Why do the majority of the great British public...

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11/09/2012 at 19:53

I suppose its a chore initially, but its making those initial first steps. Is it true though, there are more obese, and unhealthy people than there was say 10 years ago? I do see a lot of McDonald types, pushing push chairs, with tank top and shell suit, and about 3 stone overweight, but maybe thats just the area where i live.

I am sure we are catching up with the Americans though...

11/09/2012 at 20:05

Interesting one.

Healthy - eating?
I'd hazard a guess at a few things.  People are poorly educated regarding nutrition.  Everything I ever learnt at secondary school I have long forgotten and I've had to 'relearn' in a recent effort to get my backside in gear. I'd propose that a lot of people simply don't know this stuff.  Possibly hence the ideas with traffic light systems on food packs etc.  We were taught it in Home Economics, no idea where kids are taught it now, if at all.  I think we forget (and here I mean quite literally you and I) that we are well educated and intelligent, many others are not.

Then, beyond lack of education, lifestyles have changed so much. There are a number of factors.  The old fashioned family concept is dated, people no longer cook meals and eat together.  People don't have the time to buy fresh produce nor cook it (even though cooking food isn't really time consuming!) Convenience food is the norm and convenience food isn't good for you but it is... convenient.  People are no longer as active as they were, so forget the sporty lot, I'm thinking more along the lines of jobs that involve manual labour (these days we're all spreading our arses driving desks), people don't walk so much to get to work or school or the shops. Then, additionally, people are working longer hours.  So, they get up, drive to work, work too long, drive home, chuck something in the microping, watch a bit of telly and go to bed.

All of these things that have been invented to make our lives easier have just turned us into a bunch of fat, idle slobs like those blobby humans on Wall-E, remember?  Furthermore, society has 'normalised' being larger, so a size 10 isn't a size 10 to us who remember what a size 10 used to be like, if you get my drift.  Marks and Spencer resized a few years ago, and received public attention for doing so.

Fit - hmmmm.  Harder one really.  Society is not naturally as fit as it was, as we're not walking, riding bikes etc to work. We're driving.  I have no idea why people don't want to get up and do stuff, because I do I guess?  I suppose this is why we shouldn't take the mickey out of things like R4L like we do, because it is getting people into exercise.

So, in summary, I have provided several paragraphs of unsubstatiated rambling generalisations and poorly made points (with the exception of M&S resizing which I could probably google) but I think some of the rest may be true.

I do think humans will end up like the fat blobby ones on that film though, I really do.

I hope I don't get lambasted now.

Nice topic KK. 

11/09/2012 at 20:16

It's an easy question for the likes of us on here to ask, as we're the other side of the unfit-fit boundary.

I remember being very unfit, and it's all such tough work on the buildup.

Once you are fit, it's  easy to keep motivated and stay that way.


11/09/2012 at 21:36

Go on then Ghostrider, what's a "McDonalds" type?

11/09/2012 at 21:53

I look at my partner. He's unfit but not a fat blobby. He's a workaholic who skips meals and lives on coffee, which is why he now has an ulcer. We don't eat out / get takeaways / buy convenience foods. Part of his problem, he likes spicy food but it turns out it doesn't like him. He also like fish and rice, so eats healthily when he does eat. We don't do biscuits or cakes but he does treat himself to an almond croissant at the weekend.
As for exercise, he walks for about an hr most nights, this is so he can smoke lots of cigarettes. We don't have a TV, he would far rather read than watch TV.

Why has he made the choice? He gets nothing out of exercise, he doesn't enjoy it, he gets nothing out of it, doesn't get any kind of buzz from exercise. There are far too many other things he would rather be doing. Simple as really.

I wonder if those that have made other lifestyle choices wonder why we don't do as they do. I once had someone criticise me for not wanting to do work related study in my own time as this would be a good way to progress my career and that I must have no ambition. They couldn't see that I was more interested in other things, that my ambitions lay outside of work, that work just gave me the money to do what I really wanted to do. I'm sure there are enough people around who think I'm lazy for only wanting to work part time and not give everything i have to my job. (I would' n't survive 5 mins if I did that).

