Are we really the fattest nation in the world?

Written by Bridget on . Posted in Food and Health Education

Many of us would have read the headlines recently that apparently, according to a new report titled “Australia’s Future Fat Bomb”, we now win the race for the most overweight nation, with more than 9 million Australian’s reported to be overweight or obese.

Authorities are panicking and having a field day as the implications for our health are almost tragic. According to this report, there will be an extra 700,000 heart-related hospital admissions in the next 20 years due to obesity alone. Almost 125,000 people will die as a result, many prematurely.
Simon Stewart, head of preventive cardiology at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, said “I would regard this as now the biggest threat to our future health”.

The report calls for a national weight loss strategy on the scale of smoking and skin cancer campaigns, including subsidising gym memberships and personal training sessions for heavier people. It is also being considered that wait lists for surgery be prioritised on the basis of weight loss. “These are some of the controversial things we need to deal with because the healthcare system is going to be overwhelmed by weight-related hospitalisations from knee replacements through to heart attacks and strokes.” Professor Stewart said.

I must say I was not really surprised at the headlines, or their said implications, albeit a little sad. Having being overweight myself as a child, I do know the impact on quality of life, self-esteem and daily energy levels, excess weight has on us. I see every day the incredible changes that occur in a person’s character, daily life and overall enjoyment of life once they start to shed some kilo’s. I also know how a person’s quality of life in the future is greatly affected by how they choose to look after themselves now.

I often compare our health to superannuation. At 20 years of age, you think little about your Super, but you cannot leave it until 2 weeks out of retirement to think, “I better do something about that”. It’s all the small contributions you do, or do not make, that determine the situation once you retire. This is the same as your health. All the SMALL things you do or do not do have a compounding and profound impact at the end of the day.

This is actually good news as it reinforces that strict diet plans and MASSIVE lifestyle changes are not required to achieve a good result. It is simply small, daily choices that make the BIG difference. Fruit in place of a packet of chips or chocolate bar; water in place of soft-drink; a REGULAR size skim cappuccino instead of the TALL full cream, caramel flavoured with 3 sugars…etc! 🙂

You get the idea…..

Another important area to consider however in the weight loss game is our MOTIVATION….many of my clients know that I HATE to focus on weight loss as a goal, even though that is why they may come to see me, and all they care about. Focusing on losing weight so intensely always brings disappointing and frustrating results. People can only maintain so much focus, energy and attention to one area of their life for so long, before other things take over. That is life! Many of us are mum’s, dad’s, employee’s, business owner’s, entrepreneurs, etc! How can we possibly focus 100% attention on losing weight?!

In order to achieve ANY goal in our life, we must focus. That is how we get results. But may I explain the difference in our driving motivations and how these may change the results we see?
Think of Oprah Winfrey… we have all seen her “yo-yo” countless times- from being very overweight, to more sleek and slim. How and why does this “up and down” happen so often? When Oprah was asked one day how she had managed to lose all of her weight she responded something along the lines of being tired of being a “fat cow”…those words almost hurt to type! These words however reveal the reason she “yo-yo’s”.

Her motivation is an AWAY one. She is motivated by moving away from being a “fat cow”. Thus, once she is no longer feeling so much like a “fat cow”, where does her motivation go?? It disappears!!
So she most likely goes back to what she was doing, and gradually she starts to gain weight again….WHAMMO! She now has her motivation back! Once she hits the point where she feels like a “fat___ ” she is spurred into action again!

What I am trying to demonstrate here is that an AWAY from motivation is only temporary! Consider the alternative- a TOWARDS motivation. If Oprah was to be motivated by the idea that she could be her fittest, healthiest and youngest ever as she got older (remember my article last month?!), then she can always move TOWARDS that goal. Why would you ever want to move away from being fit, healthy, young?! I hope this makes sense.

In one of my early newsletters I talked about FOCUS- what we focus on is what we get. SO if we think “I am fat, tired, lazy” we get more of that, and conversely, if we think “I am fit, active, healthy”, we automatically attract the behaviours and circumstances that enable that to become our reality. If this sounds “airy-fairy” to any of you, I understand that, HOWEVER, I can tell you, without a doubt, that every day in my practice, it is the clients who back themselves, who encourage themselves, who believe they CAN do it, who achieve the results! Those who live in “I am fat, lazy, tired” stay there…

Food for thought 😉

OK! So that is all this month on this topic.. If you are concerned about being overweight and the headlines this week made you think more about it, all I want you to think about is “Where’s my head at?”

Without a doubt, that is where your body will be following….

AND lastly a few practical tips for being your fittest, healthiest and youngest ever (especially through these COLD winter month’s):

  • Stay active! Do not hibernate in winter- get out there and MOVE! It is the greatest warm up option there is! Turn off the heaters, save our precious environmental resources and create your own body heat! A brisk 20 minute walk will warm you up in no time, as will a 10 minute power workout of push-ups, dips, crunches, jump-squats, etc! Don’t kid yourself- we ALL need to be active- 30 minutes is the MINIMUM!
  • What are you drinking? Have you “up’d” your intake of warm, high-calorie drinks?? Can you revise these options? As per the above example, a skim regular latte, instead of the GIANT caramel-loaded full cream option? AND- even though it’s cold your need for WATER is still the same! If you are not reaching 2-3L everyday you are sure to suffer the effects of dehydration- “foggy headedness”, lethargy, low energy, increased appetite, etc. SO drink up!
  • What is on your dinner plate? In summer we easily opt for “fish/meat/chicken and salad”. In winter, this may become a “hearty casserole with rice and bread”. It is not the rice or bread that is the issue at all, but the energy-density of these two options is VERY different! Ensure 50% of your dinner is always salad &/or veggies! This is “auto calorie-dilution” 🙂

Ok! Let me know how you are going! If I can help you out AT ALL with any concerns you may have around your weight or health, or that of your family’s, please do not hesitate to contact me 🙂 I love hearing from you all.

AND, PS- the headlines WERE a little over the top and not a completely accurate reflection of our current state of health- yes we are VERY overweight and yes amongst the worst third of developed nations for obesity, however the Australian Institute for Health and Wellness (AIHW) says that current stats cannot confirm we are THE WORST…although they do say it is NOT a good picture. See http://www.aihw.gov.au/mediacentre/2008/mr20080624b.cfm for more info 🙂

Consider some of the above tips this winter and let me know how you go. Would LOVE to hear your feedback!

Email me at [email protected] or send me a message on my Facebook page 🙂

See you next month, Fitter, Healthier, Younger!

Cheers!

BridgetJane

www.newleafnutrition.com.au

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