Friday, 18 March 2011

Fat facism in the workplace

It is the Friday evening following an exceedingly long, arduous week. I have just gobbled down half a humongous bag of Doritos and some Minstrels, washed down with a bottle of Becks. Still on that sugary high, the guilt has yet to set in. But it will.

Unfortunately this week has been particularly wicked when it comes to the calorific delights that have passed my lips. Having attended a handful of networking events over the last five days, I have been tempted with a wide range of naughty nibbles, from mini sausage rolls to chocolate crispy cakes and scones. With jam. And clotted cream. High levels of stress have prevented my usual willpower from kicking in, and one slice of pork pie has lead to an iced bun, bag of crisps and an egg mayonnaise roll, all in one sitting. Oh dear.
This hasn’t been helped by the knowledge that I haven’t done as much exercise as I would have liked over the last seven days. I have an excuse – after a particularly bendy Body Balance class on Sunday I pulled a muscle slightly, but decided that a run and weights session the following day wouldn’t be a problem. Cue the inability to walk up and down stairs and groaning like an old woman every time I tried to sit down for most of the week. But, if I am honest with myself, last night I could have managed my Zumba class without causing myself further injury. Instead, I drank half a bottle of Shiraz. Whoops.

Chill out, Shell! You may cry. And I hear you loud and clear. This week my eating habits have been less than angelic and my attendance at the gym has been well below its usual par. But so what? We all have bad weeks, right?

This might be the case. But it isn’t in my office.

Until last week I sat two desks away from a bride to be. Every day she would tuck into a healthy salad for lunch (bar the ritual weekly team trip to the local sandwich shop) and every morning she would tell us what exercise class she had done the night before. Without fail. Admittance of skipping her usual regime was met with gasps of disbelief from my colleagues.

Is she fat? No siree. A bit wobbly? Nope. Paranoid about having “back cleavage” on her wedding photos? Oh yes. Never heard of the phenomena of “back cleavage” before? Neither had I, until three weeks ago. You live and learn.

It doesn’t stop there. The two other lovely ladies in my office are also militant in their approach to exercise. Literally. We are talking Boot Camp militant. In the mornings. Outside. In the cold. I shudder at the thought of it. One of these lovelies (who has also recently got into Ballet) told me today that she had received an email special offer: Boot Camp weekend for £179. Is it at a spa? I asked. Will there be a sauna and a masseuse on hand after a couple of hours rolling around in the mud? I enquired. She looked at me with pity. Apparently not. This is a weekend of back to basics. 12 hours of hardcore drill on the Saturday alone. All for the bargainous price of nearly £180.

It doesn’t stop there. Both gorgeous girls have also been doing some strange detox/elimination type diet. They sit down at their desks to fresh fruit and natural yoghurt in the morning, leaving me feeling guilty about by bowl of low GI porridge made with skimmed milk. Their organic hummus and celery sticks makes my jacket potato and tuna salad look decidedly lardy. And do they need to diet? Are they massively overweight? Well, in short, no. At around size 10-12, they are both perfectly proportioned princesses.

It isn’t actually the end of the world if I haven’t quite made it to the gym three times this week, and my cream bun count has gone through the roof. Maybe I will have put a pound or two on and my attempts to add some level of definition to my abs has probably taken a couple of steps back. But dare I admit it in the office? Face their pity? Try and ignore their condescending looks as they exchange diet plans and exercise techniques over the water cooler? I don’t think so.

So, next week I will be well and truly back on the wagon. I will pencil my trips to the gym into my diary and make a batch of salad or soup on Sunday to see me through til Friday. I will snack on fruit, not Frazzles, and walk to the office rather than hop onto the bus.

And if things don’t pan out? If there are doughnuts at my meeting on Tuesday and a buffet lunch at my training day on Thursday? Well, we will have to wait and see if temptation will get the better of me. But one thing is for sure. I won’t be admitting my weaknesses in the office, or sharing my inability to get my arse to yoga yet again. Instead I shall suck in my stomach and wipe sugar off my chin when nobody is watching. And pray that no-one finds my secret stash of Maltesers in my desk. Read more by Shelly.