• Dan Cardwell

Patience: Zero/Fit in Bits

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

In the late 70s, Queen were recording in the same studios as The Sex Pistols. Bumping into each other, Sid Vicious said ‘Ello, Fred, finally bringing ballet to the masses, then?’ To which Freddie replied ‘Ah, Mr Ferocious, we are trying our best, my dear.’

I’ve always been more Queen than Pistols (in both musical taste and the fact that I’m far more mainstream than punk), but I do hate the idea of following convention. I guess the difference is, I’ve always thought that if we fuck the system, the resulting anarchy will probably bring about a sort of survival of the fittest mentality, and well, I’m the kind of person who hurts himself walking on a slope. Much better to distract the system, pull its trousers down and then all point and laugh.

That’s why, on January 1st, I was still eating and drinking in excess – I didn’t start on my new year’s diet, healthy living plan until January 2nd. Yeah, that’s right, I don’t play by your rules. But I knew I needed to get healthy and lose weight, largely because, I’d eaten so much, my new year’s resolution was widescreen.

Plus, the wife and I were about to start IVF in February. I would never have been surprised to find out I had lazy sperm, as I wouldn’t presume my seed to be any different from the rest of me, but apparently, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong, it was just one of those bad luck things we’d had trouble conceiving for no apparent reason. Hence, IVF. Which seemed appropriate, as I’d always been more of a pre-prepared meal in the microwave sort of guy than creating food from scratch.

I’ve been overweight for ages now, barring a brief period of thinness a few years before, after heading in for an operation and being told my BMI, my body mass index, was too high for me to go under the anaesthetic. Basically, the NHS had declared me too fat to go to sleep. My favourite bit was that afterward, the docs set me up an appointment with a nutritionist so I could lose the weight. You know, they tell you what percentage of carbs you should eat, what percentage of fat, what percentage of protein. What I loved was that they chose to present this to me in the form of a pie chart. Either the doctors were taking the piss, or they’d decided I was now so gluttonous, I could only intake information in the form of pastry-based products. But post op, I’d slowly started to pile the weight back on.

But that's all started to change now IVF was on the cards. My wife, Jacqui, is a meticulous planner of the highest degree – much like The A-Team’s Hannibal, she loves it when a plan comes together, but hers would include diagrams, a full itinerary and a bibliography if she has the time. Whereas, I’m much more of a moments the moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, click yes without reading the terms and conditions sort.

So, once we were on the path to IVF, there was no book left unread, no study left unstudied, no anecdote left unanecdotalised on the subject in our house. Meaning not only was I now consuming more ‘special vitamins’ than a Russian Olympiad, I was now aware that, even if it did test well in the lab, sperm performed best when it wasn’t drunk and fat. So, I had to take the plunge, and give up my morning cakes and breakfast wine.

And I was doing OK. In the 6 days between the new year and breaking my bones, I’d lost 8lbs, enough for the doctors not to even question me sleeping through the operation for them to replace my femur with a metal rod. Before the injury, I was off, and on the way to having my sperm win slimmer of the month.

But then I ended up in hospital. And barring a joke bunch of grapes from my friend Saz, sweets and chocolates are visitor’s general commiseration of choice when you are busted up and under medical care these days. Not wanting to seem rude, I consumed the whole lot, the hand-to-mouth consumption of the food the only exercise I was actually getting whilst I was bound to the bed. Which is to say, the troops got fat and lazy again.

Meaning, I now have weeks in which I once again need to get training and dieting. As I lay here in bed, not able to move much, I’m having to resist the temptation to wile the hours away by stuffing my face with comfort food and instead eat healthy and eat boring.

This is one of those times I’d much prefer life was like the movies, where I’d be in shape again after a minutes montage of working out in a gym to the soundtrack of ‘We are the Champions.’


But, it will be good to get back to eating healthy and, one day, being able to go out walking again. Although, I think my chances of being part of Freddie's ballet revolution might be well and truly over.



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