Set clear goals. Slow and steady is the best way to approach weight loss. Burn more calories via sex and breastfeeding is the best way to protect against obesity later in life. These are just some of the health based recommendations frequently given by weight loss experts as many seek the elusive goal of weight loss.
A controversial response to some of these commonly held beliefs was recently published in one of the most powerful medical journals in the world, The New England Journal of Medicine which for the first time has scientifically questioned some of these commonly preached weight loss rules, finding that some may not hold much truth at all.
In real life terms, the good news is that this means certain limitations to weight loss as so often preached by weight loss experts may not be a barrier to success at all.
It’s Monday, so I can tell you what Richard Branson is having for dinner. Well probably not exactly, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be meat. Why? Because it’s Meat Free Monday and he’s one of the faces of the iniative being run by Do Something! and the Frys Family Foundation, that encourages everyone to spend at least one day of the week not eating meat.
Wait – please keep reading. This is not a rant against eating meat. Meat is good and yummy but as Rosemary Stanton tells The Punch, the planet would be better off if we all just cut back how much of it we are eating, by just one day.
Latest 2 of 114 commentsView all comments
About a third of our health suffering is self-induced; it’s what we eat, drink, smoke and how we exercise. The Australian Health Survey from the Bureau of Statistics reveals a new gap which few have noted; the bush health gap.
Outer regional and remote Australians are 50% more likely to smoke, 28% more likely to drink dangerously and 20% more likely to binge. Thankfully, today’s ABS data shows that nationwide, smoking and drinking rates falling but the news isn’t so good on obesity.
Since the last health survey in 2007, Australia’s overweight and obesity rate climbed from 61% to over 63%. That represents each and every year, an additional 110,000 overweight Australians for our health system to manage. What is more disturbing how much worse the situation is in the bush. Urban obesity rates are 25% compared to 35% in remote areas. Add the overweight to bush obesity numbers and total ticks over 70%.
The humble egg has again found itself in the nutrition firing line. Another research paper was released last week arguing that eating too many eggs can be as bad for heart health as smoking.
But before you start throwing away your egg yolks and swapping to processed breakfast cereals to ensure that your breakfast is “healthy”, there are a few other factors that need to be considered.
A high saturated fat intake is known to increase blood cholesterol, and high blood cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, Australia’s biggest killer.
When I finished studying nutrition, I started clinical practice with the idealism of any twenty-something professional, armed with nothing other than a shiny new degree and lots of energy.
It was with this enthusiasm that I preached the benefits of eating more vegetables, more dietary fibre and the crucial importance of making the change to skim milk.
I have to be honest, now more than 10 years later I am much more open minded in my approach to nutrition, particularly when it comes to the full cream versus skim milk debate. In fact, in many of my client examples on a daily basis, I would argue in many cases there are far worse dietary habits to change than swapping from full cream to skim milk.
Should vegetables be served free in restaurants? That question was posed by health writer Paula Goodyer this week as an incentive to encourage people to make better food choices.
Goodyer reckons that if a bowl of veggies came to the table for free then we’d be forced into swapping an expensive side of chips for the healthier option.
It’s a good idea in theory. Mostly because we really should be doing everything we can to help each other make better food choices, especially when we’re eating out. But that doesn’t mean that everything healthy for us should be free, or that we should be relying on other people to do the right thing for our health.
Latest 2 of 98 commentsView all comments
Long term disease states including diabetes, cancer and heart disease do not develop overnight. Each and every day we are making health-based decisions which ultimately impact on the risk of developing such conditions.
In addition to this, daily health related complaints including fatigue, constipation, bloating, lack of energy, poor libido, painful menstrual cycles and insomnia are all relating directly or indirectly in some capacity to poor lifestyle habits and weight issues.
So, rather than waiting until you need to lose weight, or until you are so tired and stressed that you are forced to reevaluate your lifestyle, here are the top few daily health and nutrition habits that will go a long way in helping you to be at your best, every day, not just tomorrow.
Latest 2 of 47 commentsView all comments
No other food has received the recent caning (pardon the pun) that sugar has over the past few months. Headlines of ‘toxic’, ‘poison’ and ‘addiction’ have been constantly bantered around with sugar free devotes claiming that banning the simple molecule has changed their life and their weight forever.
Since high amounts of sugar is found in generally non-nutritive foods including soft drinks, sweet desserts, yoghurts, confectionery and processed cereal products, is not surprising that people drop weight when they ‘ban’ sugar form their diets.
When you take a closer look at what is actually happening physiologically, is that the total carbohydrate load of the diet is significantly reduced when foods that contain sugar are eliminated, which simply means that insulin levels in the body are reduced and weight is lost.
Latest 2 of 34 commentsView all comments
If the majority of your friends drink too much, eat too much and are overweight, it may be time to do some culling.
