The way we live has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Technology has transformed every aspect of our lives, and that includes the way we produce, sell and consume food.
Our busy lifestyles demand that food is available 24 hours a day. We enjoy supersize portions, cheap fatty meals, and supposedly healthy snacks that may be low in fat but are actually full of sugar.
And although we’re aware that, as a nation, we’re getting fatter, we’re also in denial about what’s normal and what counts as obese.
What is a normal size?
Because everyone is different, what constitutes a healthy weight for one person could be considered obese for another.
As a result there has been an increase in obesity related diseases which is a tragedy for the individual and an increasingly unsupportable situation for our health services.
Whilst it’s a positive move to change negative or hurtful attitudes towards those with larger body types, we must be wary of failing to recognise the health risks associated with being overweight.
What’s your perception of your weight?
A study by the University of East Anglia analysed data from 23,460 overweight or obese people. Their results showed that the number of overweight people misperceiving their weight has grown over time.
These figures show the increase in 2015 against those recorded in 1997:
- 9% of overweight men misperceived their weight compared to 48.4%
- 6% of overweight women misperceived their weight compared to 24.5%
Similarly, the proportion of obese men misperceiving their weight almost doubled in 2015 against 1997:
- 12% of obese men misperceived their weight compared to 6.6%
The problem is, as this study found, those who underestimate their weight are 85% less likely to try to lose that weight – compared with those who correctly determine the status of their size.
And, alarmingly, a 2017 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has shown that 63% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.
Is tough love required?
So are we shying away from having those hard conversations with our loved ones or with ourselves?
Is political correctness stopping us from speaking about weight?
The fact is, Britain is the most obese nation in Western Europe according to the OECD, with a rate that’s increasing faster than any other developed nation. It’s now time to try to reverse these statistics.
How to lose weight
Simple adjustments to your diet such as reducing your consumption of takeaways, fizzy drinks, and processed foods from the supermarket can make a massive difference. Try to switch to healthy breakfasts and nutritional snacks in the morning rather than sugar-laden cereals and chocolate bars.
Finding the incentive to stick to a diet can be tough. But perhaps the biggest motivator is self-awareness. An accurate perception of your weight could give you the push you need to start making healthy lifestyle changes.
As the weight loss journey is so challenging why not join with a friend or partner so that you can encourage each other along the way. Joining a slimming club is another way to be supported and stay motivated.
How does your waistline measure up?
Waistchecker is a simple, colour-coded tape measure designed to help you keep track of your weight loss – letting you see your progress at a glance.
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