It's official - I'm disappearing, fading away, shrinking from view. Not, alas, from dramatic weight loss (1 pound in two weeks definitely not worth shouting about), but from the scales at the gym's disturbing proclamation that I've shrunk an inch over the past seven days. I calculate that if my diminuation continues at such a rapid rate then by January 2017 I will have completely vanished, nothing left but a pair of shoes and some contact lenses. As I'd be beyond the help of even the highest of heels, any acquaintances or indeed passers by with size 3 and a half feet would be welcome to help themselves to my admittedly vast collection.
It could, on the other hand, just be that this morning my posture was abysmal. Hard as I try my default condition on a Sunday morning is to reluctantly drag myself onto the treadmill, making sideways glances to the neighbouring machines where I view with suspicion the army of super-charged gym bunnies for whom 300 press ups before 9am are as vital a routine as my morning cup of tea. I may not be enthusiastic, but hey, at least I'm there.
One of the best things about going to the gym is the opportunity for people watching. My destination of choice is the local council leisure centre, not only a mecca for those wishing to get a bit sweaty but also home to a cafe where you can undo all of your good work with a pint of bitter and a plate piled high with cheesey chips. You really do get people from all walks of life there, from boys barely in their teens trying desperately to bulk up; to senior citizens with dozens of marathons to their name. Stick thin girls in cropped t-shirts moan to their equally skinny mates about muffin tops and love handles that my naked eye certainly can't see. Overly enthusiastic newbies with all the gear and no idea jostle for equipment alongside frankly scary looking muscle men with weightlifting belts and arms that would give Popeye a run for his money.
For each hardcore exercise nut there are probably three gym-goers just like me (ok, maybe not quite as unfit as me); those for whom exercise is something they begrudgingly do through a sense of duty; a desire to keep the body ticking over; or to atone for all those sneaky mid-week glasses of wine and crisps. Is it worth it? Hard to tell - on one hand, I haven't disappeared yet; but on the other - well, I haven't disappeared yet. Like most women I would love to drop a dress size or two, but if I were given a choice between being the size I am today or invisible - well, all those shoes need someone to wear them, and the joy of footwear is that it doesn't give a **** about a fat day.