I’ve been on holiday for a couple of weeks and, although I’ve not been totally inactive or particularly pigged out (well, apart from the ice creams every day… er…), I know I’m going to shed a tear or two when I get on the scales back at home.
It’s become really evident, as I’ve stepped outside of my everyday routine here, how much of my general activity is as much a part of my lifestyle as a conscious decision to “do some exercise”. And the decisions I make about what I eat and drink are, too.
We don’t tend to use the car in everyday life. We’re lucky that most places we go to are commutable by foot or bike. Staying with my sister this week has made me realise that, although she lives in the most amazing part of the world and, although I really miss the sea, I wouldn’t want to live somewhere like this. I wouldn’t want to rely on the car to get everywhere. I really appreciate being to walk and cycle the majority of the time.
Having said that, I probably wouldn’t avoid the car as much as I do if it weren’t for my “nagging husband”. He just doesn’t see any reason for using the car on any kind of “short” journey, to the point where he almost sees it as a moral issue. In fact, I guess it is kind of a moral issue in his eyes, because his motivation is more to do with “the environment” than anything else.
So, if I ever use the car for a journey where I could have walked or cycled, he really does find it unfathomable. Why would I do that? But then, his concept of a walkable/ cycle-able journey is probably different to a lot of people’s. Certainly, I sometimes use the car when I think it’s just a bit TOO far to go my bike, or the roads are just a bit too busy… and he still looks at me like… really?
To be fair to him, he practises what he preaches and, as I said, this attitude means that I probably think twice about using the car more often than I would otherwise. So, despite my protestations sometimes that he nags me, overall I’m grateful that he does. Just don’t tell him!
I pulled a bike trailer round throughout my third pregnancy, sometimes with 2 kids in it. It was never huge distances (3 or 4 miles at most), and it was nearly all on bike paths, but I was surprised at how many people told me I shouldn’t be doing it. They seemed to think it was dangerous (what if I fell off?), but couldn’t see my point of view: that inactivity and driving is also a bit risky when pregnant. (In fact, just after talking to a really good friend about it all, I cycled past a car that had been rear-ended at a nearby junction. The driver got out. She was pregnant! I’m not trying to crow here, or make a point, other than the fact that most things we do carry some sort of risk, unfortunately). I believed I was at more risk if I stopped doing everything and just kind of…. vegetated… than if I just carried on doing what I usually did (but just a bit more slowly).
And when I started running again this time after a long break (including that pregnancy), it was obviously a bit of a struggle, but it wasn’t THAT hard. I went out one day and just ran (and walked a bit!) for half an hour, because I had quite a lot of latent fitness just from doing what I do every day.
So, you see, I really do appreciate that the nagging is not always a bad thing.
J’s not the only person who I’ve accused of nagging me. My poor mum did everything she could to make sure we had a healthy diet when we were growing up. I was the kid at school who had nuts and raisins in her packed lunch, when everyone else had crisps. And I was only allowed sweets once a week. And that only started when I was a bit older. And we had horrid wholemeal bread, when everyone else had white sliced Mothers Pride. We even ate brown rice and pasta (unheard of in the 80s). And, of course, I hated her for it!
But thank god she tried! In my first year at university, I finally had the chance to eat all that stuff I’d never been allowed to eat before. And I ballooned somewhat! (Although cider might also have played a part in that….)
Mum also made us walk to school and back every day right from the word go. It was a good half hour walk, and it was all uphill. It had to be a really special occasion and/or bad weather before she’d take us in the car, or let us catch the bus.
But, again, thank goodness she did this. It meant I always had some latent fitness, even if I wasn’t a sporty kid. And I really thank her for that.
So… I’m trying to write a concluding sentence here that doesn’t sound too twee. But, I think that, although I’m fairly driven as a person, there are some things that I just wouldn’t do (or acheive) if there weren’t someone there nagging me… or maybe I should say “supporting me” along the way. After all, I’d never even have entered that marathon next year in the first place, if J hadn’t taken my “yes” at face value. Unfortunately, I still have to run it all myself, though, support or nagging or no…. Ah well….