Dear Lorna Jane

I’ve rolled my eyes when I’ve seen you at the shops slurping down a large latte in your black three-quarter-length Lululemons and your high-vis Nikes. I’ve grunted as I unfollowed your Instagram #fitspo and Facebook posts of kale-encrusted tofu. I’ve found you smug and superior with your beachside tree stance and your anti-McDonald’s-fast-food rants.

I’ve weighed the same since I was twenty. Not on purpose. Just good genes. The only variations, during pregnancy when the weight went up, and under stress when the weight goes down. I’ve never watched what I ate, except to make sure the pasta didn’t fall off my fork or the pizza didn’t miss my mouth. I’ve enjoyed my own smugness. A smugness eschewing fitness.

And then I hit middle-age. The extra couple of Christmas kilos weren’t shifting and I tried to stop the snacking. But it’s hard to stop the ritualised grazing in front of the telly after the kids have gone to bed. So, I did what every other person in a mid-life new-year panic does and joined a gym. It was close to home with three free sessions. I had no excuses.

For eight months I had to make myself go. Sometimes I could ignore the voice in my head that said, “not today, go tomorrow”. If I could at least push myself through the front door, I knew I’d get it done. On a normal week, I would go twice. On a good week, three. Cost is a motivator when intrinsic drive is missing.

But something changed in October. I was more often going three times a week, and sometimes, four. Those extra few kilos are now gone and staying off. I began paying attention to the heart rate monitor and arranging my day, so I could workout in the afternoons when I burn more calories. I’d gradually become more coordinated. I bought activewear.

I’ve sneered at your activewear, Lorna Jane, when I’ve seen you at the shops. Unless you spill that latte down your front, there’s not much need for those moisture-wicking properties in the gluten-free aisle at Coles. But here I am, grocery shopping in my workout gear, posting heart-rate screenshots on my Instagram. I say to myself, you’ve changed, man.

It’s pride, for sure, but more than that, the posting is belonging. A yearning for recognition: your pushups may still be lousy, but look, how far you’ve come! As for the shops in my activewear, you’ll probably see me there. I’ll be the one slurping a latte in the Doritos aisle, in a moisture-wicking tank-top and the short-shorts I’m now brave enough to wear.

Because, really, who can be fucked with all the wardrobe changes?

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