I’m watching this thing on BBC about how a celeb chef is fighting obesity in Britain. He was going on about how the major cereal companies don’t put a traffic light system onto their products like supermarkets here do to warn you if an unhealthy element is in high concentration in the food. Lots of the parents with him said they used the traffic lights. I made pfff pfff sounds in the background. I tried to use it once. I landed up substituting a traffic light that said high in sugars for a ‘healthy eating’ yogurt only to discover it was stuffed full of colourants and that funny taste in my mouth was artificial sweetener. The ‘better’ product was far worse than the original. I switched instead to a low fat natural yogurt and started adding my own fruit into the mix instead.
So I was in Holland and Barratts and looking for a snack or two. This is the ultimate in ‘health food store chain’. It is the perfect one stop for vitamin supplements, wholegrain wheatgerm and manuka honey. It is also the place a sales assistant once chased me down the aisle with the enthusiasm of a true evangelist that I should eat according to my blood group to be healthy. The assistant claimed the store had trained them for this. I’m highly dubious of that. It felt more like a hari krishna had got into a Baptist church and was looking for converts- I do not mean that sacrilegiously but the guy was seriously converted to this blood group thing. Personally I refuse to follow a system that says my blood cells dictate I can’t have steak or peas or something because I’m not an O positive or whatever.
The fact of the matter is I can’t really call H&B a ‘health food’ store either. Who’s kidding who? Raisins, which I believe some Americans call ‘natures goodness in a box’ – who puts them in a box for petes’ sake! – are full of sugar. Bombay snacks are full of salt and fat…
Basically everything in moderation. Unless like me you aren’t too sure where the off switch is.
So last year I came down with a cold/cough thing that seemed to last forever. (In point of fact, although I am now ‘healthy’ I still seem to be getting up every morning and hocking up a tiny phlegm ball – like a smoker or a distressed cat with hairballs – note: I am not a smoker or a cat).
At some stage while waiting to heal I developed this insane urge to firstly ‘treat’ myself so I felt less sorry for myself and secondly I started to wonder how much my fitness levels were dropping off because I was in some state of imposed bedrest involving work-food-sleep-work-food-sleep-work with no social life per say as I was too tired (and coughy) to be much fun.
Somewhere in the midst of this I decided what I REALLY wanted was a fitness tracker with a heartrate monitor that doesn’t look like one particularly. (which really narrowed the field) And I didn’t want to pay full price. So I got a really nice little fitbit off ebay from a very nice gentleman who let me pay immediately without bidding as I can’t deal with the bidding auction frenzy thing that was in perfect condition and I then scraped the face all by myself on the first hour of wearing. (sigh)
So this thing has been tracking my movements for about a month but I’m getting a bit bored of this. I miss the two watches I own as there is no point in wearing a normal watch if you have a tracker with time attached to it already. The watches are just more comfy as on my wrist as the tracker doesn’t wrap sufficiently and personally I feel it consequently keeps poking into my arm in a way that it would not if I had a fatter arm (not that I want a fatter arm). This is despite what is a serious charm for my shallow self of being able to easily switch out the straps to suit fashion/activity etc. Two completely different straps fit differently but still the straps can only bend so far and the little light sensor things dig into my arm.
I am more fascinated than I thought I would be at this wearable tech. I keep worrying – especially since my wrist feels dented by the tracker – that the little light sensor things are going to give me cancer. Has anyone tested this? Or am I doomed anyways due to too many hours on early design mobile phones (think Motorola brick)? Is this thing really accurately monitoring my heartrate anyway or is it just making up some kind of guestimate that is also based off my blood pressure etc? And how does that sleep function work anyway? It actually subtracts time off for being ‘awake’ even though you are in bed. Occasionally when I think back I can vaguely remember being awake in the night as I tried to turn over or had a duvet war with Plus One but there are other periods of ‘awake’ I do not recall and I seem to have big problems hitting REM (Although this may be due to the fact that I’m plain not sleeping enough as there isn’t enough time in the day).
Strange to think though how ‘normal’ the whole concept of these trackers has become. Since owning one I notice them in various shapes, guises and brands on other people. And it’s astounding how many people of various fitness levels, sizes, ages, wear one. Will the ability to track our motions become so bog standard in the future we won’t even think about it? Like we don’t think twice now about being late meeting people because we are all connected via phones.
