There is so much in the news on the growing problem of obesity and an unfit population in many parts of the world, and everyone has an opinion on what to do about it. Sugar taxes, a ban on junk food, get more exercise, eat Paleo or gluten free, eat five serves of fruit and vegetables a day, and on and on it goes.
For me, it's a simple problem: too much fuel in and not enough fuel out.
There are a few (and it is only a few) that can say 'it's my genetics', and others whose medication may cause them to gain weight, but I'm talking about the masses. We don't use as much fuel as we used to because we are too busy using 'labour-saving' tools, as well as having the temptation of what used to be called 'treats' around us continually. A burger as a treat at the weekend is now the norm for many, and add that to the labour-saving device of a drive-through, where you don't even need to get your backside out of the car to buy the burger in the first place: there is little wonder many of us are unfit or overweight!
We live in a world where treats aren't really treats anymore, and at the same time we need less fuel to do many tasks. Developers look for ways to limit mouse clicks, for heaven's sake, never mind us grinding our own wheat to make flour into bread or washing clothes down by the river like the old days. It's modern-day labour-saving I'm talking about, those subtle things that are now commonplace. Even Starbucks have drive-throughs so your morning walk to get your double shot latte with extra whip and syrup has also disappeared...
With that in mind, I have put together a short list to encourage you to say no to some of the unhealthy habits and labour-saving devices we have become accustomed to:
- Don't upsize your meal: the regular size will do just fine, you won't go hungry.
- Park the car and walk, don't use the drive-through.
- Take the stairs not the lift. If you work 20 floors up, get off at 18 and walk the last flights.
- Stand to work at your desk, even for short periods.
- Go outside for at least 15 minutes of your lunch break: the change of air will do you good, as will the vitamin D.
- Carry a basket in the supermarket, don't push a trolley for a few items.
- If you have space, peg your laundry out and forget the tumble dryer.
- Wash your dishes by hand and forget the dishwasher.
- Shake your protein shake: you managed without a blender before.
- Make takeaways a treat again, say no on weeknights.
- Share a muffin with a friend instead of eating a whole one yourself.
- Eat and drink the lite options, they probably taste just as good.
- Limit yourself to two biscuits, don't eat the whole packet.
- Don't park nearest the door, walk the few extra steps.
- Drink tea not milky coffee.
- Grow your own veg and eat what is ready.
- Walk or cycle to work on a nice day.
It may not be practical to do some of these suggestions, so be realistic: do the ones you can. Make some changes and keep moving instead of sitting and you will feel the difference over time. For most people, no matter how slowly you do it, you can take the stairs - you just have to choose to.