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Beating Obesity Into Submission
Why can’t we tackle the obesity problem in this country. We are not the only ones. America, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia are equal or behind the UK in the fight against obesity. Obesity and the illnesses it causes have been well documented on TV and online. Why is the message not coming through. The information is there.
The cultural shift towards fast food has had a profound effect on our eating habits. 30 to 40 years ago, fast food was only available in fish and chip shops. McDonald’s was just starting out in the UK at that time.
‘Apps’ like ‘Hungary House’ make it so easy to order food. One click of the button on your mobile phone, and you’re done. You just have to make an effort to get off the sofa and walk to the front door. Such hard work!
Eating habits are the key to a healthy diet. It starts from the day you are born. The food your parents feed you will set your eating habits for life. If you have a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and meat early on, you will get used to that. On the other hand, if you are exposed to a lot of high sugar sweet foods at a young age, this will become your habit. Sugar, of course, is an added attraction for children. The sugar rush plus the sweet taste is too hard to resist. The food markets know this and go out of their way to attract everyone, especially children. The sweets are always near the checkout, at a height where it is right under the noses of young people.
What can be done?
We are creatures of habit. It is in our nature. It is not easy to change addictive habits like sugar or smoking. Advertisements that focused on the harmful effects of smoking changed people’s attitudes. Large pictures of blood pouring from the end of a cigarette drove home the unhealthy effects.
This type of advertisement involving lots of sugar and salt could be powerful… but it needs to be a sustainable campaign. The campaign against smoking has been going on for over 20 years. The ‘truth’ campaign aimed at eliminating teenage smoking began in the United States in 1999. The teenage smoking rate was 23% back then. In 2016 the number decreased to 6%.
The Government must invest in the campaign against sugar. There is even more pressure on the NHS to deal with patients with food related illnesses.
With a steady increase in population, the next 50 years could be a healthcare nightmare. It can be avoided, but only with the will to do something about it.
Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, cancers, depression and anxiety. People who are severely obese are three times more likely to need social care than those of normal weight. This includes hospital and associated health and social care costs.
The NHS estimated the cost of obesity to be £5.1 billion for 2006/7. The costs account for obesity medication, increased use of bariatric surgery and new equipment to accommodate larger people.
Education is Key
My son is a personal trainer. He runs the classes called ‘Weight Adjustment Classes’. It is interesting what he has to say from his experience delivering these classes.
He says “We like to have different exercises to keep the interest there. One week, it will be pull-ups and press-ups, shoulder exercises and leg exercises. Another week might be kettlebells and TRX in the form of circuit training It’s still based on weight, but you keep the intensity up, and you keep the heart rate high.
He says about diet, “I’m really trying to educate them about the dangers of sugar, and too much ‘carby’ food..a lot of pasta, rice, chocolate sweets, juice drinks. Sugar is the leading cause of obesity. Not to monitor and measure what they eat, but to give them an understanding of what they put in their bodies; whether they change their diet or not, it’s up to them to plant the seed in their mind, give them the knowledge they need, so they have a choice to follow it or not. “
Do you measure their weight loss?
Yeah, we measure weight regularly. Usually, the clients who see improvements are the ones who stick with the program. I have clients who have listened to my advice and have seen great results. At the same time I have given advice to other clients, and it has been more challenging for them to stick to it.
How long does it take to lose weight?
Some clients lose up to 2 pounds per week. Some can even lose 4-5 pounds per week.
A basic target of 2 pounds per week over a period of 3-4 months is a significant loss. About 1¾ stones.
Are you looking at their fat level?
Yes, it is very important to look at the percentage of fat, not only losing body weight. If you weigh 60 kilograms, you have to ask the question, 60 kilograms of what? You can break that down into body fat, muscle mass, bone density, and water retention. We can measure all of that, so you can see all the parts that make up the total weight of the body. So we focus a lot more on body fat, because you could lose muscle mass. That would be unhealthy. That’s why we focus on the weight training to maintain the muscle mass.. that and encourage a high protein intake to maintain muscle mass.
So after say 6 months, surely your clients should be able to go out on their own without your help?
Yes, 6 months down the line, you would have learned so much, tried different exercises, recorded the exercises, so you have to follow them. Over 6 months you would have done these exercises so often, it would be like second nature..So after this time you don’t have to be a child anymore, you know what to do , you can go out on your own , so it’s kind of like a lesson for life.
So you don’t encourage people to starve to lose weight?
“Oh no, starving yourself is a quick fix but it’s very damaging to the body. You have to look at food as fuel. It’s like putting wood on a fire. It’s going to keep your blood fuel burns. The fire burns out. , your metabolism dies. Keep the metabolism high and you burn calories all day long. Look at bodybuilders, they always burning calories, but never hungry, but have almost no body fat”.
Keeping weight down requires commitment, self-management and self-discipline.
With a little help from knowledgeable professionals, it is very possible. It takes automation to achieve weight loss goals. Today there is so much help from places like YouTube and articles online. You never have to feel like yourself with weight loss. It is worth keeping healthy until old age. We are much happier. We have never been as informed about health as we are today. There should be less obesity than 30 years ago, not more!
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