Julia sat and took another bite out of her limp lunch, the token piece of healthy rocket hanging over the edge of the crust, and balanced the book alongside her plate. The book was easy to read, easy to follow and made it all sound so easy. It had sat for a couple of weeks on the bookshelf, sandwiched between Susan Jeffers and Julia Cameron, hidden where she knew no one would bother to look at it.
It felt like a she was about to embark on climbing Everest without an oxygen mask. And in trainers. She would frequently daydream back to the days, when cycling 8 miles home from the office had been a downhill free pedal, or further back when the stand on your pedals, thigh muscle torture of hills had made her burn with pleasure or running several kilometres had been a meditation on repetition. Or the pleasure of feeling every muscle in her body ache from 50 lengths of the pool had made her collapse into bed with physical exhaustion.
Childbirth, alcohol, prozac, closely followed by divorce and a life on benefits were displayed on her hips for all to see and judge her by. Unable to reach those peaks of physical activity, Julia sought solace where she could find it. Between the pages of a vast library of subjects, art, philosophy, identity, personal development, cookery, paganism, christianity and exercise. Bloody exercise that over the years had become her nemesis. From her sofa she could read about all the subjects and interests she loved. However, this did not transform into actually doing and the longer she digested these tomes on life, the less she actually lived it.
She had however, lived the life of the dieter, from slimming clubs to amphetamines to bulimia and regrettably none of these winning the competition for her sylph like form and her head remained crownless, leaving her stand on the nhs spotlight of 'obese, increased likelihood of heart disease'.
She didn't want the narrative of her life to read like a Hattie Jacques biography, with descriptions of voluptuousness and larger the lifeness. She wanted a Trinity or Lisbeth Salander description and the realisation that reading these descriptions was not going to metamorphosise these lean muscular figures off the page and into her reality.
Reading and consuming would not make her reality that different. She had to take her trainers firmly by the laces and assert some authority over them. She had to live.
The book (still reading between the lines) insisted she went for an actual walk. Encouraging words of inspiration assured her it was the place to start, the dog raised its eyes in hopeful agreement.
'I suppose,' Julia mused at the depressed dog, 'a good place to start would be with getting dressed...'