It is often the case that extreme circumstances prompt folk to make life-changing decisions.
Sherry on cornflakes is likely to prove a game changer for many with a drink problem as would cracking open the nipper’s piggy bank before making a trip down to the bookies. It is fair to say my nadir came in the shape of a penguin-inspired ride at a theme park.
Knowing you’re overweight is one thing, realising you better shift a stone or four because you have broken a fun ride aimed at children is a different thing altogether.
I should have known there was trouble on the horizon when I struggled to get even one buttock into the snug seat on the Penguins of Madagascar ride but I did not take the hint, such was my desire to please my wide-eyed five-year-old.
The second sign of trouble for me was being eyed suspiciously by the elegant blonde mum who had shepherded her shy youngster on to the ride, her furtive sideways glance suggesting I was somewhat out of place on an attraction designed for under sevens. Of course, I ignored her and strapped myself in, safe in the knowledge this was a sedate ride and nothing could go wrong.
It wasn’t long into, what should have been, a two-minute journey taking us no more than 30ft above the ground that I began to zone out. Probably thinking about lunch or how much this particular day out was going to set me back.
‘It’s stuck’ spat elegant blonde mum and that is when I realised that myself and five fellow passengers were suspended half way up a giant pole. Rather than bounce up and down, the expensive piece of technology slowly shuddered while the plucky teenage attendant below vainly tried to reassure me it wasn’t necessarily my fault that we weren’t having the time of our lives.
Our descent back to terra firma would bear comparison to a race between a disabled tortoise and a hefty pensioner on an ageing stairlift. All I could do was grin at the smirking crowds below and ignore both the sniggers of my daughter and the whimper of a two-year-old whose day I had just ruined.
This was a new low for me, my very own skirt in the knickers moment, and the resolve is now there that I will shift more than one fifth of my body weight. Forget scales, ‘fat photos’ or the disappearance of one’s feet, the one sure-fire guarantee of going on a diet is to ensure I’ll never again face the humiliation I did on a family day out.