So, this week was National Obesity Awareness Week, and it got me thinking. I work with people every day who either want to lose weight, improve their fitness, or tailor their training specifically to their sport of choice or rehabilitate after an injury.
For every success I have in supporting people to achieve their goals, there are probably triple the number of people who walk away and give up. And, of the people walking away it tends to be those who are in the most need of my services and support. Why is that?
Making changes to your lifestyle can be difficult. Life is fast paced, there is always something else to do, and research shows that it is only possible to change one habit at a time and doing so itself takes time. So, when people embark on a whole new approach to life it can be very difficult to maintain – especially if they are not 100% motivated and committed.
Obesity affects around one in four adults and one in five children aged 10 – 11 years old! It can lead to a range of serious health conditions that are potentially life threatening, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke and some types of cancer. It can also affect a person’s quality of life, relationships and lead to mental health conditions and psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem. It can also reduce life-expectancy by an average of 3-10 years.
As obesity has become more prevalent in society, there are now different categories of obesity depending on a person’s levels of body fat. Some people may believe they are only slightly overweight, yet medically they are classed as obese, morbidly obese or even bariatric. It is a condition that can slowly creep up on a person over time through consistently eating more calories than they are burning.
Generally speaking, the pace of life has changed over time, we have more and more labour-saving devices and we aim for convenience. This has impacted on how much we move and what we eat. Snacking has become a daily habit and treats have become a daily staple rather than a weekly or monthly luxury. As a population we consume more and more ready prepared convenience foods that contain higher fat, salt, sugar and preservatives. The younger generations have lost the skills of cooking and reach for takeaways several times a week. We don’t work in manual job roles as often as our ancestors, and we are able to travel by car, bus or train rather than walking or cycling.
Collectively this means that we are seeing increased levels of obesity and this is causing a drain on our country’s already stretched health resources. People are addicted to salt, sugar, caffeine and in some cases alcohol – often without realising it, and breaking this addiction is a huge task.
As a nation we have been aware of these issues for some time. We know that we need to make urgent changes. As a personal trainer I often wonder what I can do better to help the people who walk away from their goals to stick at their programmes and to gradually improve their health and reduce their body fat. I take an educational, non-judgemental approach to supporting people. Healthy living does not have to be all or nothing – it is more about balance.
If you have hit January with all the best intentions and already feel as though you have failed – before you start to beat yourself up come and talk to me. Be patient and understand that making changes takes time. It took time to develop the habits that led you to feel this way and it will take time to change those habits. But, it is possible!
Come and ask me how and I know that I can support you to achieve the goals you desire.