Britain’s bloated waistlines have been making big news again, as members of the Association of Weight Loss Hypnotherapists might be aware.
This time we’re all expected to take a collective gasp in shock at the revelation that folk are not always entirely truthful about themselves. In fact, many are big fat fibbers, it appears. And in contrived horror, the newspapers have been revealing that we’re not the land of streamlined citizens that we claim to be. No, we’re not. We’re a nation of secret snackers.
Well, blow me down. Who’d have guessed that? National surveys, it seems, have been underestimating our true calorie intake for years. As a country, the level of calories we claim to consume would mean our current weight is going down regardless of how little exercise we are taking.
‘NATION’S WEIGHT IS ON THE UP’
The reality is that the nation’s weight has been increasing. A stroll down any high street might provide evidence that this could indeed be the case. So clearly somebody’s been, er, economical with the truth, says the Government’s Behavioural Insights Team, sometimes known as the Nudge Unit. According to the team’s report, people are on average eating up to 50 per cent more calories than they admit to in official surveys.
‘STATISTICS THAT BELIE THE BIG-BELLIED TRUTH’
So, the conclusion is that current statistics are more wobbly than a beer belly leaving the pub.
Michael Hallsworth, co-author of the paper, Counting Calories, and director of health at the Nudge Unit is reported to say: “We welcome the fact that the Government Statistical Service has responded positively to our report”. The Office of National Statistics says it is investigating a range of alternative data sources to improve its understanding of calorie intake. Well, any effort that helps improve the UK’s wellbeing is going to be a nudge in the right direction. It remains to be seen though, what steps are actually taken by authorities to address the issue.
‘EUROPE’S LARGEST LARD MOUNTAINS’
Here at the Association of Weight Loss Hypnotherapists, we already know that Britain is overweight because too many people are eating too much. We also know that many people are all too willing to kid themselves about their eating habits rather than face the honest truth. They prefer to blame their weight issues on other factors rather than on themselves.
Common practice is to pat them on the back and advise them to watch those calories carefully – the NHS website, for example, has a search box that lists the calories of more than 150,000 foods and drinks. Well, it’s not a bad thing to know that a packet of crisps boasts a lot of calories and that cake is actually fattening. But there is a more important factor – one that should be at the heart of every programme offered by practitioners within the AWLH – and that is clients accepting responsibility.
It is a fundamental issue – all the calorie counting in the world is without worth until a person wishing to lose weight understands that he or she is responsible for their own health. And that means the client recognising how much and how often he or she eats.
Failure to admit to yourself that you ate a packet of crisps at the bus stop or a flapjack mid-afternoon is not acceptable. It doesn’t mean to say that such food is banned. It just means that if such products are consumed then something else is going to have to be sacrificed. Ultimately, it becomes obvious that it is preferable and easier to adopt healthy, regular eating patterns.
The client, though, has a choice. Eat sensibly or stay fat.
And they have to grasp that it is their responsibility to make the right choice. After all, if the individual fails to care enough about his or her own wellbeing, how can they expect anyone else to bother?