Check out the latest from Always In Your Corner about fitness, nutrition and training for seniors.
Apparently obesity is on the rise. The government are very alarmed about this as it will cost the NHS lots of money.
Over the past few years it’s been a top priority to get obesity rates down as it not only is a huge cost involved in medical care but it is also shortening our life expectancy.
The fact is some children who will be born in 2024 will become obese already as toddlers and growing up with metabolic issues and by the time they reach 25 years old might be close to the end of their life as they will be suffering from diabets and other really serious health conditions that go hand in hand with obesity.
It is estimated that over half of the population is overweight or even obese.
What is going on?
I was born in 1965 and I don’t recall seeing many xxxl people in my childhood and even in my adolescence.
This observation is actually correct as things started to change in the eighties. That is when obesity started to be common and since then it has accelerated.
So why did this happen?
Weight will be gained if you consume more than you use.
So did people stop exercising in the eighties?
So back in the eighties gyms were’t really a thing. They were there and we had a few Arnold wannabes attending but it was nowhere near as popular as gyms are now.
I work as a personal trainer. Back in the eighties this profession wasn’t even invented.Personal training only started around year 2000.
So were people doing more sports?
Hard to say really but if you look around you, I live in Loughton and we have about 7-8 gyms in our local area. Two new ones have just opened in the last few weeks. We got 3-4 athletic club locally, there is five a side football. The newest gym that opened in Debden has even got a basketball court. We have the park run in Roding fields every Saturday.
I really don’t believe physical activity has declined since the eighties.
What else could it be then?
Is it willpower? Did everyone just lose their willpower in the eighties?
A lot of xxl people blame genetics. They will tell you our parents were large we are large and now our children are large is’s in our genes.
Is it something in the environment? Or in the tap water?
Why are we all gaining weight?
I have one explanation and I believe I am right.
It’s all the ultra processed foods.
Ultra processed foods were there even in my childhood. I remember corn flakes for breakfast and 33cc bottles of Coca Cola.
So ultra processed foods were there but not at the level where we are now.
The United Kingdom has the highest consumption of Ultra Processed food in Europe. 58% of what we consume is convenience food and this is where the problem lies.
A lot of times we don’t realise that we are eating ultra processed foods as they are so common. This is also fuelled by slick marketing. The food industry are blaming lacka of exercise. You can drink a 2 litre bottle of fizzy drink as long as you go gyn and burn it off is their logic. Then you can eat your food from boxes.
So if you are looking to make a difference to your body weight in 2024, this is where you need to start.
Have a look at all the ultra processed foods you are consuming and if possible try to make some changes.
It does not have to be complicated.
Before you eat something ask yourself this question, did this food grow, run or swim.
So obviously bread don’t grow on trees.
Some processing is ok. For example cheese. It’s processed but not often ultra processed. A food that contains 7-8 ingredients is most probably ultra processed.
So eating whole foods does require a bit more time in the kitchen but I would say it’s time well spent as you could add years to your life if you became a bit leaner.
I can give you an example of an action that you can take. Breakfast cereals are ultra processed.
Just make your own one, a couple of times a week put some jumbo Oates on a tray. Use honey, cinnamon, cacao powder and a little coconut oil mixed together and give it 20-30 minutes to bake. If you want to add other ingredients be my guest. Coconut flakes or nuts, you decide?
We are near Christmas now. Try to be creative. Go on Google and lear new methods of preparing the treats that would normally be ultra processed. Don’t forget the mince pies.
By: Abdi-Karim Berleen/Personal trainer in Loughton.