Back in the office, the breaking news that my veins apparently resemble "Cheesy Strings" has caused a mild amount of hilarity given that I am the one who everyone agrees "eats healthy" in that I don't have lasagne and chips for lunch in the hospital canteen but take my own box of rabbit food instead. They are incredulous that I should have a problem with what I eat since mostly I am on a low calorie diet with plenty of fruit and veg and my lunchbox usually resembles the salad bar at Sainsbury's, minus the mayo. It's not unusual for one of my workmates to peer into the Tupperware and comment "Hmm, that looks healthy" before happily tucking into a cheese and pickle baguette and bag of crisps, leaving me to wade through the grass clippings which are my lunch.
It's not easy being in an office full of women who celebrate anything and everything with cake, biscuits or chocolate. There is no excuse too trivial to prevent a break-out of buns. You come back from holiday, you bring in chewy foreign sweets in lurid colours. It's your birthday so you buy cream cakes. You go into town to buy a pair of tights and bring back a huge slab of chocolate on special offer from Woolies, or a bag of Thorntons. You drink diet Coke so that you can, with a clear conscience, have a Mars bar just because it's Friday. That kind of thing.
It's all a cholesterolaemic's nightmare. Temptation is everywhere I turn. No other person in the office knows what their cholesterol is or has any intention of finding out. Taking a survey of what healthy eating issues actually worry my colleagues, the main areas of concern appear to be whether or not any particular food induces a) heartburn, b) flatulence or c) halitosis. The fat content of anything does not appear to be a question regularly asked, although the calorie content does in fact remain a very important one. To a woman, we all know exactly how many calories there are in a small Kit-Kat (107) or a bag of Maltesers (183) and some of us even know how many there are in just the one (10). But who can stop at a single Malteser? No one I know.
But cholesterol? Who knows? Who cares? As long as it doesn't make you fat, why worry? Refusing a piece of chocolate cake today, and having to admit to my new low fat regime, I explained that I had been told by the GP not to eat cake or chocolate any more "except at Christmas or on birthdays."
"But whose birthday did he mean?" my workmate asked, pushing the plate torwards me, "Just yours or everybody's?"
I am doomed.