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).