Nearly two-thirds of men and women in the UK are obese or overweight, according to new analysis of overweight and obesity data conducted by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
The study which looks at data from 1980 to 2013 claims that more people in the UK are either obese or overweight than at any other time in the past three decades. The UK, it says, has the third-highest rate of excess weight in Western Europe.
Researchers found that overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is also a growing problem in the UK. The study found 26% of boys and 29% of girls were overweight or obese, compared to 17.5% and 21% in 1980.
It starts in the home; If adults don’t change their eating habits and lifestyle then future generations will be overweight and obese. However much children learn about nutrition at school won’t be helpful for them if their parents don’t provide healthy food at home. Change has to start at home with daily habits which become embedded for life in children and thus future generations.
When I meet clients for the first time there are several key questions I will ask to help them identify what is perpetuating the weight gain. Here are some key questions you can ask yourself :-
If you were once slim
When did it change?
What was going on in your life at that time that contributed to your weight gain?
Did you turn to food for comfort in order to cope with emotional issues?
Did you for any reason stop eating regularly?
Did you eat “on the go” grab anything that was easy and available ie chocolate, crisps, take away
If you were overweight as a child
How did you feel about yourself?
Were you teased?
How did your family view your weight?
What did you do to make yourself feel better?
How often do you eat?
If we skip meals it slows down our metabolism; This is because the body is always working for our survival. If we make a habit of going several hours without food our body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming and will actually store fat for our survival.
Do you plan your meals?
When you begin your day do you know what you are going to eat for the rest of the day?
Do you take lunch and healthy snacks to eat throughout the day?
When you arrive home do you “see what is there” or do you decide first thing in the morning?
If we don’t think about re-fuelling our body regularly throughout the day then when we are really hungry we will grab anything that is quick and available; Often not healthy! If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Do you eat fast/moderate/slow?
It takes about 20 minutes for our body to communicate with our brain that it is satiated. Fast eaters do not give their body time to do this and they tend to over-eat. If you feel uncomfortably full about 20 after eating it is because you are eating too fast. Try slowing down, take small bites of food, chew slowly, and put cutlery down between each mouthful.
Where do you eat?
Do you eat in front of the TV/whilst reading/working on the computer/driving? Eating is a sensual experience; If we take the time to see our food, noting the different colours, smell it, taste it as we chew slowly, feeling the different textures, we gain far more satisfaction from our food and can be satisfied with less.
How healthy is your diet?
How often do you have take-aways (because you didn’t plan?)
How much sugar do you consume every day? – sweets, sugary drinks, alcohol
How much high fat and processed foods do you eat?
As you answer these questions you may understand the source of your current habits. Perhaps turning to food for comfort or making other tasks/people more of a priority than looking after yourself.
What is the first thing I can do today to facilitate change?
It might be something as simple as having 1 small sugary drink per day instead of 1 litre, eating regularly, taking lunch to work (even if that means asking for help if you don’t have time to prepare it).
It is important to identify what is causing the problem (we cannot change what we don’t acknowledge) and working on changing one bad habit at a time. As we do this we can begin to experience success, which motivates us to do the work towards our goal.
In my next article I discuss further steps to facilitate change.
Read Alyssa Shaffer’s article on how to lose weight with just one easy tweak to your routine per week.
Read how hypnosis and NLP can help you to lose weight here