alpha-female self-improvement coming on in advance of a visit to Judgmental Italian In-laws this summer. Hatred and fear of others is the only thing to rouse me from my habitual stewing in the hating and fearing and dietary abuse of myself. xx

Vanessa said...

PS - My apartment is in a converted turn-of-the-19th c health club, with that motto engraved above the door. Fuckers.

bevchen said...

I buy fruit because my poor fruit bowl looks so lonely when it's empty. The fruit then sits there slowly decaying until I finally getting round to throwing it away. Also, I've just eaten a large packet of cheddar cheese flavoured crisps and am choosing to call it "tea". Do i look after myself? What do you think...

Mrs Jones said...

No. Yes.


Ooh, wv = "fakepil" which is somehow appropriate...

Persephone said...

I had a nasty foot wart when I was ten which the doctor burned off (aieeee!). It didn't work, of course. Finally, my mother shaved it off, one painless layer at a time, after baths. It took a few weeks. It never came back.
Word verification is "nonedl". Exactly my point.

fabhat said...

I mix healthiness (organic veg box, home cooked food) with deep unhealthiness (working from home, slumped in front of a computer for 10 hrs most days) but the thing that I think makes most difference is finding some kind of physical thing that you actually enjoy.

I was a seriously unsporty child - manly because short sight and bad ball skills really don't make for a fun time with netball and rounders. Now, in my adulthood, I do ballet and pilates, and at the end of a long week heading off to my ballet class is a great physical and mental relief. Apparently it's important to do things that require "flow" - physical movement that requires brain function too, so you have to concentrate on just doing what you're doing.
It works for me - I'm not a good ballet dancer, nor have I become incredibly svelte. I still eat two liquorice bars one after another and forget lunch sometimes because I can't be bothered to make anything until I'm sick with hunger, so I'm definitely not a goody goody but the pleasure of enjoyable exercise is something I've come to late in life, but would not give it up now.

Jaywalker said...

Bathbun - google it. all will become clear. You look very good and glowing on all the healthy, though it pains me to say so.

katyboo - eh, we have INNER BEAUTY. No, sorry, inner chocolate.

Pochyemu - seriously, I thought walking the dog would be fun. It's not really, is it?

Wafflebébé - I most certainly did not infect you with Belgian ennui virus. I hope. Er, sorry if I did.

Z - this just confirms that our body swap will be MOST advantageous for me. Ha!

Evitchka - I confess that the desire to do either of those things is notably absent from my life. However I can still run for a tram when pressed.

redfox - but butter and whisky are lovely, and magical snake oil unguents bring the hope, ever renewed, of miraculous transformation. I prefer your way.

emily - an involuntary sob escaped from me at the thought of a packed lunch and no money at work. You are a brave, disciplined woman.

Vanessa - I saw a squashed rat on the way back from the parc du caca yesterday. There was definite fellow feeling.

bevchen - that's a sacrifice to the fruit bowl gods. Think of it as a spiritual practice and it suddenly feels a whole lot better.

Mrs Jones - ok. So on what basis do you recommend it if you don't do it yourself?

Persephone - urgh. I don't wash him often, it's too tiresome. Maybe I should just give him carte blanche to do whatever he sees fit with his Swiss army knife? He is my child after all.

fabhat - I am 34 and still haven't found any form of exercise I enjoy. I think I am doomed.

Margarita said...

I do try to take care of myself, and only because I feel better because of it. I try to excercise three times a week, eat BETTER, drink tea, I'll drink coffee as well... no sugar. I dunno. Maybe I think I'll live forever and look younger if I take a little care of myself. Who knows/??

@eloh said...

I have wondered how much money I have wasted buying food I should eat but never do. Then can't bring myself to throw way because, after all it cost money, until there is no room left to store all my nummy junkie goodness.

Z said...

Hm. I think I'll redress the balance a little with a small glass of whisky and two squares of Montezuma's Orange and Geranium chocolate. And I've posted a picture of my hand today - if you see it you may change your mind about the balance of benefit.

Juci said...

