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The Big Chair

I had occasion to accompany my daughter to the local infirmary outpatients dept this morning.

This is the waiting room.

The chairs on the right of the picture are common or garden waiting room chairs.

I couldn’t help but notice that the blue chair on the left was somewhat bigger.

I speculated what this could be for.

Panto season is just coming up so maybe it was a prop for a production of Jack and the Beanstalk? But then this was an infirmary waiting room not backstage at the town hall.

Perhaps it was for childrens’ amusement? Two or three of them could imagine it was a…..er……big chair.

After jokingly speculating that it be used by Brian Blessed in a future Have I Got News For You? We then jokingly speculated that there might be an obesity clinic.

We asked one of the nurses.

The answer was “We have an increasing number of patients with obesity issues and we have to cater for them”

I mean really! Just how fat would your arse have to be to require that chair?

I Nose Your Name

I stumbled upon this article on the BBC which highlights research which contends that people with a more developed sense of smell are more inclined to obesity and overweight.

As someone who has had their own battles with their weight over the years, I found myself thanking providence that I have an absolutely rubbish sense of smell. I don’t know what size I’d have reached if I’d had a discerning nose!

Basking briefly in that semi-comfort, I then noticed a link to this article which refers to research linking poor smell identification to dementia.

Is it just me or does reading this kind of stuff make one paranoid?

Undaunted, I saw another link to this article which tells how odours become less unpleasant if you give them a nicer name.

In an experiment for example, volunteers asked to smell a cheddar cheese odour rated it as more pleasant when it was labelled as “cheddar” than as “body odour”. There were no examples however of labelling body odour as cheddar.

Now this I can identify with and I have my suspicions that our politicians and media have cottoned on to the principle a long time ago and not just in the potpourri department.

I mean when did a quilt become a duvet for example? I’d guess the late 70’s or early 80’s. This was probably around the same time that the Common Market became the European Economic Community and at a subsequent stage became the European Union and then the EU.

I mean who couldn’t like the EU? it’s almost like “YOU” a wee cuddly term. Not common at all – or anything to do with markets.

Mind you the jury is still out on whether Snickers has more appeal than Marathon. Or for that matter do you prefer Starburst or an Opal Fruit?

The Scottish Tories, sorry Conservatives have long toyed with the idea of a name change. I’d suggest Damien. I mean we have a TV channel called Dave don’t we?

And then there are countries which have changed name. Ceylon became Sri Lanka. East Pakistan became Bangla Desh, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe – hang on I’m not sure if name changes for countries are all that successful.

But maybe Ireland with its economic troubles could change to Seamus or Kevin. A new independent Scotland? what about Shug or Tam?

Alex Salmond could consider a less fishy surname perhaps?

Which brings me back to obesity and strong odours.

Fat Chance

I see the government in Holyrood now has obesity in its sights and the statistic that 40% of Scots could be obese by 2020 is an alarming one. The proposals include limiting portion sizes in restaurants, not having sweets near the checkout at supermarkets etc.

I have some insight on this issue having shed over 40lbs in the last year and so far having kept it off. I’ve heard it said that diets don’t work and that a change of lifestyle is what is required. A change in lifestyle/eating habits is certainly required to keep weight off but without an initial diet I really don’t think from my own experience, that a moderation of one’s habits works on its own.

Losing a significant amount of weight over a reasonably short time is the incentive for someone to change their eating habits and I’m sorry but I simply don’t see how the SNP proposals will work to any great degree. Take Dumbarton, a small town of around 20,000 population. In the retail park alone there’s a McDonalds, a KFC, Dominoes Pizza, Greggs and a Subway. The town boasts four Chinese carry outs, two Indian restaurants, various kebab/curry/pizza places, several chip shops, several bakers, another Greggs and various other places where carry out food is available. Will there be enough people with clipboards to be out checking portion sizes? In any case what would stop people buying extra portions?

As a (hopefully permanent) former fatty I’d say the best way to tackle excess weight or obesity is by trying somehow to incentivise people to diet and take control of their food intake. Just in the same way that alcoholics have to take control of their problem themselves – even if that effort in itself requires help from others.

The way I have done things was to achieve a target weight. If my weight now goes above a certain level I only have to be careful for a couple of days to take the excess off. Sticking to three meals a day and not eating anything after the evening meal. I suppose that may sound a bit sanctimonious (not meant to!) and it remains to be seen if I can stick to the regime in the long term.

For a nation to collectively take on board a weight awareness campaign would not be easy but I would suggest to anyone wishing to lose a significant amount of weight that the following is a reasonable process and one which has been successful so far in my own case.

1) Commit yourself to the goal of losing weight and set a realistic target weight.

2) Embark on a weight loss and exercise programme that is suitable for you. Don’t be discouraged in the early days and remind yourself regularly that this is a 3/4/6 month project.

3) Once you achieve the target use your better wellbeing as an incentive to keep things that way. Cut out snacking and limit yourself to three meals a day. Only eat when you are hungry.

4) Weigh yourself regularly and have a 2-3 day strategy in place to ease up on the food intake if a couple of pounds have gone on. This needn’t be too draconian.

There is I’ve found no problem in the odd blowout once you’ve shed the excess. I find an Indian carry out puts on a couple of pounds but that will go in a couple of days simply by returning to my normal routine of three meals again. Always regard a meal out or a carry out meal as a treat and not a return to old ways.

As I’ve posted here several times my own diet consisted of a sachet of porridge oats (made with water) for breakfast, same again for lunch (with the addition of a banana or some other fruit if really hungry. – even another sachet is only another 100 calories in an emergency!) and a normal evening meal ( I only had a main course normally – a natural yoghurt and banana if I still felt hungry).

Good Luck!

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