There seems to be an awareness day or week for almost everything these days, some more serious than others - like Popcorn Day on 19th January or Gummi Worm Day on 15th July - but some have a more important reasoning behind them than an excuse to sit down in front of the TV with a great big bowl of popcorn.
So why is Obesity Awareness Week one the more important things to talk about? Here are some facts that are prompting the conversations:
- Obesity has almost doubled since 1980
- At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese
- Globally, 41 million preschool children were overweight in 2016
- It can lead to a number of serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, stroke, some types of cancer, coronary heart disease
- It can cause some psychological problems like depression
The number of overweight people is rising, with reports showing that tackling obesity could save the health service billions of pounds each year. With the current crisis in the healthcare system, battling obesity is quickly becoming a priority and the media is buzzing with advice on how to be more active and lose that extra bit of fat.
The media can make it sound very easy in theory, but in practice, many people give up on their goals after only a few weeks. If you are one of the lucky ones, you may be able to afford a personal trainer who will advise you on your nutrition and physical activity and motivate you to your perfect healthy body, but if not, you may want to start with small goals. Setting yourself difficult goals may be admirable, but very often not achievable, so start small.
Here are a few suggestions of some easy things you could change that would help you tackle or prevent obesity:
1. Be active
You may absolutely hate running and you are not the only one. Let's face it, it's not for everyone and many people find it boring. How about joining a team sport? You could try marshal arts or even a dance class. Exercise does not necessarily mean hours spent on a treadmill; it could actually be fun.
2. Eat home-cooked food.
Cook your own food. I know - time is of the essence but a bit of forward thinking may mean that you really don't spend that much time in the kitchen. Do some batch cooking, cut up your veg and prepare your salad in advance, so you reach for a healthy snack when feeling peckish. Having your veg cut up also means it is easy to add them to your daily meal, therefore making your food more nutritious.
3. Drink more water
Think about what and how much you are drinking. A half litre bottle of a sweetened drink, such as cola, contributes around 60% of the recommended maximum sugar intake. That combined with a bar of Snickers can add those unnecessary calories fast. Chose water instead and if you are not a fan of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or orange.
4. Stand up more
If working in an office, make sure you get away from your computer on a regular basis. Walk to the next door office rather than picking up the phone to pass on the message, stand up every 20 minutes and do a few squats or if very brave, a few burpees. Your body will thank you for it and so will your boss as you will be more productive.
5. Keep track of your journey
Write down your plans and record your progress. Seeing the changes on paper will be a good reminder of how far you've come. Also, tell your friends about your challenge - sharing a goal with others will keep you motivated and on track.
6. Treat yourself
Denying yourself of everything you enjoy will mean your success will not last. Having an occasional cake is healthy too, as long as you keep that balance.