How do you change the habits of a nation? This is the question most Australians will be asking themselves today following the news headlines.
Apparently 4 million Australians are now overweight, and Australia has overtaken the US as the fattest nation in world. I can hardly believe it!
The reporting doctor gave a number of potential reasons:
- Baby boomers are getting older, and are therefore becoming more overweight.
- People are moving less due to busier lifestyles.
- Poor food choices are being made, including a high intake of fatty, sugary foods.
- People are choosing larger portions at each meal.
- Eating away from home is becoming more and more frequent.
So, what can Australians do to overcome this problem?
#1 Move more!
You need to be getting at least 30 minutes physical activity most days of the week. Try to make all your daily activities count by putting as much energy into them as you can.
Suitable activities include:
- Team sports (football (soccer), basketball, netball, hockey)
- Housework (cleaning windows, vacuuming, mopping floors, washing the car)
Try to make physical activity a priority in your daily life by incorporating it into all areas, for example cycle to work, take a walk on your lunch break, or visit the gym at the end of the day.
#2 Chose whole foods
In recent years we’ve moved towards more highly processed foods. If you regularly consume these foods, why are you choosing them? Is it convenience? Or habit?
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. If you’re unsure of what to make, borrow a recipe book from your local library, or check out this fab book by Australians, Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham, “4 Ingredients.“
- Opt for plain meats, potatoes, rice or pasta, served with steamed vegetables, or a mixed leafy salad.
- Dress food with olive oil and herbs, or make a dressing with citrus fruit.
- Steer clear of processed biscuits, cakes and other high fat and sugar products.
- Choose fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, and low fat dairy as healthy snacks.
- Avoid sugar-laden drink, and choose water, tea, coffee or 100% fruit juice instead.
Check out my post, 25 Minimalist Meals: 5 Ingredients or Less.
#3 Watch your portions
Most people eat in portions that exceed their nutritional requirements. If you’re unsure of what a healthy portion is check out A Visual View of Serving Size Using Everyday Items.
#4 Eat out occasionally
Eating away from home has become a way of life for most of us, and as an occasional treat it’s absolutely fine. However, too much can be unhealthy, so try to:
- Take a packed lunch to work, including healthy snacks.
- Avoid creamy coffees, and instead opt for the lighter version, or go for tea.
- If eating out is a necessity, make sure you chose wisely. Ask for a copy of the nutritional content leaflet and find out what your best options are.
- Replace chips with salad, and switch fizzy drinks for water.
- Save calories by asking for sauces, mayo, and other dressings on the side, or by avoiding them completely.
#5 Take your health seriously NOW
There’s no doubt about it, we need to sit up and take notice of our health right now!
For a long time we’ve thought obesity was a significantly greater problem in America, however you see how quickly the tide changes!
So, what are you doing to preserve your health right now?