So one of my friends pointed out a mutual friend is currently trying to fall pregnant and has been told by a certain hippy character we know that she will come by with some henna to help her dye her hair. Hair dye apparently is not good for embryos or foetuses.
I took a deep breath. ‘Isn’t this’, I asked, ‘The same person you said you had a glass of wine with the other day. Except you felt ill after one glass and told me she was happy to finish the bottle.’
Indeed it was.
I admit to being a terrible hypocrite when it comes to my health. I will surmise regretfully after the fact that pickling my liver may not be a great idea and attempt to run it off the next morning with a mouth full of cottonwool and lungs that feel vacumn packed
I will contemplate and commiserate my love handles as I wedge a doughnut into my mouth.
I will suffer the burdens of a headache loudly and irritably while attempting to refuse pain killers while pouring caffeine into my system in the form of very strong coffee.
I admit to all of this. I know that if I was to be a healthy, well preserved earth child, bountiful and beautiful these choices I make are probably flawed.
I was still vaguely insulted by the logic and lifestyle choices of my former friend even though it really is the pot calling the kettle black.
In this instance I’d probably continue to colour my hair as the lesser of two evils as I’m not actually ingesting colourant directly into my body (well, yes through my scalp into my brain but as I’m not drinking it I feel it’s sort of acceptable). But I certainly wouldn’t be drinking.
Just like I quite like spray deodorants even though they are supposed to be environmentally unfriendly and there are scare stories of aluminium poisoning through your pores. But I’ll probably continue to risk it although I avoid antiperspirants like the plague unless in black tie.
I’ll happily consume fruit/veg/dry goods well beyond the use by date as I’m not good at reading them but go off how wrinkly/mouldy/wilted something looks. But catch me with a bloated can or funny smelling meat. I have been known to throw four chicken breasts (in date) into the bin because they came via an online shop and I had no idea what the driver had done that day but the breasts smelt rank on opening.
Modern living means much of what you do is going to be bad for you. But it’s about which battles you pick to staying healthy.
My parents in their infinite wisdom elected to send me to an all girls school. I think the logic worked something like this:
There would be less distractions.
I would never have the excuse that girls are bad at maths or science compared to boys.
There would be less worries on many fronts, from bullying to worrying about what happens behind the tennis courts at lunch.
I grew up believing I could get through the door before a boy, without him having to open it for me. I took it as a personal affront if he tried to pay for something. I believed I was at least as good if not better than my peers.
The strange thing was, once given the choice who I could hang out with, many of my best friends were now of the opposite sex. True, a number of them were gay so I had the compromise of a gossip/fashion pal with the testosterone, but yes, many were male.
The other day I dropped in on a friend who agreed to keep something for me for a day or so. He told me to meet him at the pizzeria. Turned out he had two other friends there. They spent the better half of the hour I was there talking about stuff I didn’t understand or relate to. Mostly organising a party I wasn’t invited to. Otherwise discuss fitness plans and marathons, which is also something I really don’t care for. If you want to run, run – personally I think we evolved to drive cars and create trains for a reason.
Either way, it put me on edge. I don’t really blame my friend that much. He was pretty quiet in the conversation and did try ask me how I was, just noone else cared to know the answer. The other members of the party were a transvestite and a girl with curly hair.
My friend invited me for dinner. The girl with curly hair was meant to be there too. He told me she was cool and I should get to know her better. I told him I found her unnnecessarily aggressive and overly protective of him despite her having a boyfriend and I had seen her subsequently and she ignored me point blank.
He pointed out I had probably misunderstood and had come across pretty hard core to her too. Probably. I admit to being defensive when backed into a corner. Usually if it is not soap operas I can participate in conversation. That evening freaked me out a bit.
Either way I have seen her again since without him being there. She is still ignoring me. I think it’s like two magnets. She clearly wants her own way a lot. Unfortunately so do I. We were always destined to be best friends or detest each other. Quite frankly, the bit I know of her I found really dull. I’m sure she found me equally trite. We will just have to be competitors on the opposite side of the fence that is the friend in the middle and the occasions I sometimes see her in passing.
What a shame. NOT.