Mirrors Aren’t Your Friend

It happened on Monday. I had one of those terrible realisations: tomorrow’s a work day too.

Not only that, but I caught a look at myself in a mirror and discovered I was actually fat again. I knew I must be, having lived quite relentlessly like a celibate Henry VIII since late November, but I didn’t feel genuinely ashamed of myself until that moment.

Most people indulge at Christmas but generally snap out of it a few days into January and get on with their lives. Not I, said the pig. The extended gluttony reawakens old, revolting habits and they don’t die until I’m shocked into action by the reflection of an actual toad.

Mr Toad

It also happened that the following day was Valentine’s Day, which is traditionally a time for unpleasant reflection anyway. So that worked out. I was going to write a poem about my day, but decided against it because I’m not mad at Valentine’s Day, I’m mad at me. Mad as a balloon.

For what it’s worth, this is as far as I got:

The toilet’s life flushed before its eyes.

Constipation… gone.

The weight… over.

Belly… remains.

It could have been a masterpiece, obviously, but it wasn’t to be. See those double meanings? You’ve lost weight because the wait’s over now you’re not constipated. But you’re still overweight - the belly remains, despite releasing its final contents - its remains, you might say.

I’ve just talked myself into believing it’s a fine poem in its own right. Glad I left it at that and didn’t bring love into it.

What was I talking about again? Oh, the fat.


The problem was it had taken this long to realise. Why hadn’t my mirror revealed the truth to me sooner? Much as I try to avoid it, I see my reflection in it everyday.

In fact, it wasn’t my own mirror that told me. It was one I don’t see very often, at work. Have you noticed how the mirrors in brightmares like Boots are shockingly realistic and make you ashamed to be out in public? Those are the honest ones, and this was like that.

They’re the HD televisions of vanity. Every nook, cranny, blotch and sag of your dreadful visage is exposed. The mirror at home is too familiar and fuzzy. It lies to protect your feelings. It’s still got Teletext.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to avoid getting in this state again, I cannot rely on mirrors. They either pat you on the back and tell you everything’s fine, or slap you in the face when it’s too late. Mirrors aren’t friends.

Mirrors aren't friends

Fortunately, a couple of years ago someone invented a thing called a camera and that’s going to be how I sort my life out. As of Valentine’s Day I’ve been taking a photo of my face everyday. I plan to do this for precisely three months. On May 14th I’ll compile all the photos into a video that tracks the transition. If all goes well the end product will resemble a defaced ball sack slowly deflating.

It’s not an original idea, but I think it’s a pretty good incentive to lose some weight. Unlike that swine the mirror, the camera never lies. Every time I have the urge to neck a Pot Noodle (at least twice a day) I’ll just think how it’ll look in tomorrow’s photo. Fool-proof.

To show I’m genuine, at least partially, here is the first photo. Here is me at what I hope will turn out to be my lowest ebb. Here is me blotched and bloated to buggery, wishing I was dead or at least that my eyes aligned properly. Here is me on the most romantic day of the year:

Me on the most romantic day of the year

Sorry to put you through that. Suggest you keep a copy in your wallet and have a good hard look whenever your self-esteem is threatened.

See you in three months!