Hot House

Going large

The trauma of body-fat scales

This article is taken from the June 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

Terrible, terrible shock. No exaggeration. Idly buying probiotics and optimistic collagen pills in Boots, I decided to stand on its special bmi scales — smug in the knowledge I haven’t broken eight stone since overdoing the croissants in Paris on my gap year. 

Went a step further, and agreed — at the sodding machine’s suggestion — to hold the bars on the side that measure your body fat. And, breathe, I was in the “poor” section! Not even average — literally poor! Let me repeat that — at 37 per cent fat (yes, I am one third fat) I am essentially obese at seven and a half stone. I don’t know where it is either. I am fat and bone. 

I was expecting to be in the “good” category at least, if not “excellent” or “athlete”. It was like knowing you might only get an A- (not an A or A+), but then getting a D. Like, what the hell? How has this happened? Called Jason my favourite personal trainer in panic, only to find out he’s in rehab for steroids.

This micro trauma has basically rounded off a whole month of other micro traumas, all child or house related as usual. Allow me to vent my other reasons not to be cheerful:

We had to make do with a week in Mallorca for half-term, because Will was too tight for Barbados. Nobody enjoyed it, the villa was teeming with lizards (wtf?) and the children had diarrhoea — which the cook claimed must have come from the one meal we had out. 

That’s right, Will only allowed us to go for one meal out. Since giving up alcohol (don’t be impressed, I’m the one who actually needs to stop drinking) he basically sees no point in going out. At all. At the end of the week he literally presented me with a bill for all wine over the week. I know! Grounds for divorce, though I have been saying this for years now.

• Lyra’s school got a “requires improvement” rating in its latest independent schools inspection. Cue panic among entire parent and teacher body, with the implication being that it’s our fault and that we all need to be doing even more at home. Latest email suggested we ban screens from house and enforce pre- and post-school tutoring “to consolidate learning”.

The utility room is flooding again.

Also, in nightmare flashback to the Mallorcan lizards we now have ants, moths, mice, nits and — drumroll — yesterday I walked in to an actual urban fox sitting at the kitchen island. ffs! 

• Agnieska, the only decent cleaner I’ve ever had, quit. On account of fox.

PTA at Hector’s school want to make the parents’ quiz a) obligatory b) monthly. I mean, come on! Is this the pta’s idea of date night? Why does the school need more cash?

• Minnie wants lip fillers. She is fifteen. Jesus wept. 

I kind of get why she wants the fillers. Though examining my own selfies yesterday I realised I’ve been overdoing it and am approaching weird chipolata lips zone. 

• My “poor” fat quota. Again.

• Next door neighbours have a new Tesla, prompting biblical levels of covetousness in Will. Also a new front door, making me hate our door with a passion.

• The price of front doors. Decent ones literally start at ten grand.

• The fact that I’m going to have to mainline protein shakes and lift lady weights, like some grim YouTube fitness mom in Alabama, to eliminate something only a machine can see.

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Critic magazine cover