Weight Watch­ing

Rose­mary has a dif­fi­cult day at the doc­tor’s

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Rosemary -

If you are what you eat, I’m prob­a­bly 60% cream bun

There is a mo­ment in the life of ev­ery woman who reaches a cer­tain age when she will find her­self sit­ting in a comfy chair at the doc­tor’s and telling great big whop­ping fibs as if her very life de­pended on it.

‘How much do you drink in an av­er­age week?’

‘Oh, hardly any­thing at all. I’m vir­tu­ally tee­to­tal.’ Ac­tu­ally, that’s re­ally not so much of a fib as it might once have been.

‘What about ex­er­cise? How much phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity do you do a week?’

‘Ab­so­lutely loads. I’m al­ways at it. Gar­den­ing, house­work, shift­ing heavy sacks at the char­ity shop, and we’ve even started go­ing to the gym.’ This, as reg­u­lar read­ers might re­mem­ber, is also not too much of a lie, even though Mr Dear some­times has to go on his own be­cause I’m too busy lift­ing heavy mugs of tea and plates of Vic­to­ria sponge.

‘If left to your own de­vices and in the pri­vacy of your own home, do you stuff your­self with cream buns, HobNobs, prof­iteroles, and those rather tooth­some cus­tard tarts they do at Tesco, not to men­tion the cof­fee and wal­nut cake they do at that nice cof­fee shop on the high street?’

‘Well, there you have me. Guilty as charged. If you are what you eat, I’m prob­a­bly 60% cream bun.’ (I should say that the ques­tion was more del­i­cately phrased than this, and touched on whether I might be a veg­e­tar­ian and how many por­tions of fruit I got through. But the cream-bun stuff was clearly what she wanted to know. The an­swer, by the way, was rather more eva­sive).

‘Now, what do you weigh?’

‘The hon­est an­swer? Re­ally hardly any­thing at all. Cer­tainly not as much as you might think.’

‘No, no. I was just think­ing out loud. What I meant to say was, take your shoes off and let’s see how much you weigh.’

A month or so ago, an in­vi­ta­tion ar­rived from my doc­tor’s surgery of­fer­ing me a free health check. To be frank, the ‘health check’ part of the deal didn’t re­ally grab my at­ten­tion. When you reach a cer­tain age, it’s never go­ing to be good news, is it? No doc­tor or nurse is ever go­ing to take your blood pres­sure and an­nounce: ‘Mrs Dear, you have the physique and con­sti­tu­tion of a 21-year-old ath­lete. Pretty much the only thing we rec­om­mend is that you eat more bis­cuits to keep up your weight.’

How­ever, I’ve never been able to re­sist the word ‘free’. So here I am, putting the case for the de­fence as Jenny, the lovely nurse, out­lines the case for the pros­e­cu­tion.

Jenny, I must ad­mit, runs an im­pres­sive op­er­a­tion. One of the things she can do is to prick my finger, suck up the blood into a tiny straw, then test the choles­terol con­tent on a ma­chine no big­ger than a man’s hand.

My choles­terol, I am pleased to re­port, is in pretty good shape. Thank you, Tesco Finest porridge oats.

As to my weight, well, all I am pre­pared to say is that sur­gi­cal scales have clearly em­braced the con­cept of fake news.

‘You are a lit­tle over­weight,’ says Jenny, break­ing it to me gen­tly. ‘And your blood pres­sure seems a lit­tle high. That could be some­thing to do with your weight, or some­times peo­ple’s blood pres­sure gets higher be­cause they’re ner­vous about com­ing to the surgery.’

‘Does your blood pres­sure get higher when a stranger has just poked you in the finger with a nee­dle, and sucked up some of your blood?’

‘That might have had an ef­fect,’

Jenny ad­mit­ted.

At home and with more time to think about this, I did what any­body else would have done un­der the cir­cum­stances: I pan­icked and googled ‘high pres­sure’ and ‘how to re­duce high blood pres­sure’.

The ad­vice wasn’t en­tirely help­ful. 1) Give up smok­ing, it sug­gested. I have never smoked.

2) Cut down on alcohol, it said.

(See above)

3) Cut down on caf­feine, it said. But I’m a mar­tyr to de­caff th­ese days, and my only caf­feine in­take comes in iced cof­fee (to which, ad­mit­tedly, I’m now ad­dicted). Still, I shall be cut­ting down to just one a week.

When Mr Dear ar­rived home from pol­ish­ing the hon­ours board at the cricket pavil­ion, or what­ever he was do­ing, he found me sunk in gloom.

‘What’s up, love?’ he asked.

‘It’s my blood pres­sure,’ I ex­plained. ‘When I had my health check, they dis­cov­ered it was a bit high.’

‘Oh, is that all,’ he said, for hus­bands are sym­pa­thetic like that. ‘When you reach our age, it’s bound to get a bit higher than nor­mal be­cause our veins and ar­ter­ies are all furred up like an old ket­tle.’

‘But my blood pres­sure is higher than ‘higher than nor­mal’. I’ve got a month to get it down.’

Mr Dear thought for a mo­ment, and put on his most car­ing ex­pres­sion: the one that looks as if he’s ac­ci­den­tally sat down on a plate of chicken curry and is hop­ing no­body will no­tice. ‘My blood pres­sure was a bit high a few months ago,’ he said, ‘and do you know what helped the most?’ ‘Was it walk­ing the dog?’

‘No.’

‘Did you cut down on alcohol?’

‘Not re­ally.’

‘What was it then?’

‘I stopped watch­ing the news,’ he said. This isn’t, I can’t help think­ing, a method that is rec­om­mended by lead­ing doc­tors.

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