Between us, I am not a great fan of doctors. I have a girlfriend who has her local GP on speed dial and who will send herself off to Casualty at the slightest stub of her toe. Me? I tend to avoid them. I think having spent so many years doing IVF (over 1000 injections) and then being monitored on a bi-weekly basis due to the high risk nature of both my pregnancies, I would rather cut my own arm off than sit in another waiting room, leafing through an eight-year-old She Magazine watching the clock slowly seep the minutes/hours away.
And so it was last week, when I very nearly did actually cut my own arm off, well, not cut exactly, but I had a terrible, painful, cartwheel injury (yes you did read that correctly. Who on earth does cartwheels at my age and a sober cartwheel to boot!?) and I ripped a ligament and needed special care at my local doctor who complained she had not seen me since 2009 – I am THAT phobic.
Anyway, on the way out, I was cornered by another doctor, who rather excitedly showed me his new fangled health machine. It checks blood pressure and heart rate and, with a simple blood test, can also test your cholesterol, both good and bad, and the glucose levels in your blood. He was beside himself with joy.
“How fascinating,” I smiled, edging determinedly towards the door.
“It takes five minutes,” he persisted.
“Good for it.” I nodded.
“I think you should do it. It is always good to know.’
Know what exactly? How long before the Grim Reaper comes knocking at my door? Quite what poor shape I am in? Quite how much damage all the booze and fags and chatting have done over the years?
“Oh go on then,” I suddenly found myself saying as I sat down. “I’ve had three double espressos so I think my pulse might be a little high.”
“Three? That’s a lot. It’s only 9.30am.”
“It’s the only way to get up in the morning.”
“Do you always do that?” This was clearly worrisome.
“Oh yes,” I nodded, as he cuffed my arm with the blood pressure machine.
On he went with his super-dooper machine, checking my blood pressure, he took my blood (I was amazed he found any, my Pinot/blood ratio is always a little dodgy) and then he said:
“I’d like to weigh you now.”
Oh god! The trauma of a public weigh-in. My heart sank, I began to sweat. No one over the age of eight years old wants to be weighed in public. And then I remembered. I have been Amelia Freer-ed . I’d lost two stone AND I have been eating like Gwyneth sodding Paltrow (no wheat, no dairy, very little fruit and lots of fresh fish/ prawns and veg and absolutely no snacking at all, ever!) for two years. Scales? Bring ‘em on!
“Nine stone,” he said out loud. I gently punched the air. “You have BMI of 20. If anything you are a little under weight.”
Was that a heavenly choir I heard in the doctor’s reception?
“In fact,” he continued. “Your cholesterol levels are excellent. Your good cholesterol is very high. Do you eat extremely well?”
“Well, yes, I suppose I do.” My smugness levels were rising.
“Whatever you're doing, keep it up. I am just going to calculate your medical age using the computer.”
Oh… I held my breath. The red wine, the vodka, the coffee, the late nights, the Marlboro lights...
“40,” he said. “You are medically six years younger than you actually are.”
“What? Over half a decade?”
“Yes,” he nodded. “That’s a very good result.”
As I walked out into the sunny street beyond, I have to admit I was amazed. I am not a good girl, I am a bad girl, but it appears that eating properly and losing weight has actually changed my life. Meeting Amelia Freer and following her diet plan and sticking to it and making sure that I don’t put back on the two stone that I lost has lengthened my life by six whole years. Six years. You can do a lot in six years. You can really achieve stuff in six years. Six years is a long time.
Extraordinarily, it turns out, in the end, you ARE actually what you eat. Granted I may well be run over by a bus tomorrow, but post-Amelia Freer, my coffin will be a little lighter!