We become like the people we spend our time with. As a general observation, this would appear to be true. Just take a look at suburbs. It is fair to say that the people who live, work and socialise in the east of Sydney do tend to look and behave differently to those who live, work and play out west. There is no judgment associated with this observation, it is simply because as humans, like animals, we like to associate with others who are like ourselves. This “oneness” helps us to feel safe, warm and cosy.
When it comes to lifestyle habits though, this connectedness which occurs at both a conscious and unconscious level poses a significant issue as it appears that both good and bad lifestyle habits are catching. This means that if your friends are overweight, unfit and lazy, statistics suggest you are going to head that way too.
Latest 2 of 97 commentsView all comments
If there is one topic that is guaranteed to cause much debate and controversy it is about the “right” way to deal with, and discuss overweight children. Many still believe that even though one in four Australian children has a significant weight issue that it is simply “puppy fat” and that children will grow out of it.
Based on this belief, it is inferred that we should basically ignore the fact that a child is overweight or obese - we should leave them be.
If only this were true. After working in the area of child and adolescent obesity for more than 10 years I can tell you that childhood obesity is a massive issue here in Australia. When you see a child who appears to have a little “puppy fat” or “muffin top”, you are actually looking at a serious weight issue.
Health lobbyists, the media and consumers are very quick to blame soft drink companies, fast food giants and snack food suppliers for their contribution to growing rates of overweight and obesity here in Australia.
But when you consider that our two major supermarkets control 60-70 per cent of all grocery sales in this country, perhaps it’s time to look a little more closely at what is going on behind their fresh food facades.
Think back to the last time you did a supermarket shop. You may have been lured to your local supermarket by the nightly television advertisments highlighting the delicious celebrity chef inspired recipes you can prepare at home. Or the promise of only the freshest of fruits and veggies.
Like many Australians, I spent the Christmas holidays growing as a person.
Unfortunately, I’m talking literally.
Over the summer months, I fed liberally from the five festive food groups: the rum ball group; the mayonnaise group; the house-made-of-stale-gingerbread group; the looks-like-the-placenta-scene-out-of-Poltergeist trifle group; and, of course, the furtive-third-helping-of-pavlova group.
Latest 2 of 69 commentsView all comments
Every morning I attempt to do well by the countless articles relevant to maintaining a healthy balanced diet. By the afternoon, all my good intention swirls down the throne due to a momentary lapse in judgment.
Processed sugar, the supposed poison, became something I habitually consumed to remedy the three-thirtyitis. Fine occasionally, but when I needed it every day, I began to think I had a problem.
At first I blamed boredom and a juiced up sweet tooth for my daily indulgence. This erroneous conclusion was purely based on the fact that I am one of those sorry sods who head to the gym at lunchtime to feel better about my dietary choices. And then make a bad choice because I went to the gym.
When Cancer Council Australia published its recent estimate of the number of cancer cases in Australia linked to alcohol consumption, we didn’t expect the message to be popular.
But we have a responsibility to provide independent, evidence-based information about cancer risk, enabling Australians to make informed choices.
Many people may not want to know that something as popular as alcohol consumption increases their cancer risk – but that’s what the evidence says. And we believe everyone has a right to know about that evidence, whether it’s a “good news” story or not.
Latest 2 of 99 commentsView all comments
The average guy with a few kilos to lose has no time for celebrity-endorsed weight–loss programs, according to Weight Watchers in the United States.
But he sure loves a good beer and a bit of joke at the expense of his mates, according to their new online advertising campaign (you can watch it in the video above).
You can tell a Weight Watchers “kind of guy” by one of three possible outfits.
Butter is made by the simple act of churning cream.
Margarine is a fake food that originated in a laboratory as a result of food science. It commonly contains a lengthy list of ingredients, like hydrogenated vegetable oil and artificial colours and flavours, to control its taste, texture and colour. In fact, margarine is pumped full of artificial colouring agents so it looks yellow like butter (we’re so easily fooled).
There were once laws against dying artificial foods to look like natural foods. These days our governments are rarely bothered by chemically altered concoctions posing as food. We trust science now.
People are discovering that food costs are soaring, electricity and government charges including water charges are on the increase and many families are needing to find savings in the family budget.
If recent reports by the United Nations are any indication then the savings can come from this unexpected phenomenon.
The worlwide non-profit initiative to promote Meatless Mondays and Fishless Fridays is encouraging the voluntary rationing of certain foods. This is not new as rationing was common practice during both World Wars.
Latest 2 of 125 commentsView all comments
Every single day for the past 3 years I have thought to myself, ‘I need to lose weight.’ That’s not an exaggeration. In fact I have thought it twice a day for the past 3 years.
For the record, I’m a size 12 woman, and I weigh, dare I say it, 66 kilograms. For the past 3 years I have trained with a personal trainer twice a week and played netball twice a week.
