Loosing the will and battle to live?

What on Earth is going on with our diet? I’m aware I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record but really, when are things really going to change?

I am actually fed up to my back teeth with cheap offers for junk food. Literally every where I go, fast food, take-aways and chocolate are shoved under my nose.

I drive 1.5 miles from my house and I see this:

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I popped into Iceland this morning to pick up some milk and I am presented with an offer of 600g of chocolate for 3 quid (see the headline photo) as soon as I walk in.

I have previously ranted and campaigned about junk food at the checkouts but actually the entrance way is equally challenging. Having to wade past the towers of cakes, biscuits, chocolate eggs and grab bags sets off your shopping trip on completely the wrong foot.

Every weekday morning I see Spiderman with an advertising board (most often in the freezing cold) standing on a round-a-bout promoting a devilish Domino’s pizza deal and it’s not even 10 am. What’s that about?!

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At least 5 days a week I get a flier through my letterbox; Subway, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and a selection from my local Chinese and Indian restaurants land on my mat. And to be honest I don’t even look at 99% of them. They go straight in the bin, what a waste.

The British takeaway market is worth over £5.5bn and has grown massively over the last 4 years. Just Eat and Hungry House have certainly taken the market share but due to consumer demand and the growth of the app market, other companies are starting to muscle in.

I get that convenience food has its place. We can all benefit from a helping hand at times but this hand is starting to linger like a bad smell. In the states, around 6% of the population will be eating takeout at anyone time. The principle of it is great. The problems are that we rely on it way too much and of course the majority of foods are sky high in salt, fat and sugar.

Image result for food take out to delivery

So the icing on the cake this week has been hearing McDonalds might be bringing a home delivery service to Birmingham. The city where there are more McDonald’s restaurants than any other UK city outside of London. Just fantastic.

Where Dudley already has the award for the most unhealthy place to live. Closely followed by Walsall, Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Dudley boasts a staggering 10 McDonald’s restaurants per 100,000 people, with just 3 gyms.

Compare that to Bristol, the healthiest town that has 234 cycle routes 45 sports clubs and just 2 McDonalds per 100,000 people. No wonder we have one of the highest rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity in the West Midlands.

So my issue is this. How is the general public ever supposed to win? Most food producers and food outlets monopolise our communities. Every week a new gimmicky eatery opens on our high street, like this cereal cafe.

The Government is weak and in my opinion has done too little too late. The financial incentives to  stand up to the food industry are simply not there. How long did it take for the sugar tax to come about? And with it only applicable to soft drinks, surely the impact will be limited. The responsibility deal seems no more, not that is really made much difference because there was always the option to opt out.

Reports show we want healthier food these days. We are learning the importance of the nutritional value of food and links to disease but finding and purchasing the healthier product is often too hard.  Our good intentions and efforts to eat healthily are constantly undermined everywhere we turn.

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So our healthcare service has to carry the burden, there is no comeback whatsoever on the big food giants and they have us hooked. I genuinely feel scared for the future unless somehow we can weaken their stronghold and for that to happen, big decisions and huge action must be taken. We have to limit their influence (the offers at least!!) and control over our food environment. I know it’s complicated and needs an incredible amount of joined up thinking but come on Jeremy Hunt, what’s next?

 

 

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BIG BUMS!

Bum, bottom, butt, ass, booty, derriere, rear end, backside, tush, buns……….

What ever you call you bum, many of us are infatuated with it; is it too big? is it too small? does my bum look big in this?

There seem to be two distinct camps; those that sit in the ‘we would love a smaller bum’  camp and the ‘bigger the bum the better’ camp.

Very big buttocks, now I mean VERY BIG, have been popular in hip-hop videos for years.  This post is not about the history of hip hop since  Sir Mix-a-Lot did  ‘Baby Got Back‘ in the 1990’s (although that is now going round me head……..I like big butts and I cannot lie………..) and there will be no twerking please.  It’s about the health implications of big buts………

Now from my point of view, big bums are better but I read in the news this morning this is not always the case.

BBC Health News – Why big buttocks can be bad for your health

It is refreshing to read about cultures that are not obsessed with thinness. Many countries embrace curves; in South Africa, Fiji and Jamaica the drive is not for stick-like figures. Instead, curves are a positive sign of health (thinness is associated with illness), of wealth and it is much more socially acceptable / preferable.  Now there are extremes to this side of the coin too; the story in the news today reports the obsession with big buttocks in Venezuela; mostly driven by the desire to be like a Barbie Doll due to the popularity of beauty pageants.

So Western influences are still creeping in whereby women will go to any extreme to help them achieve ‘perfection’.  Here, women are injecting themselves with silicon fillers.  Now this is not an implant, the silicon is injected freely into the desired area.  The problem with this is that it migrates to other parts of the body (legs, back, genitals) causing severe pain and disability.  Banned in 2012, this procedure is still obviously available on the black market and as a result people are having limbs amputated or a dying as a result of unregulated practice. Scary stuff!

Apples vs Pears

Apple_and_pear

So as I said, big bums (that are natural!) are best – the shape of your bum (and your body for that matter) is a very good indicator of your overall health status. A bigger bum and hips combined with a smaller waist gives you the lowest health risk profile:

Generally, people can be classified into 2 groups – apples or pears.

Apples

Apples describe people who tend to carry fat around their middle (thinking of the portly body shape, beer belly / belly overhang).  Typically men tend to be in this group (sorry guys).  Unfortunately, this fat deposition is not so healthy as the fat also tends to be deposited around some of the main organs (liver, heart etc) and this increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Pears

Women tend to be more pear-shaped; carrying fat around the hips, bum and thighs the fat is deposited in more peripheral parts of the body and away from the main core organs.  This is good for 2 reasons:

  1. Fat around your hips, bum and thighs is good for fertility and reproductive function
  2. You are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes or heart disease as the fat does not get deposited around your middle.

Don’t get me wrong there are always going to be exceptions to the rule (women can be apple-shaped, men can be pears) but much of the shape is determined by the release of male / female hormones.

How can I check my body shape?

  1. Look in the mirror (Oh God!)
  2. Measure your waist
  3. Measure you height
  4. Check against the Ashwell Shape Chart:

weightchart

 If the picture’s a bit blurred and small, have a look here for more info and how to read your score.

Also, just your waist circumference on its own will tell you a lot about your risk of diabetes – you can test yourself here on Diabetes UK website.

You have a higher risk of health problems if your waist size is (taken from NHS Choices)

  • more than 94cm (37 inches) if you’re a man
  • more than 80cm (31.5 inches) if you’re a woman

Your risk of health problems is even higher if your waist size is:

  • more than 102cm (40 inches) if you’re a man
  • more than 88cm (34.5 inches) if you’re a woman

Sorry if you are just reading this after eating the last of your chocolate Easter eggs, I realise this is bad timing but hey ho 😉

Just in case you can’t remember Baby Got Back, or never watched that episode of Friends………here it is…………Now it can get stuck in your head too!

p.s. not many pictures today – I got too disturbed looking for example big bum / tummy images 😮

20.04.14