Anyway, more rambling.

11/09/2012 at 23:23

What T.mouse said.
No doubt there's a train spotting forum out there pondering why so few other people aren't into train spotting as it's such a buzz.. 

12/09/2012 at 08:11

Did people see that BBC series (it was a 3-parter) called "The Men Who Made Us Fat"?  It's on YouTube now here

I found it really interesting, although it was was one sided (I don't remember it mentioning exercise at all, although it did have some footage of people in a gym class) and didn't shy away from giving the food industry a good kicking.  I have always been one of those who say losing weight is a simple concept and have been known to mutter "Eat less, do more....simple" on occasion.

However, this program did offer a different view point.  It started by basically saying that the average British person is nearly 3st heavier than they were 50 years ago, but goes on to aim the fault squarely at the food manufacturers and politicians.

The basis of the program was that a group of scientists have discovered a direct link between fructose (which is in a large quantity of "junk" food) and weight gain.  When you overload the liver with sugars, it suppresses the Leptin hormone.  Leptin is supposed to help regulate the appetite but it doesn't if there is too much sugar in the system, so you carry on eating when you don't need to.  The program was saying that the food manufacturers have purposefully added more fructose, as they find we consume more items if they have more sugar in and the company makes more money.  The sugar industry rejects this claim.....

Anyway, for me the benefits of exercise are about setting a particular goal and reaching it, the "ruzzing buzz" (which is difficult to measure), as well as keeping the weight/% fat down.  If I have time off from running in particular, I find my general mood gets worse....I.E., I get grumpy   I wouldn't go as far as to say that life without running would be unbearable, but for me the benefits are quite large I think.  By the way, I'm not a fantastic runner by any means!  I too was overweight a few years ago, and for me it was some seeing some pictures of myself on a summer holiday that got my arse into gear.  It wasn't easy, but worth it I think.

Edited: 12/09/2012 at 08:15
12/09/2012 at 08:25

I think you have to enjoy being fit....a lot of my work colleagues think I'm plain weird when I continue to cycle to work whatever the weather, and why I enjoy running so much so often. They just don't get it (it actually tends to be the under 30s who think I'm weird, and the over 30s who don't so much).  But - there are other things you can do, like play team sports etc. 

The government can help all this, but are they brave enough to. Promote sport more at school, i.e. don't sell off the sport grounds; promote/subsidise sport for all. Tax petrol, subsidise bikes. Tax crap food, subsidise healthy food.

As far as MacD's go - for a lot of parents and kids they are too tempting, the kids meal is so cheap, plus you get a toy. What's not to like. Now MacD's have play areas so kids can get some exercise.....so...errr...maybe not so bad...

12/09/2012 at 08:30

McDonalds doesn't work for us and it's a good thing, our 4 year old just doesn't like anything on their menu!

Big_G, I watched that prog too but at the end of the day you can blame the food industry all you like, it's still down to the individual what they decide to eat.

12/09/2012 at 08:52

Cinders, that is true and the program was very one sided.  However, it went on to say that even so called healthy foods aren't actually that healthy sometimes.  I can't recall the exact comparisons from the program, but it was something like a sarnie/salad from Pret can be worse for you than a Big Mac.  I know most of us on this forum would know this but I've been guilty (if that's the word) of grabbing a "healthy" salad from a store whilst at work in a rush, and then looking at the pack to see the fat/sugar content is very high.

A Mouse said, it's an education thing as well.

12/09/2012 at 09:02

Okay, Devil's Advocate, is it down to the individual what they decide to eat?  The majority of individuals are fed for the first 16-21 years of their lives.  Let's ignore the fact that the parents could make a choice to eat healthily here, and start with individuals being fed enough but poorly - all the stuff you would buy if you weren't well educated about food, and believed the advertising and marketing (you can't complete a marathon without Lucozade, for example, in fact you'll probably die from dehydration).