During the week I eat all the right things, on the weekend I might splurge and eat MacDonald’s and then feel extremely guilty afterwards. I’m fit, and I’m healthy. But my desire to lose weight is not to be healthy. I want to be thin. Really thin. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Latest 2 of 51 commentsView all comments
If you’re sick of swallowing all the political chatter from Jules and Tony take a break and chew on something meaningful out of America. And it’s not President Obama’s eloquent speech at the White House Ramadan dinner, where he defended plans for a mosque at Ground Zero. Rather, meet Paula Deen, the self-described ‘Queen of Southern Cooking’.
A woman that makes burgers using donuts as buns, lasagna sandwiches and single handedly butchers food to the point that she induces dry retching. The video above involving frozen cheesecake and a large pot of boiling oil should give you a sufficient introduction to Deen’s world.
As she says: “Just when you thought you couldn’t make cheesecake any better!”
Latest 2 of 31 commentsView all comments
Why is it that when a health care professional informs a morbidly obese man that he should lose some weight, that mans first reaction is to cry ‘discrimination’?
Where is the prejudice in this situation? As a society we are practically drowning in information about the inextricable link between being overweight and being unhealthy. If you think three square meals a day can be purchased through a drive-thru window, and that exercise is getting up to change the channel when you’ve lost the remote, then that should remove your right to feel offended when you’re handed an ample helping of the truth.
If someone who has spent the better part of a decade at medical school learning how to piece you back together if you break, tells you to drop a few kgs, they’re doing it for your own good.
Latest 2 of 160 commentsView all comments
It’s finally happened. I never thought I would encounter a form of junk food which repulsed me. But on a holiday to the US last month I was confronted by a foodstuff so disgusting, so evil both in design and execution, so incredibly, inedibly putrid that my entire value system has been shocked to its core.
Despite generally having a healthy diet, and spending hours flitting about the kitchen knocking up all sorts of effeminate dishes, such as a deeply suss saffron risotto with home-made chicken stock, or pesto with basil gathered from the garden in a poncy basket, I’ve long held a perverse enthusiasm for eating crap.
The crapper the better. Dodgy kebabs, late-night chiko rolls, shallow-fried at home out of the box hidden in the back of the freezer, even those mysterious Hot Pizza Heroes from the local servo, turbo-charged before microwaving with the addition of extra cheese and half a handful of jalapeños.
Latest 2 of 172 commentsView all comments
How times change. When I started working in an office a little over 20 years ago, you could still smoke at your desk. In fact, when you were shown the stationary cabinet on your first day in a new job you could kit yourself out with a stapler and sticky-tape dispenser as well as an ashtray.
In those days, ‘smoking or non-smoking?’ was an everyday question when checking in for an airline flight’, you watched the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup over summer and the Winfield Cup over winter and the back cover of almost every women’s magazine carried an ad featuring an attractive blonde, a beach, acres of cheesecloth and a packet Alpine.
At about the same time blokes would go to the beach in the middle of the day, shirtless and hatless, while women would lay for hours baking themselves to a golden brown while occasionally basting themselves with coconut oil. Sun protection was not standard work issue for workers out of doors and sunshirts and sensible hats had the same sartorial appeal as sandals with long socks.
ALMOST 70 per cent of men say that a woman’s face is much more important than her breasts, legs or figure, a Punch survey of male attitudes on female body image has found.
And almost two-thirds of men believe that women spend far too much time worrying about their appearance, and should spend less time fretting about what men think - because you are all much hotter than you think you are.
The Punch has today assembled this special package of pieces about female body image through the eyes of blokes. Much of it is framed around our 100-man survey, but also includes columnist Joe Hildebrand talking about his love of fat chicks and former Zoo Weekly online editor Chris Deal’s essay on why men are as dumb as you probably suspect they are.
Latest 2 of 66 commentsView all comments
A little known fact I like to trot out at feminist rallies and family gatherings is that I use to work for the esteemed gentlemen’s periodical, Zoo Weekly magazine. Officially my title was Online Editor, but unofficially it was You Tube surfer and talker to the hottest chicks planet earth has ever produced.
Sadly my tenure at the Encyclopaedia Tit-tanica was brief, and a decision that to the male ego sounds like the frothy rantings of a mad man. In bloke-speak the phrase “I quit a job at Zoo Weekly” roughly translates to “I’m a frightful shirtlifter, pass the amyl and pump up the Right Said Fred”.
But after I’ve stopped trying to use my penis for a brain, not only is the fleshy mirage of life at a lad’s mag revealed, but so too are a few finer points of the deluded male mind.
These are the raw numbers for the female body image survey.
