I have now decided to change the name of this week's posts to 'The 7 day Tox'.
Since beginning my detox plan 6 days ago I have eaten more rubbish and drunk more alcohol than ever before. So what on earth is going on?
I have a few theories. We are going through quite a stressful time at home. We have some money worries at the moment and the summer holidays is always a stressful experience as any parent will agree. I find that, on return from work, the idea of bland food and no booze has proved to be deeply unappetising. On the contrary, fatty, salty food and enough Pino Grigio to sink a battle ship has proved to be very appetising indeed.
I also wonder if my personality is a barrier to success in this sort of thing. I am generally quite a mild mannered chap, but the older I get the less and less I like being told what to do. In this case I'm being told what to do by myself but I seem to rebelling never the less.
Finally I'm questioning my motivation. If I really wanted to get my fitness back, this week would have been a breeze. The fact is I don't seem to want it enough to walk past the pizza delivery menu and break out the broccoli.
This presents me with a problem. At the end of September I am taking part in a 7.5 mile adventure race with a group of friends. Last year I completed the event with no specific training at all. My fitness levels were so good that I could take such an event in my stride (no pun intended). As it stands I can't see a way in which I can take part and not end up completing the event in the back of an ambulance.Am I bothered? Actually I'm not sure I am.
This brings me to the crux I think. I am a middle aged man and, as my twitter bio suggests I am in the throws of a world class mid-life crisis. Don't get me wrong I do not have an 18 year old Swedish mistress, there is no sports car/motorbike sat on my drive and I don't own leather trousers. However I am enjoying many other classic features of a mid-life crisis:
Firstly my career has gone completely down the pan. Up until the end of last year I was developing a successful career in education. I have other irons in other fires however my career as it stands is no more. This is not necessarily a bad thing and I am involved in a number of very exciting projects that may end up being more lucrative and fulfilling than the daily grind of employment. Taking a different direction has also saved my health. I have no doubt that if I'd continued in the same way I would have eventually done a Reggie Perrin.
I have suffered with depression, possibly since the kids were born. However this is a classic sign of someone who is not comfortable in their own skin and dealing with significant internal conflict. Depression is very often caused by anger and frustration turned inwards and I am a classic example of that.
I also seem to have divorced myself from the reality of daily life. I have pretty much stopped doing anything I don't want to do. Paying bills, putting together bedroom furniture, tidying the garden, household chores and making polite small talk have all ceased to be part of my existence. I constantly wear shorts and would rather staple my tongue to the floor with a croquet hoop than put a suit and tie on again. Basically I just don't care about much at all on a day to day basis.
So how does this all connect to my health and fitness and my failed detox program? Most people who are in the throes of a mid-life crisis spend their time trying to recapture their youth. Hence trying to improve their fitness, lose weight, buy new clothes (possibly a little too young for them), coveting flash cars and motorbikes which resemble a people carrier as little as possible, or finding themselves a little extra curricular activity with a younger model. This is true of men and women alike and should, in theory, give me the motivation for a detox.
The trouble is, during my youth I was a drunken, takeaway eating fool. I played sport in school and university to a decent standard but only for the social aspects. From the age of 17 to my late twenties all I wanted to do was sit on my arse either at home or in the pub. During my 30s I ran 7 half marathons and a full marathon as well as numerous other physical events and was possibly the fittest I have ever been. Now, it's like I've regressed to being 17 again. All I want is fun and pleasure. The attitude of a child.
Traditionally, when people reach middle age they start to worry about their health. I've gone exactly the opposite. I couldn't care less. I look at myself in the mirror every day as my newly flourishing belly strains to escape and I think to myself that I probably should lose some weight. In reality though, I have no motivation to do anything about it.
I hope this situation changes as middle age is definitely the wrong time to be adopting an unhealthy lifestyle.
I'll keep you posted.