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Health is the New Wealth

21/05/2012 23:09 BST | Updated 19/07/2012 10:12 BST

Has anyone else ever experienced the social shifts in how people greet you if you've said hello to a lifestyle change? It's that odd thing that happens when you might have lost weight, (although losing weight implies you might find it again, so let's call it reduced instead) or you get toned or wear a new outfit. Instead of the 'Hi, how are you doing? You look well.' Greetings, become slightly higher pitched 'Hi! OMG have you lost weight?' In my experience this is often accompanied with a rather slow looking up and down so that the person can make sure they are seeing you correctly and its not just a trick of the light.

In my family weight is a big thing for a lot of little women - I say this in a loving way as most of my Celtic connections are under 5' tall. By some miracle, not enabled by angelic interventions, but by having a dad that's 6'2" I somehow made it to 5'4"...gigantic by my family height standards. Add in the lover of high heels that I am and I can romp up a good few inches, sometimes even 5...although this requires careful management and having at least one sensible person to get you off the bar stool and into the cab at the end of the night.

I got married in November last year and lost weight, not intentionally (although I did keep talking about it), it was the adrenalin; nerves and a rather unfortunate car crash that led to this turn of events. My gran - ever the beacon of truth in my life - just couldn't get over it. 'Oh Gail,' She'd sigh longingly 'you've lost SO MUCH weight you look wonderful dear.' 'Oh...erm cheers, gran.'

You hear this once and you think 'Ah that's nice,' but every time I saw her in the lead up to the wedding, she would look at me adoringly, as if I was somehow a better person and then look at herself with what can only be described as the evil eye, tssking as if she was somehow failing in life by also not having lost weight. I found out from my mum, after the question 'do you want some gossip?' that my gran (who by the way is in her 70's) asked her Dr to organise a breast reduction as and I quote 'My granddaughter is getting married and I've got this last seven pounds to shift before the wedding!' My gran always goes on about this last seven pounds; the woman is an elfish bird like creature of porcelain quality and style. She has hands and feet that when outdoors are ensconced in the tiniest of shoes and leather gloves, my grampa could fit his hands around her waist and she is frequently in search of the perfect length winter coat.

It's a competition with the women in my family; some people play sports my lot play the diet game. I kid you not, a great auntie of mine suffered horrific surgical intervention due to mouth cancer, she was on nil by mouth, and then liquids, her recovery took a long time. What did the family say? (Remember the Glasgow accent) 'Huv ye seen how much weight she's lost....?' 'Well, ye know, she's been ill.' 'Oh. Aye, but she's still lost SO MUCH weight'. SO MUCH is a phrase also used often with my lot, it's those words that make you wonder how overweight you were in the first place and how long were they chatting about it for.

I can assure you the opposite is mumbled as well 'She's put on weight.' This is said with a slight nod of the head and pursing of the lips, as if you've let yourself down and it ensures they are all in agreement.

Lifestyle choices are the new topic de jour in this our economic place in the world, Greece may be an ill favoured EU partner and tourist destination, but gyms, spa's and health retreats are well and truly in. Health is the new wealth; we can't talk about money or how well someone might be doing, but we can talk about how far we've run how much we've trained and oh how isn't the world better when one has a honed body. I do actually agree with this, a strong body equals a strong mind and as someone said to me today 'When you're fit it makes changing the bed so much easier.' I can't disagree. And don't think my gran would either.