1. Which of these physical qualities do you value most highly in a woman?
A.) Pretty face 68
B.) Great breasts 8
C.) Nice legs 8
D.) Perfect fat-free figure 16
Latest 2 of 12 commentsView all comments
Hi. My name is Ashlee. I’m a 24 year old Australian woman. I have a relatively successful media career for my age, given the current economic climate. I currently live and work in Indonesia. I have always tried to give back to the communities in which I live through volunteering and I don’t have a criminal record. I do have a gym membership though. I’m doing OK. Oh, but I forgot to add, I am fat.
Actually, I should say obese, according to my BMI.
And apparently this makes me some kind of social pariah who should be the target of intense public ridicule and scorn, no matter what food I may or may not put in my mouth, no matter how many times a week I work out.
David Penberthy’s health sandwich is laden with a generous helping of cynicism and a pinch of exaggeration.
By calling for a reduction of the harmful fats in our food, Bob Carr is not seeking to ban fast food outlets. Instead, he is highlighting how easy it would be to make our takeaway foods substantially healthier.
Australians love to eat out - nearly one in three of us do so almost every day, which adds up to a massive 3.8 billion meals eaten out every year.
Latest 2 of 7 commentsView all comments
Our supposedly classless society is showing signs of being divided into two camps where people’s private choices as individuals and their behaviour as families are regulated on the basis of their affluence.
And it’s in the area of nutrition, preventative health and exercise where the working class, for want of a better term, is increasingly being treated like a bunch of babies, while the more affluent members of society continue to live as they please.
It’s only a small thing but it’s a signifier for the times, a demonstration of a mindset which holds that working class people are unable to modify their behaviour, while the gentry can be trusted to keep its conduct in check. But get along to the SCG, that great people’s arena, where our knockabout, egalitarian society lets the members drink as much full-strength beer as they want and limits the great unwashed to light beer.
Several years ago scientist David Suzuki observed that humans have an innate need to be connected with nature, even if it’s only a nearby park or a tree in the backyard.
Australians, who have always expressed nature as part of their national identity, are manifesting this observation more than ever before.
In a recent study looking at a range of social issues related to modern living a surprisingly high number of participants reported growing their own vegetables or herbs at home.
Restaurant award season is finally over. But I’m wondering if anybody really cares outside those who won gongs from the Sydney Morning Good Food Guide this week, The Age version last week and Gourmet Traveller the week before.
Certainly, there has barely been a blip in the blogger or Twitter sphere.
Once again, the old-media appointed arbiters of taste have taken one for the team by eating the finest foods known to Aussies with the usual predictable conclusions: plenty of excellent but very very expensive restaurants in Sydney; only two of these in Melbourne plus lots of very good moderately priced restaurants; not much else in Australia. Forget Tasmania.
Does anyone else find it quite frankly perverse that in affluent first-world Australia so much time is spent fretting about the supposed weight problems of our children when UNICEF figures show five thousand kids across the globe die every day essentially because they can’t get a clean glass of water?
I sure as hell do. But here we go again. Last week the Rudd Government’s Preventative Health Task Force Report called for a ban on junk food advertising on TV before 9:00pm and for the use of toys, cartoon characters and celebrities that appeal to children to be phased out. But the Australian Communications and Media Authority is against the banning of those TV ads.
The reaction? A seething white-hot fury coming from nice middle class homes all over Sydney. How can anyone possibly put corporate profits before our kids’ health?
Latest 2 of 42 commentsView all comments
It’s that time of year, isn’t it? When the intention to eat healthily just doesn’t result in the same. Puritanical thoughts of eating only soup for dinner somehow morph into soup plus half a loaf of buttery toast. Steamed fish and vegies ends up as steak with cheesy potato bake.
A roast with all the trimmings is a regular occurrence and apple crumble is, somehow, always okay. Yes, the winter weather is dictating my diet and I have no choice, do I? It’s rather impossible not to put on the “winter two”. Or three, or four.
And as we reach August, this means I’m stuck wearing what fits. One, my fat jeans, or two, my leggings - marvellous creations with lots of stretch. But of course, I’m sick of both. (See boys, when we say “I don’t have anything to wear”, we often mean “I can’t fit into anything in my wardrobe”). I’m afraid that looking great in winter is only achievable if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. Aka, Wonder Woman.
Latest 2 of 13 commentsView all comments
I’ve long suspected what the secret to happiness is, and now I’ve got proof. It comes courtesy of the Nerve Gut Research Laboratory at the University of Adelaide.
It’s not love or money or success.
It’s definitely not in a self-help book.
It’s a good sleep and a good poo. It’s that easy.
Latest 2 of 16 commentsView all comments
Enforcing a blanket ban on advertising certain foods to children is not the answer to solving Australia’s obesity problem.
Activists and some politicians bleating for a ban on advertising high fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) foods on all media before 9pm need to get real.
Arguing that television adverts for HFSS foods are almost totally responsible for making people overweight, especially children, is an extraordinary leap of logic.
Latest 2 of 11 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…