ONE of the many benefits of being at my girlfriend’s parent’s house since lockdown started has been the provision of three square meals a day, something I never used to treat myself to. I’ve been having multiple pieces and bacon for breakfast, a smashing big lunch followed by a massive dinner. It has been amazing.

Instead of coming out of lockdown with a new skill or a renewed zest for life, I think I’ll be coming out of it with gout.

My body is not used to getting this much nourishment. My diet for the last wee while hasn’t been great. I’d have what could be termed as a child’s portion of cereal for breakfast or maybe a single slice of toast. Lunch would be a packet of crisps, or, if I was feeling indulgent, decadent even, I’d have a Pot Noodle. Dinner would be whatever I could concoct from the contents of the fridge and cupboards. “Supernoodles...” I murmur to myself, rummaging through the kitchen. “Oan toast... wi beans. Aye that’ll dae me.”

It’s no way to live.

I spent all of 2018 hammering the gym and eating the properly. Probably motivated to do so by the sculpted bodies of the players at the World Cup that year and also by the Adonis-like figures on Love Island, if I’m being honest. When I started the gym, I was around nine and a half stone and wanted to get up to 11st.

I had visions of me packing on layer after layer of solid muscle, developing abs you could wash clothes on, as hard and smooth as the stones of a riverbed. In my head I’d be going from looking like an anaemic praying mantis to a genetically modified bull that was bred to produce three-inch-thick steaks. I think I got to about 10 and a half stone in the space of almost a year and had the smallest hints of muscle definition for the first time in my life. But let me tell you this – I was miserable.

Chugging down gallons of protein shakes so thick they’d settle like cement in my stomach. Mad drinks with names like “Muscle Packer 3000”. I’d been going to the gym every day but then that slipped to every other day before turning into a fortnightly affair then I just stopped completely. I think it took me about three months of not going to stop kidding myself on and finally cancel the membership.

I spent the majority of my teenage years hating how I looked. I remember being in work as a scrawny 18-year-old and being shouted over to help a customer. “Try this fitbaw tap oan, Chris,” my boss said to me, handing me a large Man United top. “Aye he’s aboot the height ae ma boay,” the customer said as I pulled on the jersey which fell over my skinny frame like a nightie.

“Wit size wid you take in this?” my boss asked. “Eh, a small probably,” I replied. “Mair like an extra small!” the customer quipped. “You’re built like the side ae a fiver, pal!”

Aye awrite, that’s plenty.

I’d always be referred to as “wee Chris” even though I’m reasonably tall on account of how skinny I was. I don’t want to compare the slaggings etc that I got to the sort of grief that overweight people get as it’s totally different, but it did have an effect on my confidence. I’d wear a lot of layers, sometimes two T-shirts, in attempt to appear bigger than I actually was.

A lot of it was probably down to vanity and wanting to be like the guys on the covers of GQ and Men’s Health etc.

In the last year though, mostly down to my awful diet, I’ve realised I don’t want to be bigger; I think I just want to be a bit fitter. Lockdown has saw me reach the weight I always wanted to be as I’m now – a midge’s eyelash away from 11st. I’m no muscly or anything, my torso is just a sort of fleshy oblong shape but it’s sound.

I didn’t have to punish myself for hours at the gym or drink fart-inducing protein concoctions to put on weight – I just had to eat proper food for a change. I’m not too bothered with how I look now but I am fed up feeling tired all the time and out of breath whenever I do anything more strenuous than tapping away at a laptop.

So, when I’m allowed out more than once a day, my one walk is currently taken up by the dug’s morning stroll, I’m going to get into running and cycling and all that. I’ll be the fittest columnist you’ve ever read. Not only that, I’m sure I’ll be a lot happier as well. Suppose I could do fitness video or something in the house in the meantime… nah maybe next week. Anyway, that’s my Pot Noodle ready.