Currently, smoking is the number one preventable cause of cancer among women in the UK. In 25 years this will be overtaken by obesity, if current trends persist. Did you know that obesity can lead to cancer? You might not, as only one in seven people in Britain is aware that such a link exists.

Last week I held 2 talks at my practise called ‘How to stay healthy, slim and fit with EatWright’ and obesity was discussed in depth. A combination of deliberately addictive fast food, foods full of sugar, fat and salt, genes, low exercise levels and poor food choices has led to rocketing obesity levels, especially, but by no means exclusively, in areas of socioeconomic deprivation.

Our children are becoming too overweight to run about in the playground. 22,000 11 year-olds are severely obese and 62% of the population is either overweight or obese. We have been crowned the most overweight nation in Western Europe and it is estimated that half the population will be obese by 2045.

Not that anyone should be blamed for being overweight. But despite the health warnings and shocking statistics about our BMI and our heightened risk of everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s, we remain a nation in denial. Not just in denial but hugely, harmfully defensive about it. Nobody likes being told they are overweight. It implies we are weak-willed, greedy and unable to exercise control, and even if there’s truth in that, it still feels intrusive and insulting.

The time has come to stop being offended and face up to the facts. It is time to take matters into our own hands and do something about the obesity crisis, starting with making changes in our lifestyles and habits. This is, however, easier said than done.

Losing weight is not easy and requires determination, application and taking responsibility for our own health.

To help you to make a start here are 4 major changes that you can implement right now:

1) Eat Well

  • Avoid eating processed convenience foods as they are high in sugar, fat and salt
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Eat at least 5 (preferably 8-10) vegetables and fruits a day in a variety of colours
  • Increase the consumption of good fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, olive oil and avocados
  • Avoid fruit juices and alcohol where you can, as they are high in sugar
  • Cook from scratch with the best ingredients you can afford, preferably organic
  • Eat lean protein with every meal or snack to curb cravings; e.g. chicken, lean mince, fish, low fat natural yoghurt or cottage cheese, beef, soya milk/yoghurt etc. but NO PORK.
  • Choose wholemeal bread, crackers, rice, pasta, barley or quinoa to increase fibre
  • Divide your plate into 3 sections: 1/3 protein, 1/3 vegetables and 1/3 carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, and rice); preferably more vegetables than carbohydrates.

2) Water

Drink plenty of fresh water (tap water is encouraged!) or herbal tea every day.

Our body is 70% water and it is important to keep it hydrated as it helps to improve your skin and bones, remove toxins, aid digestion, and improve concentration, to mention just a few of the benefits.

3) Exercise

Build exercise into your life every day to keep you healthy.

A minimum of 30 minutes brisk walking a day would be ideal. Get gardening, clean your house, run up the stairs a few times, take your bike out, go for a swim or join a fitness club. Let it become a habit, so that exercise is not something you dread, but simply work into your routine.

4) Sleep

Do not take your worries to bed!

Aim to be in bed by 10pm – the hours before midnight give you the best quality of rest. Avoid all computer, phone, and television screens for at least one hour before bedtime and sleep in the dark.

You only have one body, look after it as best you can because no one else will. There is absolutely no reason for you to become obese if you start to make lifestyle changes right now.

If you are looking to make a change for the better, and if you’re serious about embracing the potential of a healthy body, I have a fantastic 12-week healthy eating plan that can change your life forever.

To better health,

Leonie x