Day 5+n: Aftermath (Or, After All That Math)

29 Apr

To open with The Most Relevant Movie Quote Of The Day (spoiler alert):






To digress further: new Kevin Bacons EE ad in the cinema today! Nothing on YouTube yet, will upload when I find it.

(You say Kevin Bacon is getting old? When does Kevin Bacon ever get old? Ha, geddit, geddit?!… like, us getting tired of him vs him getting biologically old…. hmm… anyone else here following The Following?)

Now that I am well and truly living back above the line – and in electrolyte equilibrium, thank you Harriet for the elegant turn of phrase – I have a couple more random thoughts on the post-LBTL experience if anyone cares to check back.

Was going to post more before, but you know, Life gets in the way and such.

No matter. Think of it as a Post Credits Scene if you like. Like Thor’s hammer at the end of Iron Man 2. Like Tony Stark promising to return at the end of IM3. Yaaar.


* * *

[another backdated entry, written last Saturday PM]


It is now 4pm on Day 5+1.

After my week of perpetual hunger, I had a whole spread of food ready in the fridge to break fast with.

However the old stomach has genuinely shrunk during this time.

16 hours on. Still haven’t finished what one was supposed to have wolfed down by 12.05am.

This is probably a good thing in terms of appreciation for the wonder that is food.

However this also means the pipe dream of competing on Man v Food Nation has now well and truly bitten the dust. Oh well.


Cycle of the day so far:

Eat – sleep – wake up to eat some more – try to blog but end up sleeping some more – wake up to eat some more

(rinse & repeat ad infinitum)


So lethargic.

That said, my waking/eating hours today have been swamped by glorious synaesthesia. Every bite has been a truly exhilarating explosion of vivid Technicolor. Really, truly. This is the sort of experience that inspires spontaneous but profound gushing statements like, “I will never take food for granted again”.


I will never take food for granted again.


* * *

Speaking of shrinking body parts (ahem, what are you thinking? Wash your brain out please) – lots of people have asked if I weighed myself before and after LBTL.

‘Course I did.


Weight on Sunday night: 54kg

Weight just before midnight on Friday: 51kg


Hellooo clavicles. Haven’t seen you for 10 years!

MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: As much as I welcome and encourage everyone to try Living Below The Line, in no way can anyone possibly endorse this as a Diet Plan. Yes it is low calorie, but you WILL feel physically awful throughout. You WILL be constantly mentally unhinged from the lack of brain food and all the microcalculations required. Plus to use LBTL to lose weight is completely missing the point, the point being to raise awareness around poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and to support people who would love the luxury of putting on weight but can’t.


¿Comprende? Muy bien.

Now that is out of the way, here’s a slightly tangential parting vignette.

Sometimes I think we can all be guilty of promoting unhealthy attitudes towards food, consciously or otherwise.


Some months back my GP told me off for putting on weight.

Le sigh.

First of all let me say that my GP is excellent.

Example: Guan asked her for a referral to our local hospital for a tonsillectomy. For tonsil stones. (What are tonsil stones? Watch a video here. Warning: not work safe.)

In spite of the usual NHS hiccups the surgery physically went well. His psychological scars live on in his blog – this particular entry seems to provide great comfort to similarly afflicted folk around the world, so much so that two years on he still gets hits from Search Engine terms such as

  • ‘tonsillectomy day 5’
  • ‘pain after tonsillectomy’
  • ‘day 7 of tonsillectomy recovery what day do scabs fall off’
  • ‘so much saliva after tonsillectomy’
  • ‘tonsillectomy scabs smell’





Anyway on discharge he got a one-word discharge summary:


I know my discharge summaries are long, but come on. The HCA (healthcare assistant) can do better. The least you could add is ‘No immediate complications’.

A week of diclofenac, DF118 and Difflam mouthwash later, he gets a phone call.

It is our GP. Her copy of the summary has come through the post that morning.

She read it, then called him to check he was doing OK post-op! “As per [her] usual protocol”!

Wonderful. Hats off. Good GP.

However. She told me off for putting on weight.


I have fluctuated between the resolute limits of 52 and 56kg since the age of 17. No more, no less. That is 100% guaranteed to change in the next decade with middle age spread and all that jazz, but so what? I’m not and never will be a size zero, and my weight will not bother me until my BMI is out of range.

So during this GP visit I was at the upper end of my normal (BMI 21.3). I had other things to worry about (still do). Nonetheless:


GP: As part of your routine check-up, just step onto the scales for me.

Me: OK.

GP: Now how much is that… 56? Fifty-six? FIFTY-SIX?!

Me: [Cold sweat. What crime have I committed now?]

GP: Let’s see how much you were before. 52 – that’s 4kg more…


Pause for effect.



Me: [very small voice] ….I’m wearing jeans?

GP: Yes I suppose some of it could be clothing. But still! WHAT HAPPENED?!


I forget what transpires immediately afterward, as my traumatised brain stops to scrape the rest of my 56 shameful kilograms off the carpeted floor.

Next thing I remember is that I am frantically deploying Conflict Resolution Techniques from my rusty Interprofessional Communication Skills arsenal (some background for the layman: trainee doctors have to be formally taught in medical school How To Talk To Staff From Other Disciplines) – ‘Blocking’, that’s a good one, here we go:


Me: So what is your secret? You look fabulous for your age!


By God I can be such a lame duck sometimes.


GP: Well! I don’t ever eat ice cream and I try to eat healthily…


Long-ish sermon on avoiding ice cream follows. I don’t even like ice cream, french fries are my weakness.

My dream party, once upon a pre-LBTL time.

SOUTH KOREAN POTATO PARTY. My dream party, once upon a pre-LBTL time. This party got Seoul! Woo! 

No matter. I let it slip. There has to be a useful message somewhere in here.


GP: I pack my own lunches because it’s very difficult to get things I like around the Asian supermarkets around here – they are great for spices and things but I can’t eat curries every day yada yada yada…


So that is how a horrified me gave up my intended post-GP visit pitstop for a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin on the way back, and ended up trekking another 15 minutes in the other direction, as it started drizzling (then raining horizontally, then pouring) to the supermarket to pick up a not very tasty ‘Love Life’ chicken salad.

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