There was a Monday afternoon not so long ago where I found myself stood in a nude t-shirt bra, backless hospital vest and high waisted skinny jeans being told to ‘bend over’ and pull my jeans down so that I had the ‘builder’s look’ going on.
Dreamy, I know.
This all sounds a *bit* sexy and weird, but it was in fact just a tiny teaser of what I got up to during my two-hour full body health check-up with Nuffield Health.
Now, just like any fun youth, I used to believe I was invincible. I used to believe that the bad stuff wouldn’t happen to me – quite naively because I always grew up thinking that I’d already had enough bad things thrown my way and surely fate and destiny wasn’t that much of a little see you next Tuesday that she’d interfere with my health too. And I mean so far, aside from some mild asthma, a string of cystitis flare ups and some pretty wild adrenaline headaches, my health’s been pretty good to me.
And, well, maybe it’s the MailOnline constantly throwing harrowing stories about 23-year-olds dying of cervical cancer at me, or maybe it’s just part of growing up, but in the last few years I’ve become a teeny tiny bit terrified. I’m totally paranoid about my health and all the undiscovered tumours I’m about 72856487% sure are just littered in my organs and veins and lymph nodes. It’s getting to the point where it sometimes keeps me up at night and I have to douse everything in sleep spray and omg ok relax babes.
So, yup. I have officially become my grandmother.
The grandmother who, before she lost her darling memory to dementia, used to answer with: ‘Hanulla, I think I am dying’ whenever I asked how she was.
She is in fact, despite her claims, still alive.
In fact just last year a doctor at the hospital she’d been admitted to told me he suspected she WAS dying, from cancer.
She had a UTI.
She is fine.
Doctor’s don’t know everything, and now I’m going to move this story swiftly back to my health checky up thingy.
So yeah, when Nuffield asked if I wanted to review a 360 Health Assessment at one of their London gyms or nationwide hospitals I literally had a breakdown and text Chris and was like OMG BEST BLOG OPPORTUNITY I’VE EVER HAD WELL EXCITED OMG OMG OMG.
Talking about myself for two hours and learning about myself for two hours? OH sweet angels, could a Monday afternoon get much better?
Anyway I had a ridiculously in-depth questionnaire to fill in online about everything from my lifestyle and eating habits to family medical problems and daily tea intake before I went so that the physicians I saw knew legit everything they could possibly know about me before I sauntered into their rooms flashing my nude t-shirt bra at whoever would look.
So after a five hour fast (otherwise knwon as sheer hell on earth), I started off my apppointment with a physiologist who got me to do a cheeky wee sample, gave me an ECG, tested my lung function, took my blood pressure and took my blood, and well, got me to bend over with my lower vertebrae exposed so he could measure my spinal health.
I acted like a giggly schoolgirl the entire time because LOL my BMI is too high and LOL so is my waist circumference and LOL I’m in my bra and isn’t this all hilarious and awkward and embarrassing.
Grown-up and that.
After an hour of tests I was taken into another room to go through the results with a doctor who also gave me my first EVER breast exam (I feel like a real proper adult lady now) and taught me how to look for lumps. She also checked my reflexes and offered me a smear test, but as I’d only had my first one 12 months prior, we agreed that there wouldn’t be much point. And well, I didn’t fancy anyone touching my darling tilted uterus.
So, to the results.
In sterling news, my body is actually ticking along very nicely for a 26-year-old ‘obese’ girl. Ha. My heart and lungs are in great form and my risk of having a heart attack or stroke currently stand at 0.1%. My body copes impressively well under stress ‘your results look almost exactly like a textbook on how they should be’, WELL DONE HANNAH GALE, and my liver and kidney function is spot on.
My cholesterol is low, my blood pressure is on the lower end of normal, my glucose levels are fine and I don’t seem to be close to developing diabetes or anemia.
It’s all coming up Millhouse, baby.
I do however have a curvy spine. Thanks, desk. And I drink too much red wine (who knew a bottle and a half was like double a woman’s weekly allowance?). And I am seriously dehydrated.