Let's now add in that these individuals go out into the big wide world with their qualifications and get tough jobs for little money, still have social lives, and need to fund their peer-pressured existence with both money and time.  Learned to cook?  No.  Educated about food?  No.  Lunch at the pub with colleagues and dinner from the microwave before heading out?  Yes.  Add to the limited lifestyle the fact that physiologically they are trained to live on junk that is high in everything food companies have found to hook you into their products (Cocaine in the pizza anyone?  Remember that?) and the prophecy is self-fulfilling.  It's bad for you, but you simply don't want anything else, you want the bad stuff.

Ever wondered why so many people have life-changing events?  The choice to live well is sometimes made when the choice is stark enough to take, not before.  It could be as little as a comment on "your little pot".  It could be a look in the mirror. Or it could be a couple of nights in the hospital.  It's hard to give up smoking, it's hard to give up alcohol, it's hard to give up coffee, it's hard to give up sugar.  They're all addictive.  Two things you need are the knowledge that there is a choice, and the ability, often motivation, to take it.  Some individuals don't have those.

Devil's advocate over.  Now why is it that I'm not an elite athlete?

12/09/2012 at 09:27
I think Ghostrider has already described Mc Donalds types. Shell suits, 3 stone overweight and pushchairs with 5 year olds in them.
12/09/2012 at 09:27

I took up running as a means to help me lose weight.  I ate pretty healthily, just way, way too much of everything.

It is down to choice - no matter what you've been fed up to the age of 18, there are any number of programmes on the tv about lifestyle and eating which will give you a few clues about what to eat if you want to change.  Same thing with magazines, let alone the internet. 

Making that change can be hard, but all the information is available if you want it.

I don't get that much of a buzz from exercise, I do it because I prefer to be able to scoff loads, and to have muscles, and fit in my M&S size 10 clothes  (and not have a heart attack or stroke too early).

So what I mean is... if I was naturally thin, rather than inclined to put weight on, I would probably not exercise very much at all!

Edited: 12/09/2012 at 09:33
12/09/2012 at 09:52
Ghostrider wrote (see)

I suppose its a chore initially, but its making those initial first steps. Is it true though, there are more obese, and unhealthy people than there was say 10 years ago? I do see a lot of McDonald types, pushing push chairs, with tank top and shell suit, and about 3 stone overweight, but maybe thats just the area where i live.

I am sure we are catching up with the Americans though...

When people think fat, there's an automatic assumption to the McDonalds/ junk food lovers. But what percentage of overweight people really go to fast food places that often? What about all the hidden fats and junk in other food the general public buy ie prepared meals. It's easier to justify a meal from M&S than it is from McDonalds isn't it?.

Some people are in denial too. There was a great program on Ch 4 where they filmed people eating who had no idea why they were overweight. What the people didn't know was that they were filmed outside their house too and so many of them were shocked to look back at their actions. It doesn't take much to get overweight esp if people are inactive.

As for exercise, a lot of people think they are  'too busy'. It takes discipline to maintain a regular program and let's face it, it's easier not to make the time to exercise than to.

Edited: 12/09/2012 at 09:54
12/09/2012 at 10:00
Wilkie wrote (see)

It is down to choice - no matter what you've been fed up to the age of 18, there are any number of programmes on the tv about lifestyle and eating which will give you a few clues about what to eat if you want to change.  Same thing with magazines, let alone the internet. 


I agree that it's down to choice, but actually a lot of the information out there on TV, in newspapers and magazines, is WRONG.

They still push the "low fat" agenda which has been known to be a mistake for quite a few years now. As Big G mentioned, it is the sugar in food that suppresses people's appetite control mechanisms and makes them feel constantly peckish. But the media (and adverts) still constantly talk about low fat products, and low fat recipes, despite a lot of very very detailed science refuting this. They offer "diet" products where fat has been replaced by carbohdrates. Which is fine for someone running thirty miles a week, but poison to the average overweight person who is sedentary.

