STEVE CANAVAN: My plan to deflate my spare tire is all pain and no gain

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock
Have your say

I seem to have put on a bit of weight around the midriff of late. This has never happened before.

All my life I have desperately tried to gain weight but despite eating food portions the size of which an adult elephant would baulk, my puny body steadfastly refused to get any bigger.

Indeed I’ll never forget the first time I removed my top in front of a woman – this is a slightly racy story, so tell the kids to go outside and play.

It happened at university when I was 19 and went on a date with Susan Bassenthwaite, a girl from my course with athlete’s foot and an unsightly hair problem on her upper lip.

After a few drinks, things seemed to be getting amorous – by which I mean she put on a Lionel Ritchie LP and unzipped her fleece.

Things progressed and I thought my luck was in. But when, consumed by passion, I whipped off my T-shirt, she took a step back, looked my torso up and down, turned Lionel off and told me she’d got a headache.

Upset and hurt at rejection, it was on that night that I realised I needed to look a bit more manly in the chest area.

But try as I might – I even did 18 press-ups one afternoon – I just couldn’t bulk out, and it remained the same for the two decades that followed.

However, in the past few weeks, at the age of 41, I’ve suddenly developed what is commonly known as a spare tyre.

When I bend over without a top on, for the first time in my life, I have rolls of fat. Indeed the situation has become so grave I recently ordered a pair of those elasticated trousers you find towards the back of Reader’s Digest.

I think the weight gain is due to the fact I no longer go out and instead spend my time cuddling a small baby – my own baby, not someone else’s. That would be weird.

In an attempt to lose the fat and improve my fitness, I went jogging. I used to run fairly regularly and even completed a marathon about 18 months ago.

However, the only running I have done since is hotfooting it down the stairs when Mrs Canavan shouts romantic things like ‘can you get the breast pump please darling, I’m leaking milk again’.

So I went for a jog and it felt good. I was running quite fast, so much so that I made a mental note to enter the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials.

But at the furthest point of my run, about two miles from home, I went to cross the road, misjudged where the kerb was and put my foot down on it at an odd, excruciatingly painful angle, and twisted my ankle.

I yelped in pain and staggered towards a nearby wall where I was about to collapse until I noticed two teenage lads approaching.

In typical English fashion – because embarrassment is so much worse than pain – I jumped up and pretended I was doing some sort of extravagant stretching routine. It was only when they were safely 100 yards past that I let out another pitiful cry and began to gently sob.

I didn’t have a mobile phone on me and it was late so there was no one to ask for help. The only person I could see was a gentleman outside a nearby Wetherspoon’s.

However, the man was holding a pint of Guinness and singing Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York in a key I’d never previously thought possible, so I decided he was not the best person to ask for aid.

Gingerly putting weight on my ankle, I was able to hobble at the speed of a particularly slow sloth and painstakingly made my way back home. It took me one hour and three minutes to reach my front door.

Given that I’d told Mrs Canavan I’d be ‘half an hour tops’, I was worried she’d be frantic and panicking.

‘It’s all right, don’t worry, I’m okay,’ I shouted, dramatically stumbling into the lounge, gripping the bookcase for support.

She looked up from the settee, where she was eating a packet of chocolate digestives and watching a re-run of Inspector Morse.

‘How many times have I told you not to come in here wearing trainers?’ she said, sympathetically.

‘I’ve really hurt my ankle,’ I wheezed, ‘I think I may even have broken it.’

‘That’s a shame,’ she replied.

‘There’s some leftover quiche in the fridge. I need to see this bit because Lewis is going to interview the women who saw the knife attack.’

I slept that night with a bag of frozen garden peas clamped to the injured area. It’s still a bit tender – thanks for asking – but I’m hoping I will just about pull through.