First Person - with Debbie Clarke

Debbie Clarke
Debbie Clarke
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I CAN’T believe I have finally turned 35...

I honestly feel as if I was 21 not that long ago and within a blink of an eye I have reached my mid thirties - how did this happen? I remember feeling like I had all the time in the world and then I wake up one morning and I’m 35!

I know a lot of people reading this will wonder why I am making such a mountain out of a molehill, but I think it’s because I thought I would have achieved much more by this age.

I have a good job which is right on my doorstep, I have my own flat and my own car, but there is still so much I want to do.

I have always wanted to go to New York and I thought by the time I was 30 I would have been to the Big Apple and made that trip up the Empire State Building (as well as having a sandwich in that cafe made famous by my favourite film, “When Harry Met Sally.’’, but, alas, I haven’t managed to make that trip yet. I probably could have done it before now but it would have been through scrimping and scraping and I believe NY should be done in style - with no expense spared.

I suppose the other big thing for me is being married. This is another milestone I would like to tick off the list, but so far it has eluded me. It’s scary when you suddenly look around at your friends and realise they are all either engaged, married or having children and you haven’t accomplished any of it! Not yet anyway. But there is time ...

But the most distressing thing about getting older - apart from the wrinkles - is the weight gain.

Suddenly my trousers are feeling a lot tighter, the buttons on my shirt are popping out - it’s ridiculous! I have gone up a clothes size and it’s happened very quickly.

Admittedly I haven’t been to the gym as much recently but I didn’t think I could put on quite as much weight as I have.

When I was in my 20s I could put on a few pounds and then do a couple of gym classes and it would come off instantly. Now, it takes me to work out hard for a week to lose the same few pounds! These days I just have to look at a cream cake and I can feel my waistline expanding.

My appetite has increased as well. Before, I could be satisfied with having just a couple of squares of chocolate. When I unwrap a chocolate bar these days, the whole bar is devoured! The level of control I once had has gone and I have been trying to figure out why.

They say that when you get older you begin to care less about what people think and maybe this is part of it. I always felt I wanted to be seen a certain way i.e a girl with a slim figure and that meant watching what I ate. These days - although I do still like to take care of myself - I don’t worry as much about what I consume and I just enjoy it.

I remember being so keen on exercise that I would work out for at least an hour or two, six or sometimes seven days a week. When I think about that now it seems crazy.

I ended up paying a high price - I damaged my foot nearly two years ago and I had a condition called plantar fasciatis which meant the sole was very sore. This was due to over exercising.

I managed to get extra support for it, but the pain has never fully gone away which means I can’t work out as much as I would like these days.

I am a firm believer of doing everything in moderation.

I just can’t be one of those girls who lives on salads and never drinks fizzy juice. I will always want a bag of chips (preferably soaked in brown sauce) and I love a can of Irn Bru. I could try dieting but I know I will never stick to it, so I have decided that at the ripe old age of 35 it’s time to start enjoying myself once again like I used to do in my twenties. Not to quite the same degree of course - I no longer grace nightclubs and would prefer to drink a nice cup of tea instead of downing shots. But there is no reason why getting older can’t be fun and a little bit of over indulgence now and again won’t do any harm either!