12/09/2012 at 10:04

I can see why people ignore exercise. I did until 7 years ago. There's plenty of other things to do with your free time and for many free time is limited so they want to do things they enjoy. You'll probably find they also don't see themselves as unfit, just "normal". They'll often view runners, particularly long distance runners, as fitness freaks. Now let's face it how many of us would have thought it was sane behaviour to go out (never mind running) in the pitch black when it's pouring with rain and blowing a gale before we took up this hobby? Not many I'd say.

I'm naturally a fairly skinny, so running for weight loss wasn't ever a goal for me. I do remember how tough those first few month where. Had I not taken up running as I'd entered an event so having the goal to aim for I'm not sure I would have stuck with it. It was the end result of that training and finding that new fitness that got me addicted to and enjoying my running.

When it comes to food I'm partly healthy. I cook most things from scratch, but that is because I love food and enjoy cooking. I'm not picky about what I eat though, so I will happily cook and eat things that are high fat and or sugar. Food of pretty much any sort is one of my great pleasures in life and it's not something I'm willing to change my ways on. I do eat the odd takeaway, the odd bit of fast food. I'd hate to have to limit what I eat.

12/09/2012 at 10:10
I remember when I was 16 seeing a man on Hyde Park Corner who was talking about the health of the nation. He kept saying " People aren't phsically sick, they are mentally thick"
12/09/2012 at 10:31

Affluence...most people now have more disposable income than in years gone by.

Availabilty...food is everywhere now. During the last 50 years the growth in supermarkets and fastfood outlets has lead to this almost grazing way of eating. 

I'm in my early 60s now and have always done some form of exercise. Whilst all my family/friends have health problems associated with smoking/drinking/lack of exercise I enjoy good robust health.

 I take no prescription drugs or have any health issues. I do have general aches and pains that most would expect at my age but I feel that the years of exercise have helped in maintaining my fitness/balance and co-ordination and I intend to continue because I that is part of my lifestyle.

Most of my family/friends think I'm slightly loopy but they suffer ill-health and chose to follow the sedentary life that leads to poor health and dependance on drugs in later life.    


12/09/2012 at 10:55

The new Wheatabix adds aimed at children - 3 wheatabix - hard day ahead.

I like wheatabix but have never eaten three, two at most, usually one for breakfast with a scoop of flax seed. The same was true of Shredded Wheat a number of years ago - 3 Shredded Wheat. All aimed at sizing up.
Then there's the adverts for sweets, as if eating sweets was a healthy option. The  adverts  that advertise chocolate as an indulgent luxury, malteasers as an almost calorie free treat. Haribo as fun. They are selling us an idea, a concept, something that we need in our lives.

A whole different aside, some people enjoy cooking and eating. I'm thinking of my two sisters here. We all cooked as kids. I cooked most of the family meals, my eldest sister oved cooking puddings. Treacle pudding, Lemon sponge pudding, you know, those old fashioned puddings made with suet to be served with custard. Both my sisters cook now, they make jam and lemon curd and all the sweet home comforts. Both my partner and I love to cook and make wine. I give most of my produce away as I don't eat it. Made 12 jars of Damson jam yesterday. I'll probably still have the same 12 jars left when I die, plus all the ones I'll make between now and then unless I give them away. I bake at work all the time now. I eat none of what I cook. It's a lifestyle choice. They love their home cooking, they are both good cooks, my lil sis wins awards for her home produce. Much as she is over weight she does take exercise, runs 5k's in 35 mins, does boot camps, shoots arrows. She was always the sporty one. She was always the larger of all of us. My family is genetically obese or overweight at the very least. My father was always worried about me being underweight. That's til I started running and I only started running because I discovered that runners are for the most part skinny buggers. I run to justify my size. I've always exercised though.

12/09/2012 at 11:22

I've never eaten ready meals, have very, very few takeaways, don't eat sweets often, so although most of what I eat is (and has always been) wholesome, (cheese has calcium!), I just tend to eat too much of it. 

I'm just greedy, I guess!

(and I certainly could manage three Weetabix, but not three shredded wheat)


Edited: 12/09/2012 at 11:23
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