I have always been very low-maintenance, but since I've had the baby i reeeeeally let myself go. I can't look in the mirror without wanting to cry or puke. I can't be arsed to cook. We live on a diet of Dr Oetker's pizzas and Campbell's soup. And my husband, the son of a bitch, hasn't even gained a bit, even though he stuffs his face with Haribo goodies all the time. I am lazy as fuck, and the kid's a good excuse, so no exercise. My son has never been at the pool or near any sort of body of water, and I'm sure as hell not taking him this summer. Or at least, I am not getting in a bikini. And next year, after (hopefully) the second baby it will be even worse.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for the idea of sound body, sound mind. No wonder I have repeatedly questioned the soundness of my mind.
This is totally unrelated, but I wanetd to share my new favourite music with you. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrQRS40OKNE And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TbmLkwMHwo&feature=related And this, of course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiCa-6HhJ4I
They even have a song titled 'Oliver James'.
Maybe watch the last one first. They are quite beautiful in their hippyish way, I find.

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Wife in Hong Kong said...

I confess, I do look after myself. But it's a whole lot easier when someone at home is not only doing the ironing but also making quantities of fresh fruit salad and freeing you up to walk up a mountain or play tennis. Suspect my healthy regime may collapse when I get back to reality. And you have a career whereas I am just a trailing wife.

River said...

I definitely recommend looking after yourself, and no I don't do it. Not properly anyway. I do the prper meals thing, fruit, vegetables etc, but overdose on chocolate and desserts, I don't exercise apart from walking to and from work.
You need more fruit. Eat some apples. Fruit flavoured sweets do not count.

Antonia said...

I look after myself about 9 months of the year and let myself go the other 3. I'm in "the other 3" at the moment, hooray! Green & Black's almond chocolate; coffee; cheese sarnies, and cigarettes. Ah lurve eet.

In the healthy 9 months of my year I go to yoga, walk miles every day, drink hot water and lemon instead of coffee, and eat tofu, yoghurt and seeds a lot. It's really, but really, fucking boring.

Ali said...

I go through phases. When I got pregnant with my nearly 1yo I was a nice weight and I was reasonably fit and it was all very nice. At the moment, let's just say I am in an "off" phase. It's not pretty. The trouble is it's such hard work taking care of yourself.

Iheartfashion said...

I have only recently started looking after myself after years of abuse and neglect, and who knows how long it will last. But I can tell you with all the zeal of a recent convert that I feel much MUCH better without sugar or flour in my diet and with platefuls of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention the slimming effect.

Mya said...

I've heard that you can shoot verrucaes off, if you're a really good shot. Is Lashes attached to his foot?(Apart from at the ankle, of course.)
Old wives remedies might be worth investigating too - you know the sort of thing, rubbing it with raw stag's liver then burying it in the garden under a full moon, whilst standing on your head and chanting. Make sure the weepette doesn't dig it up though.

And no - I don't look after myself either - it's over rated. Feeling shit is cool, anyway.

Mya x

Where to from here? said...

I'm a bit late in responding to your post.

Please do not change BW one jot - it is just the way we like it, in case you hadn't noticed you have many and varied fans.

We keep coming back because you capture the impossible complexity of life so wonderfully.

Also love it when I get a comment on my comment.

Mari said...

I did, but then I found out I started too late, so I said, "Fuck it".

Now I eat dessert and sleep in. I am much happier! I'm going to go have a painkiller right now. Why suffer?

monk said...

Please please take Mya's advice and shoot the verruca off. Make a day of it in the woods, and the weepette can be a game dog for the day, to track down the shot-off verruca. Or you could do it William Tell stylee. Like you say, he's your son.

I look after myself until about 5pm each day, when it all goes to pot with a five-hour dinner composed of anything from chocolate to petit suisse to bacon bits

The Gossamer Woman said...

I don't eat anything that's bad for me, but I eat too much of it and I put sugar on it to make it taste better, otherwise I wouldn't eat it. I walk the dog three times a day, but he is old, so we don't walk very far. We just sort of saunter. I can still buy clothes that fit, but barely and I have to stop putting sugar on the healthy things I eat. I smoke and drink coffee and like to sit a lot. I do ride my bike, but not for sport, just to get from point A to B. As quickly as possible and if I can take the bus, I do that instead. I know I don't live a healthy life style, but I'm an eternal optimist and tell myself I'll loose those 12 kilos starting tomorrow. Right! I will! I'm also going to be a great fan of yours, because you're so honest and out there and I like that, so watch this spot.

monk said...

Unrelated PS: I have purchased 3 CD Best of Claude Francois in lieu of nice clothes which fit. It is currently putting itself on ipod, so when going to work will be case of mens possibly insana in corpore couldn't give a flying fuck. It's the unadulterated joy, you see...

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