The 2900 or so athletes competing here at Sochi 2014 are doubtless all fine specimens of fitness and healthiness, trying to peak and win a potentially life changing Olympic medal. For many they put 'normal' living on hold and can be slightly obsessive.
So I've decided to become obsessive about something as well. Weight loss. I've been very fortunate in my career to get sent to some weird and wonderful places, but the one downside is that you do tend to be away from your family for a long time. On this assignment to Russia it's a four week job. I immerse myself in work and the time does tend to fly by, but you do need a distraction. On this trip, it's my expanding waistline that took a battering over Christmas. In my preparations for the Olympics, I indulged in too much turkey, chocolate... You get the picture.
When I'm away I do get a bit OCD, I like some routine as it tends to keep my mind sharp (when I'm at home and not working, chaos reigns, time and punctuality go out of the window) And as I said, a good side of a distraction is that you can achieve something.
Now you may well have seen, heard or read about all the poor journalists who have terrible accommodation and don't like the food here, well I'm not one of them. Bring it on! The food isn't great, but it's edible, does the job etc. As far as I'm concerned it's my fill up of unleaded to power me around. And that's one of the unique things of a Winter Olympics, you need to power around! With two venues, one on the coast and the other in the mountains there's lots of walking to be done.
The SSN team here like to be ready for all eventualities, so if we are heading to the mountains we have to be in our warm weather gear - thick socks, walking shoes, snow trousers , jackets, thermals etc. We also carry around a lot of kit - just in case. We have all the cameraman's gear, camera, tripod, batteries, editing kit, our live kit, plus all other necessary paraphernalia. I carry the tripod everywhere now, it's just like a rather large dumbell and I'm pretty sure my biceps are getting bigger. Great!
We really ought to put a step-ometer or something like that on, we're walking here, there and everywhere. To bus stops, to cable cars, up and down snowy steps, along roads and all the time lugging all our kit in our warm weather gear. Now here's another good bit, it's cold in the mountains so that warm weather stuff we're wearing is fabulous. However any building or bus and quite frankly anywhere by the coast is warm. We're so well wrapped up, we look like a boxer frantically trying to lose a precious few ounces before the weigh-in.
But I don't care, this is great. My Christmas excesses are disappearing! I went down a belt notch yesterday and Lia my equally slightly bonkers producers made me feel a million roubles earlier when she looked at my face and said "you've lost weight there!" Awesome!
Don't get alarmed, I'm not that obsessed so this becomes dangerous and I'm perfectly aware that many people out there have been affected one way or another by eating disorders. I'm certainly not being flippant here, it's just my food choices are limited and I won't succumb to a fairly prevalent burger chain (ok, I have! But it was 10 days ago and not again) What it's highlighting to me is how much I graze at home with food. A few crisps here, a bit of cheese there, several chocolate biscuits later.
I'm not hungry. I'm fine on what I'm eating and we're doing so much exercise, the calories are burning off at a good rate.
Lia has also got us doing yoga at bus stops, to be honest it hurts and is quite painful, but it's all part of the regime.
Sometimes though you do need a treat, you need a little something. Years ago a cricketer mate of mine who'd be on tours of India and Pakistan and had experience of certain problems that can occur in that part of the world told me that wine gums were a brilliant treat. It gives you a quick sugar release and then the gelatine gives you a slower release of something else!
I don't know if this is true, I've no idea, but it's worked on previous trips I've done and it's doing the same here in Russia for Team SSN. The only downside is that Simon the cameraman and Lia the producer are gannets, they've eating them all! I'm down to my last bag...