While uncharacteristically tidying the bedroom on Sunday afternoon, I happened upon the gym clothes that I uncharacteristically snapped up on New Year's Eve. This purchase occurred in a lightbulb flash of magical thinking, images of a highly idealised version of myself - running, jumping, squatting, kicking - careening through my mind. This was it, I thought excitedly, as I thrust my debit card over the counter. These outfits heralded the healthy new me. Then I heaved them home where they have sat, ever since, still in their bag, still sporting their price tags.
Dispensing with my duster, I decided it was time to give the clothes a proper airing with the workout DVD I bought recently. In looking for the perfect DVD, I eschewed the ranks of ex-soap star/pop star workouts, put off by the "before" pictures on their covers, showing fat women looking sad. These images make me, as a fat woman, feel sad.
I plumped instead for the Tracy Anderson Method. This is endorsed by Anderson's clients Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, but what really attracted me was the fact that this was that rare prospect - a dance cardio workout put together by an expert.
I need some cardiovascular work, and I love to dance. In fact, as I loaded the DVD, I thought smugly of my school days leaping around in leotards, which I felt sure would serve me well.
The warm-up passed in a slow, simple wash of stretching, and then I started learning the routines. Anderson demonstrates the moves slowly, before upping the tempo in the proper workout. As I walked through the demonstrations, my brow creased anxiously, and as I began the proper workouts, my mind simply boggled. I stepped, plied, hopped, reached, turned, did a star jump, crashed against the wall, ricocheted off the sofa, trod on my cat's tail, and crumpled in a disillusioned heap on the floor.
Anderson predicts a "teeny tiny dancer type" body if you stick to the workout, and I'll happily take her word for it. For now, though, all I have is some very sore thighs and a bitter, vengeful pet.