It is hard to give a good example to our kids when our own eating behaviour and body image have been skewed by years of yo-yo-dieting, misleading health advice and media pressure. If we develop a better relationship with healthy eating and exercise, then not only will our own bodies benefit, but our children will have a great example that they can learn from.
Feeding a growing global population of nine billion people by 2050 is one of the world's biggest challenges--especially in the context of rapid urbanisation, rising amounts of food waste and climate change. During one day of discussions senior executives from agribusiness, policymaking and the NGO community examined approaches to food and nutrition security.
If you are too fat you may die early. With medical experts concurring that excess fat can lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke and an early grave, radical steps need to be taken. If one really cares about saving lives as well as reducing the burden on the already overstretched NHS, one would absolutely support measures that shock a nation into taking action to control weight.
I have never wrapped that towel around tighter. Buddah-beauty is now trying to have a conversation with me. As she rambles on, the room is getting hotter and hotter, steam gradually obscuring everything in the room. Her face is now at a half moon, yet she still tries to engage in a conversation with me.
So you nervously lined up at the start of a race this weekend eyeing up your competitors, checking to see if there is anyone of a similar build to you in what I like to call the Fat Runner Scan. You know for sure you won't win but for goodness sake don't let me come last you say to yourself, as you move towards the middle of the starting field in a final attempt to avoid the dreaded last place spot.
I applied for a job a few years ago and I got down to the last few candidates. I was very excited as it was a 'big brand' and at the final 'papal nod of the CEO' stage he began to ask me what I thought was an odd line of questioning. It started pretty early into what became the longest half hour of my life. "So Mark, have you always been overweight?" he asked.
Behaviour is triggered and controlled subconsciously without us even realising it. Trying to think about our condition logically and rationally rarely achieves anything because the unconscious part of our mind is so incredibly powerful that it will almost always over-ride any remedial action we try. Only by retuning the unconscious can progress against obesity ever be made.
Being overweight is not simply one-sided and negative. It has a function and a purpose. You may feel bad about your weight, but importantly can you see a new meaning in your weight? Can you give yourself a chance to figure out what all of your extra eating is about? Can you see any benefits to having extra weight, or have you anxieties around letting go of weight or food?
There is nothing new about our love of fat and sugar. We have a strong evolutionary drive to eat these foods because they are rich sources of calories which can be laid down as fat - which is simply stored energy. Our ancestors needed plenty of fat to fuel activity during periods of food scarcity and to pay for our large, expensive brains.