Close up shot of doctor using syringe takes blood from patient arm vein for medical test

I’m at that age now where I find myself on my doctor’s radar. That means I am now in that bracket where men of my age are deemed to have an increased risk of developing various ailments ranging from prostate cancer through to being a miserable old fart and as such, the NHS likes to keep an eye on us. Prevention is better than cure and all that!

So, being within range of this hallowed ‘radar’ means I get an annual ‘invitation’ to have my blood pressure measured and to offer a sample of the red stuff for various screening test indicators such as cholesterol, liver function, blood-sugar levels etc.

Today was one of those days and earlier this morning I found myself sitting in a treatment room (with my mask on of course), being quizzed about how much I drank and the state of my diet whilst a practice nurse extracted a syringe full of blood.

To be honest, age aside, I’ve been on my Doc’s radar for several years now due to my past history of hypertension, excess weight and undulating relationship with the booze. To such an extent that about three years ago, I was given the Scarborough Warning to change my wicked ways, because if I didn’t then Prediabetes was inevitable, closely followed by Type 2 Diabetes.

If that happened, then I was f***ked, not to put too fine a point on it!

Flick of the Switch

That was in September 2018 and at that juncture a switch must have flicked in my brain as over the next 12 months or so, I made it my personal and with hindsight; somewhat obsessive, mission in life to get myself out of the danger zone.

I gave up drinking and using a phone app, worked to a strict calorie controlled diet. As time went on, I took-up running, bought a bike and cycled the 13 mile round trip to work each day. Phew!

By the time lockdown came in March 2020, some 18 months after the switch had been thrown, I had lost 77 lbs (35kg) which was about 1/3 of my starting body weight, was running 5K Parkruns in 21 minutes and completed the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks in under 9 hours.

Blimey, I didn’t recognise myself, surely I had been taken over by an alien! A complete lifestyle change.

Lockdown Lard

Then last March, lockdown landed here in the UK with it’s ‘stay home’ remit. Parkruns ended and working from home commenced.

During the initial few months the novelty of it all was stiff fresh, regular runs were maintained and a pseudo-commute on the bike each morning was followed under our ‘daily exercise allowance’.

People, unhealthy lifestyle, obesity and gluttony. Overweight fat young European man with curly red hair holding glass of beer, feeling hesitated deciding whether to drink it or not after good dinner

However, as the realisation that we were all in it for the long-haul began to hit home my motivation to run, cycle and watch my diet went out of the window. The booze came back and so did the bad eating habits. After all, in the restricted world we found ourselves in, surely there was nothing else to do but eat and drink to keep oneself sane and forget about life for a while.

Lockdown lard began to make its mark at this point and today, I find that I’ve put most of what I had lost back on and my fitness levels are at rock-bottom.

So whilst a certain amount of focus has resumed now that so called Freedom Day has been invoked, part of me is hoping that the results of today’s tests will shock me back into action to do something practical about the whole weight regain and exercise drop off thing. As to be quite honest, the demise back into bad habits has got me down, yet I am struggling to pick myself up and reverse the situation to more acceptable levels.

Softly-softly, one step at a time, is perhaps the order of the day. We’ll see. Watch this space people!

Image credit: Top interstid, lower Wayhome Studio Licensed through Adobe Stock

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