Tuesday, 17 June 2008

"Mens Sana in Thingummy Doodah" (Victoria Wood)

I have always loved Victoria Wood and her hilarious take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life. One programme is a particular favourite "Mens Sana in Thingummy Doodah" where Victoria and a friend go to a health farm to get fit and lose some weight. Well yesterday the joke was on me as I did something very out of character - I joined a gym. Six months ago some routine blood tests showed that I have high cholesterol. It came as a bit of a shock as I have always been fit and healthy. I knew that my Mum and my Aunt both had high cholesterol but I did not realise that a raised level be hereditary. I am so grateful to my doctor for suggesting the test otherwise I would never have found out that I am potentially at risk of heart attack and stroke. I asked my GP not to put me on medication but to give me a chance to change my lifestyle. She agreed and gave me three months to lower it with diet and exercise alone. My diet has always been fairly healthy but I concentrated on cutting out as much saturated fat as possible, eating more whole grains and at least five portions of fruit and vegatables a day. Also, I started to take more exercise, trying to fit in at least 30 minutes of brisk walking three times a week. Being on such a strict diet was hard at first but it had an added bonus - slow but steady weight loss without having to worry about counting calories. At the end of February I had my cholesterol re-tested and was over the moon when I discovered that I had managed to get it down within a normal range. I will have my blood tested again at the end of August and if that is OK will just need annual check-ups.

Eating a low fat diet has become second nature to me now. I am an expert at reading labels in supermarkets and of keeping track of how much fat I am eating. I try not to stress out if I have a bad day or if I am eating out. I simply make sure that I am extra careful for the next few days. My Other Half has been very supportive and he is feeling the benefits too. People have been commenting on how fit and healthy he is looking. Losing weight was never an issue for him as he has always been sickeningly trim.

Joining the gym is the next step for me. I always said that I would never do such a thing but I am lucky that we have a free gym at work. Plus, I will be going with my friends M, K & P. We can support and encourage each other. I would advise everyone to have their cholesterol level tested at least once. It is impossible to tell by looking at someone whether they are at risk.

Now I am faced with another challenge. I am struggling to find things to wear as most of my clothes are now too big for me. I loath shopping, especially clothes shopping, so I have been putting it off.

Featuring more stunning photos taken by my Other Half

On the beading front things are progressing very slowly with the passion flower vase. More pictures to come very soon.

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