Looking at the latest health & fitness news from around the world this week, the first thing that caught my eye was the headline “how do you tell someone they’re fat”? as this links in to my last blog “are you a big FAT liar?” about how we actually lie to ourselves about our weight/health issues. So how do you tell someone this and should you do it?. Some of the comments after the article were also interesting, ranging from “it’s just totally rude” to “why wouldn’t you”.
With almost 2/3 of the Australian public overweight or obese, you would know someone in this situation. Medical experts confirming that people may not see it (or want to) in themselves, will see it in others, but face the dilemma of the “F” word. Assoc. Prof of Women’s health at the University of Sydney says that sometimes being blunt or at least straightforward is necessary. But of course it would depend on the person you were talking to and how well you know them. If it is a family member or very close friend, you may want to choose your words carefully, there is no need to offend, but stress that you are concerned about their health now and in the future. I think if you are good friends with someone you should be able to talk openly about such things – surely trying to help someone is more important than the risk of them being offended, it may just be the kickstart they need. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again later….don’t forget the co-morbidities of obesity are very serious and should be addressed. And we’re not talking random people in the street, but good friends here!
The next piece I noticed was “Is gym the new rehab”? – Yes, of course we know exercise is great to lose weight, tone up, & strengthen bones..
But might it also help prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol? The US government is now seriously looking into new research to prove just this.
This talk started with research that youngsters who exercised regularly were half as likely to smoke as ones who were sedentary, but also more than 40% less likely to smoke marijuana. We know that exercise ignites the feel good hormones in the body (endorphins), but hopefully we can know for sure that it may be ONE of the treatments for addiction, results so far on animals have been encouraging, but more needs to be done to be conclusive. But whatever they find, I know from personal experience, after going through a particularly difficult time a few years ago, the only thing that kept me sane and going, was the gym and continued exercise, even though I didn’t want to, I MADE myself go every week – it does pay off.
Next up we have “Sugar should be taxed like tobacco or Alcohol” say experts. I believe this has real merit. Fact: Sugar is TOXIC, it is bad for us and can ultimately kill you. We have a huge worldwide Obesity epidemic (focused in the west) where sugar consumption is rampant, especially with kids who can get ‘addicted’ very early on in life. So a panel of leading public health experts are saying it should be controlled in the same way as alcohol & tobacco. Looking at the figures, sweetened food is responsible for 35 million deaths per year worldwide due to lifestyle related conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. They are proposing adding taxes to processed foods containing added sugar like carbonated drinks, juices, chocolate milk, sugared cereals (which have also been under attack again this week, due to their sugar contents and how they target kids). Other ideas are imposing age limits for buying sugary drinks, & more control on vending machines in schools/workplaces. Whilst I agree with the comments about sugar – the public just aren’t educated enough about the dangers of sugar and there would have to be a huge shift in opinion to get near any of these measures – I think people just like sweet things too much and, despite the dangers are prepared to ignore them. I think governments should put more money into putting the correct info over to the public to begin a change in opinion.
The next title to get my attention was “Fitness the Easy Way” – purporting the benefits of incidental exercise. I have mentioned this before and truly believe it IS the way you can control your weight either by preventing it from creeping up or by keeping it off once you have lost it. During my time in London, I either ride my boris bike or walk (quickly) everywhere. I take stairs wherever I can and always walk up or down the escalators – I can’t believe the number of people who just stand there, wasting this great opportunity to maintain fitness and health. But it’s not just these classic incidents, but many people have sedentary jobs so its important to move around the office as much as you can, get away from the desk and go & physically ask someone a question rather than email or ichat, don’t spend your lunch hour sitting at your desk get out and walk or run. At home don’t just veg all the time in front of the TV, lose the remote, clean – just because you may go to the gym 3 times a week, this is only 3 hours (out of 168!) – better than nothing but not that great either – though it may not seem like much, incidental exercise, over time can make a significant difference to your health AND your waistline!
And Finally, the French have done it again, with the headlne “France to ban thinness” – here a bill about to go before the French senate is to make it illegal for anyone, including fashion magazines and websites to encourage women to be ultra-thin. If passed this would be the strongest of its kind in the world. medical experts have been behind the new rule, but of course the French couture are not happy with this sort of restraint. I personally don’t think we need to see models with their ribs sticking out and it certainly I believe contributes to many girls issues with their weight, but its implementation may not be that easy.
Well that’s how I ‘C’ it for now, next blog – all the way from Los Angeles, en route back to Sunny Sydney (I hope) from London.