Everyone knows that to lose weight you have to eat less and move more. The real question is: how much? How much more do we need to flog ourselves at the gym? Every day? Five times a week? Three?
First time exercisers invariably decide they must slog it out at the gym every day, only to give up completely when they realise it’s not sustainable.
Been there. Done that.
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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.
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Hands up if you’ve stepped on the scales yet this year? Well, I have, and it’s not pretty.
In 2011, I dropped a whopping 20 kilograms by improving my diet and beginning to exercise. In 2012, I put 8 kilograms back on, by pretty much doing the reverse. I’m not alone: many people who lose weight put it back on as old habits return. And I’m hardly surprised: I remember all the chocolate bars, serves of chips, bottles of wine and nights on the couch that explain my regain.
But, alarmed at the prospect of becoming the next Oprah or Kirstie Alley, I’ve decided it’s time to reverse the slide. And I’m going to do it the only way I know how – with economics. The federal government’s budget bottom line may be blowing out, but I’m determined to get mine under control. Today I weigh 74.7 kilograms. By the federal budget in May, I vow to weigh 65 kilograms. To do this I will need to become the Treasurer of my own body.
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Jamie Briggs is a mongrel.
As my on-air debating partner, Jamie - the Liberal Member for Mayo - and I both cut tubby figures with rubbery jawlines. We were comfortable in our overweight skins. We happily pontificated about politics and confirmed every prejudice about politicians being overfed and under-exercised.
Watching us, the viewing public rested easily knowing that life was predictable and the universe was aligned.
WhenI started this column, I vowed I wouldn’t write about my weight. Or diets. I figured if you’re female, you have enough going on in your own head. If you’re male, well, you don’t need it confirmed that we’re all bonkers.
But I’m not one for self-imposed rules. And with so many young women seeing body image as the greatest concern of their lives, I don’t think ignoring it is going to help. So, let’s talk about weight. We’ll start with mine.
For the past few years, I’ve had no idea what I weigh. I’m a words, not a numbers girl, so rather than curse the scales, I’ll realise my thighs feel a bit flabby, or – as has been the case this autumn – my jeans are a bit tight.
There was some interesting opinion ping-pong going on between The Punch and the ABC’s The Drum opinion site this week. On The Punch, dietician Susie Burrell advised ditching friends who “drink too much, eat too much and are overweight” and who encouraged the same unhealthy habits in us.
Over on the ABC site, an outraged Lydia Jade Turner, clinical director at BodyMatters Australasia, hit back at Burrell’s take on obesity point for point.
The two made interesting reading, and I was happily making my way to the end of Turner’s piece when one sentence gave me pause. She stated: “The best thing we can do for our health is focus on health-giving behaviours, and allow our weight to fall where it will.”
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A new person entering a small workplace will inevitably alter the human equilibrium. Just as chaos theory predicts the fluttering of a butterfly wing can cause a cataclysmic event, the introduction of small habits can have big consequences.
Enter Jo: a talented, hard working and very personable colleague who has wonderfully enhanced our office in every respect… bar one. Jo has brought a coffee machine. As a garnish to the coffee she has beside her desk a jar of chocolates.
In many ways my life has been characterised by a stormy relationship with chocolate. True it is that in a world of shifting sands and moving goal posts chocolate has been a constant friend delivering consistent satisfaction on demand. Yet the legacy on my waist has been a girth approaching the dimensions of the MCG.
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There’s a steaming pile of rubbish out there about health. There’s plenty of money to be made from offering too-good-to-be-true remedies.
Yesterday I was writing a couple of news stories about ways in which people get bamboozled by health-related information and then I started firing up a Punch piece on them. Then I realised I’d written it all before. Bullshit is everywhere, and it’s a billion-dollar industry and people want magic pills.
So rather than repeat myself I thought I’d just list five of the stories that have crossed my desk recently and made me want to tear out my hair and run screaming into the street. And if you know of others, let me know. It’s not that we ever run short of subjects for The Punch’s regular I Call Bullshit column, but there’s a sadistic pleasure in seeing that particular cup runneth over.
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As politicians reconvened in Canberra this week, Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull was asked how he’d managed to shed 14kg over the summer hiatus.
“I’ll tell you what I’ve learnt,” he responded. “This may seem like a penetrating glimpse of the obvious – but it is an insight that most of us ignore because it is too painful: the way to lose weight is to eat less.”
Let’s hear that again.
“The way to lose weight is to eat less.”
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“Some day, far into the future, this here machine will become a powerful medium with the potential to unite nations and inspire common folk through high-definition images of overweight D-list celebrities struggling to run and weeping atop rowing machines”.
Do you know to whom this quote - which is believed to have been uttered at the unveiling of the first television set - is most commonly attributed to?
Nobody. Absolutely no one said this.
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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.
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Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column where we pick apart mischievous misrepresentations, balderdash, and outright bunkum. This week, with bulging bellies, blurry brains and labouring livers, we’re taking a look at detox diets.
It’s easy to see the appeal of a detox. You’ve been shovelling twenty kinds of crap into your poor system, you can sense it’s struggling to cope, and you want to turn back the clock.
Like a very Earthly Confession, you want to wipe away your sins with a few Hail Marys, some lemons and dash of cayenne.
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I caught up with a group of old workmates just before Christmas and couldn’t believe my eyes.
In the 12 months since our last festive fizz, they’d all shrunk – and by a sizeable amount.
“I’ve lost 16 kilos,” cried one gleefully.
“Ten!” said another.
“More than 20,” said a third.
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I like the name ‘Nestlé’.
You can say it softly (nestle) or with that European flamboyance (Nestlé!).
And there’s just something about the logo that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
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Damn it’s tough to lose weight in mid-age.
I think back to my 20s and 30s when see sawing weight meant gaining just a few kilos and the top end of my weight spectrum was 12 kilos lighter than I am now.
I tried a personal trainer but having to drive across the city to exercise in the dark was a drag.
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