Two thirds of us are overweight

Written by: Oliver on 17th Oct 2011

thats the story coming from the latest government report on obesity, apparently 60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

Does this come as a surprise to me, not really, being a personal trainer I am aware of these things, it is still shocking to hear the stats though.

The cause of our 'almost obese nation'

The report suggests that although as a nation we are generally aware of what constitutes a healthy diet we aren't all fully aware of how to put this into practice or that there are other barriers that prevent us from eating healthily.

I certainly agree with them on this one, I have spoken to hundreds of clients or gym goers over the years that know that eating too much fat or sugar will mean you gain weight but there are also many people that believe that eating a low-fat ready meal is a healthy dinner, for those of you unaware 99% of ready meals sold in this country today have high levels of salt or sugar and will contain very little nutrients. There is no doubt that cooking meals from fresh yourself is the best way to a healthy diet.

The same argument can be said of our knowledge of required activity levels to maintain a healthy body - if we are honest, most of us know we should be doing more on our feet and less on our bums - putting this into practice isnt always as easy as it sounds though.

One thing that isn't mentioned too heavily, and in my opinion is probably the one that requires the most attention, is the mental issue. There are many people out there that overeat because of a lack of something in their life, whether it's confidence, willpower or plain and simple 'happiness'.

As a personal trainer this is the hardest issue to tackle as it often encompasses so many areas in their life and one that often cant be tackled in a hurry. This issue is best raised with a collection of people - family or loved ones, GPs, personal trainer, counsellor - the more you talk about it the easier it is to understand it. So if this sounds like you go and talk to someone about it. If this sounds like a loved one or a family member go talk to them (but please tread carefully if its not been discussed previously).

Solutions to tackle obesity

To summarise the report, it claims the solutions are to tighten up advertising rules surrounding 'convenience' foods, ensure healthier meals in schools, better education about healthy eating for school children as well as adults and increasing activity levels in school.

These are all very valid solutions, but if like me you have little faith that government will do what's necessary to see they are properly implemented with the support of the appropriate professional bodies then we need to look closer to home to ensure we are all responsible for our own bodies as well as those close to us - what affects one will effect ALL in the long run whether you like it or not.

It is estimated that the costs of this obesity issue will be around £6.5 billion and there are no prizes for guessing who will be paying for this!

My summary

There is no 'one rule suits all', we all need to think about this issue as it will affect us all wether directly or indirectly. Don't let time or money be an obstacle, there are always ways around this.

  • Start an exercise plan with colleagues at work that you can do in your lunch hour or after work
  • Look after the kids while your partner has a moment to get out of the house and do something active
  • Join a gym or swimming pool
  • Join a sports club
  • Talk to a GP or personal trainer for suggestions about activity levels or how to achieve that 'healthy diet'
  • Try to make these changes a regular thing - routine always helps

Im not really expecting you to change your life to help people you dont know but I would hope that you will make an effort to help yourself or those close to you. If we all TALK and ACT then we can help ourselves and our friends and family and in turn help to tackle the bigger problem.

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The real issue

It's so good to know that someone recognises the impact of mental issues on being overweight at last. So many of my close friends have been on every diet going, joined gyms, classes and practically starved themselves to try to reach their target weight. Some have got there but only temporarily because 9 times out of 10 the real cause is more of a personal/mental one and is never dealt with. Great post with great advice.