The latest statistics from an ABC 4 corners investigation expressed a very concerning outlook regarding the health of our nation. Currently, 60% of Australian adults are overweight or obese, that is projected to rise to 80% by 2025.
If you weren’t alarmed before, you probably should be. Our country is in the depths of an obesity and chronic disease epidemic, and don’t let the fact that you are slim fool you, you are still at risk of these chronic lifestyle conditions if you do not look after yourself through diet and exercise.
One thing that is abundantly clear, is that the overconsumption of added sugars and processed carbohydrates has hugely contributed to this problem. The overconsumption of food, in general, does certainly play its role, as well as inactivity, as well as a hole host of other reasons I have spoken about before here.
Weight gain is complex. Weight loss is complex.
If it was just as easy as creating a deficit in our calories in and calories out, like we have been told to do for the last 50 years, everything would be hunky dory, we would all be slim. But, it’s not working.
The message, the information, the weight loss industry, the guidelines, are pushing the calories in V calories out agenda, and it’s just not working. People are getting fatter, and sicker, and our lifestyles are becoming more and more unhealthy with seemingly no policy or strategy from our health providers and government.
When we restrict calories (or energy) into our body, our body fights back. It needs a certain amount of calories/energy to function optimally. The human body has many innate survival mechanisms that protect significant shifts away from its natural ranges, our body (believe it or not) is smarter than us. When our brain detects a calorie/energy deficit, it slows down our metabolism; to conserve energy and it turns up the hunger signals; to get us to take in more food to make up for the energy deficit.
There is only so long that we can fight these signals, it’s not just willpower, it’s our hormones, and we will and do, eventually give in. Anyone who has been on a calorie-controlled diet will agree to this; 3 weeks in (or less) and you are hungry, tired, irritable, lethargic, hating life.
This is why the statistics for conventional weight loss success after 12 months is very low, with almost zero success. And most often, what weight we do lose on a calorie restricted diet, we gain back, due to metabolic slowing. It’s too hard to stick too, so we go back to the way were eating beforehand, and boom, body weight increases again. It is not a long-term solution. Doesn’t fill you with confidence to start a diet hey?
One of the concerning comments made by an upper GI surgeon on the ABC 4 corners program was that “once people enter the obese category of BMI, it’s almost impossible to get themselves out of it.” By 2025, that’s going to be A LOT of people, actually, that’s already A LOT of people. The thing that concerned me the most was the finality of that statement. No hope. No encouragement. No options. No solutions. No emphasis on the fact that YOU CAN absolutely still improve your health, regardless of weight loss. Just that’s it. You’re obese. Doomed to be forever…
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Society doesn’t make anyone who is on a health journey any easier, the temptation (EVERYWHERE), the judgement, the criticism, the comparison, the pursuit for perfection or the focus on an unsustainable lifestyle (cue chronic stress, sleep deprivation, unrealistic working hours etc…)
We need to shift our perspective.
Now I am not suggesting that by eating this way or that way, we will all be a size 8 and metabolically 10 out of 10 by 2025. Not at all. But I am offering hope. A lifeline. An opportunity to achieve health.
When you shift the focus away from stepping on the scales every day, and the counting, and the weighing, and the over-exercising just to burn off what you ate last night – you can start to listen to your body. Truly listen.
Deep down we “know” what we should be eating. Do not confuse yourself with information overload.
Whole foods as close to their natural state, moderate protein, healthy fats. Do not overeat.
But we are not taking action on this, we are making it too hard for ourselves with excuses or stories or “the way it’s always been”, or “we don’t have the time.” We have a responsibility to ourselves to start paying attention to our body and what it is telling us and to treat it accordingly.
Don’t resign yourself to the label of “obese” then speed dial a pizza and large coke. No.
We all need to get fitter, we all need to get stronger, and if you are not making food choices that support your health MOST OF THE TIME – you need to do that.
“oh but I’ve tried everything”
I am sure you have, i am not doubting your effort – but have you tried to focus on implementing long-term health strategies as opposed to “all the weight loss right now; and if i don’t see it in 2 weeks, screw it, i need to try something else.”
Shift the focus away from ONLY weight loss and short term instant results, to a lifelong journey of health. Because it is for life. If you want health, to be healthier, to feel more energetic, confident, then you need to make the change, for life.
There is no excuse for not looking after yourself. No justification for not paying attention to your body. YOU CAN still improve your health and your wellbeing, regardless of weight loss.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me below or email firstname.lastname@example.org