x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Making room for a relationship and exercise

What's a guy to do if his wife prefers a less-fit version of him?

After spending the whole summer in England, it's undeniable I've gained a bit of extra weight. My mum's cooking, constant socialising with friends I'd forgotten existed and the increased snack consumption that comes with staring at 24-hour rolling news coverage of rioting in your hometown can all be blamed. But, after arriving back in the UAE and finding that only the trousers in my wardrobe with a bit of "give" were still wearable, I decided firm action was needed.

For me, the surefire way to maintain the motivation in the battle to ditch those extra kilos is to sign up for a lengthy running event - and the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Half Marathon in November seems perfect. The impending terror of having to haul a portly frame through a 21-kilometre slog galvanises a complete lifestyle upheaval. So, if I do decide to get involved in the half marathon, the next two months will involve hours on the treadmill, endless salad lunches and the shunning of any social life in favour of curling up with a copy of Runner's World magazine. And low and behold, just watch as that excess fat melts away and my greyhound-like physique returns.

But here's the dilemma: my wife is adamant that my aspirations of having the body of an Olympic distance runner are completely unacceptable. You see, when we met - two years ago at a mutual friend's wedding - I'd recently completed the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon. Although she thought I was reasonably charming, at the time she deemed my skeletal runner's physique pretty unattractive.

It wasn't until we met again by chance six months later, and my usual sedentary, junk-food laden lifestyle had started to pay dividends on my waistline, that her opinion of me changed.

For most guys, this is highly confusing. We've been led to believe that flat stomachs are up there with facial scars, leather jackets and "love/ hate" tattoos on each knuckle as symbols of masculinity that induce swooning in the fairer sex. However, apparently being super-skinny is a major turn off.

So what to do? Sign up for the half marathon and possibly alienate the love of my life, or keep pounding the shawarmas and bottomless buffets and risk accidentally blinding my new colleagues as my expanding belly causes my shirt buttons to ping across the room?

I'm completely lost. I'll eat this giant bag of Doritos and then decide.

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