Friday, I’ve Got Lager On My Mind

My blood pressure, weight and cholesterol are all up – but I’m struggling to cut down 

A healthy blood pressure reading
Image: Mohamed Hassan/pixabay

WHAT AM I LIKE? It’s 10 o’clock on Friday morning and already I’m thinking about a beer.
In my defence, it’s because I haven’t had one for – hang on, let me work it out – eighty-five hours.
It’s because I am trying – again – to live a soberer and healthier life. Because, this time, my GP is telling me to.

I went to The Surgery for an Over-50s MOT recently, when they took my blood pressure and cholesterol levels, then weighed me. The news was not great.

My bloods and cholesterol – which, historically, have always been low – have gone right up, and my weight with it.

Some of the weight – honestly! – will be muscle, and I’ve always been big, as in tall.

But now I’m the exact match for the giant in the Johnny Cash song: six foot six, I stand on the ground, and I weigh two hundred and thirty-five pounds.

Which is probably about 20 pounds too much – and as most of the excess is comprised of alcohol and crisps, it also explains my blood pressure and cholesterol problems.  

The Better Half is in a similar position, health-wise, and so we have lately been attempting to get a grip together.

Both of us have managed three alcohol-free days this week, which of course has made us feel better, not least in the mornings.

But it’s also clear that we still have some way to go before we might be considered properly to have reformed our ways.

The other weekend, we went to an idyllic country restaurant to celebrate a friend’s 50th , and gathered in the garden for an aperitif with her family.

Assuming that this would be a bigg-ish night, I’d had four days off the sauce before – and run 10km in the hot sun earlier – so I was anticipating many more beers than the dinky 330ml Italian that I cracked open proceedings with.

But – Porca miseria!* It soon became clear that everyone else there was one of dem sippy, sippy little drinkers – the sort that ignores their drink and talks – and can make a single G&T last an hour.

I knew there was no way they’d be ordering another before dinner, but I didn’t know them all well enough to ask for more – and expose myself as a hopeless lush.

So I did something shameful: I pretended that I was going to the toilet and, abandoning my own, thirsty, wife to her single drink, sneaked into the bar.

There, I mumbled to the surprised Maitre d’ that I needed a personal beer, and that I would take it away from the others in my party.

I paid for it separately and then slunk off to neck it behind a pillar – simultaneously appalled at the state of me and sniggering like a schoolboy that Mummy hadn’t found me out..   

But now that I have woken up and smelt the (decaffeinated, unsugared) coffee, I am trying hard to reform.  

I have even started measuring out the salt I add to food and bought scads of lemon juice to perk up flavour in the NHS-approved manner.

Of course, there will be ups and downs with any new endeavour: last night, I was having beer cravings, so I told myself that I could treat myself to some crisps if I had a Diet Coke with them instead.

That way, I cracked the three nights-sans-booze mission but, sadly, forgot to account for the enthusiastic seasoning of the crisps – which both fucked up my salt target and meant that I woke up with a dry mouth, anyway.

So, I am trying to change, but I don’t think I am going to change all that much.

I’m not going to start having egg-white omelettes and all that preposterousness because, as Cash also said in A Thing Called Love, no-one wants to be a Little Whipped Pup.

There might be fewer crisps and scoops on my future horizon, but I also have to run up my True Colours – and neck a few every now and then.

To quote the boozy, disreputable Oz from the wonderful 80s comedy Auf Wiedersehen Pet, the real me “has to appear every once in a while… or else people might think I’m Cliff Richard.”

*For God’s sake! 

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