Like, as in, my body is at 42% hydration and it should be at 100. That’ll probably go some way in explaining why my skin is breaking out like a plague of small pox and making me feel about as pretty as a cockroach.
I also had traces of blood and protein in my urine, which the doctor guessed was a sneaky bit of womb lining still lingering in my pee a week after my period. Cute. Real cute.
And then yeah, there was my weight. My darling sweet graceful weight and BMI which has been classing me as overweight since I was 16 and weighed 9 stone. The joys of being a short little piece of ass, eh?
Whilst my BMI took me into the red DANGER DANGER zone, my body fat and waist circumference took me into the amber BE WARY zone. Which, paired with my wonderfully functioning organs and healthy blood test scores helped made me realise that YES absolutely I could do with losing a stone and upping my exercise, but no, my natural shape and weight is never going to be as low as I’d like it to be.
I could easily drop down into the green YOU GO SISTER range for body fat and waist circumference but my BMI will always, even when the rest of me is healthy, say horrible things about me behind my back.
And so, I came away with some suggestions on changing my life for the better, so that next time I come for an assessment I could come out and paste a string of nail painting flick emojis to Twitter because girl aced it.
Eat more vegetables, go to Pilates once a week (because it’ll help sort out my old man spine and help me sleep better and be good exercise) and swap red meat for oily fish once a week.
These are all the sorts of things you hear recommended all the time, but for some reason, having this advice directed to me after a couple of hours of two people learning everything there is to know about my body made me take it in more.
So much in fact that Chris and I probably have as many meat-free days now as we do meat ones. We’ve stopped buying red meat altogether now. There’s no more chorizo in my fridge. I legit never though this day would come, I’m a bit confused with myself.
WE MADE FISH TACOS LAST NIGHT.
AND I HAD SWEET POTATO FAJITAS AT THE WEEKEND.
We buy a lot of fish, we theme dinners around the vegetables in our fridge and we just seem more nutritionally aware. I like it.
Naturally I’m still being a raging hypochondriac. I spent a good 12 minutes weeping at my desk the other dy because I started spotting and came to the conclusion I have polycystic ovaries and therefore am probs infertile and OMG WHEN I WANT TO HAVE A BABY WHO WILL BE MY SURROGATE? (I have a GP appointment next week because FIVE TO TEN PER CENT OF WOMEN SUFFER FROM THIS SO MAYBE I AM ONE OF THEM).
But I feel so much more in charge of my health and my well-being.
I feel proud of my body for ticking along and being aces, even after all the years of getting wankered off my face and drowning my sorrows in McDonald’s, and I wanted to give myself a mighty fine pat on the back to my body for being such a good ol’ chap when it came to dealing with stress.
I like that the staff encourage you to change one thing in your life at a time, or to make small changes, rather than attempt a lifestyle overhaul.
Maybe once that one Pilates class a week has become part of my routine, I’ll add in a run a week too.
Maybe once that oily fish has become part of my routine, I’ll look at cutting down on refined sugars or lowering how many glasses of red I neck on a Saturday to take the edge off a long week.
We can’t change EVERYTHING overnight and expect ourselves to stick to a new lifestyle and routine, it’s just not realistic. It’s drastic and like well proper silly.
Pick two things to change tomorrow and then once they become second nature, build on them and keep improving your lifestyle little bit by little bit rather than going mental and being like EVERYONE CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND DRINK JUICE FOREVER WITH ME.
(My doctor actually told me to completely stay away from juices and smoothies – even ones I make at home, so HA).
Oh and FYI, Nuffield health assessments start from £249 and feel a *bit* like a counselling session and all your GP sessions you’ve ever had in your life combined with Christmas. So err yeah, know what I’m saving up for this time next year…
To book a Health Assessment through Nuffield Health and claim a 15% discount off the total cost, quote Health Check 15 and call 0333 220 4493 or visit the Nuffield Health website