Have you seen the news today? Obesity is the new smoking. Obesity and the related health problems has overtaken smoking as the biggest drain on the NHS. It is reported that 35% of men and 32% of women are classified as obese and the impact of this is costing the NHS billions.
So the proposal to tackle this escalating problem is to offer those affected, a slimming class programme prescribed by your GP and paid for by the NHS. £100 to try and curb the problem. Sounds great doesn’t it? What’s the catch? Well the catch is it just won’t work in the long run!
To start with it has been shown that generally, unless people want something for themselves and have to pay for something themselves they don’t value it as much and therefore the success rate is lower than those who have had to sacrifice something in order to achieve their goal. Instead of not buying a takeaway they could choose to spend that money attending a slimming class. If it is already paid for then there is still the extra cash available for the class AND the takeaway / chocolate / beer / wine etc etc. Where’s the incentive?
But my main problem with this concept is that diets just don’t work. Our minds are easily conditioned and for most, the word diet is associated with restrictions, deprivation and general misery. The concept of going ‘on’ something will lead us to an inevitable conclusion of coming ‘off’ something. We go ‘on’ a train for instance and then we get ‘off’ at our destination. So following that line of thought, if when we want to lose weight we go ‘on’ a diet when we have lost the weight we will come ‘off’ the diet. Coming off a diet in our minds is associated with freedom, plenitude and happiness so we eat the biscuits, drink a bit more, have a takeaway, it’s ok because we’re allowed, because we’re not on a diet are we? What has be shown to happen is that the weight returns very quickly and in some cases the excess weight actually increases. Then we go ‘on’ another diet and repeat the cycle, this is know as yo-yo dieting.
There is no magic secret solution to losing weight. There never has been. We all know that a healthy diet and exercise will keep us in optimum condition. Pies, pastries, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, alcohol, cream, takeaways, chips, should be taken in moderation occasionally and fresh fruit, veg, protein, good fats, soya, oats should be used more liberally alongside a regular exercise regime. It’s not about food with points or free foods, superfree foods, red days, green days, no fat, low fat, cabbage diets, 5:2 diets, protein only, no carbs or whatever the latest fad is. It is very simply eating the right things and exercising.
So why aren’t we all following this? It doesn’t cost the NHS anything, doesn’t involve going to a slimming class, is easy to follow but needs some discipline and motivation. Does the following ring any bells or get you nodding your head in agreement?
When you were young how were you rewarded for good behaviour, what was considered a treat? A new toy? A trip to the cinema? In all probability, the treat was some sweets, or a chocolate bar, maybe a trip to McDonalds for a happy meal (other burger and fast food outlets are also available). When you parent wanted to keep you quiet in the supermarket or when you were out did they give you sweets, chocolate, ice cream, chips? This list could go on. When you were feeing poorly or needed comforting, were you given a hug and a shoulder or were you given cake/ biscuits, or a hearty meal of pie and mash or even as you got older taken down to the pub to ‘drown your sorrows’? Fast forward twenty or so years. When your child, (or someone you love) deserves a treat what do you give them? When your child is screaming in the aisle of the supermarket, what do you give them to keep them quiet? When you’re out and about do they get ice cream every time? If they’re not well, feeling low, need cheering up do they get hearty, warming comforting meals with a nice pudding to cheer them up?
This is the key to the obesity problem . The emotional attachment we all have to food. For some it is their best friend, for some it is their worst enemy. For some it is an addiction and for others it is a poison. But we all have a deep rooted emotional attachment to something that we HAVE to consume to stay alive. No slimming class will deal with this emotional attachment and that is why no ‘diet’ will ever be a long term solution.
I see people all the time in my clinic, people who have struggled with their weight for many years and it is only when someone like me, reprogrammes their minds to remove the emotional attachment and put in a new programme of a healthier version that the long term changes are made. Hypnosis is a very powerful tool in dealing with removing / changing unwanted, unhealthy thinking patterns and replacing them a motivated, enthusiastic and healthy programme that can be followed for life. Nigella Lawson, Adele, Lily Allen, Sarah Ferguson are just a few of the celebrity names who have used weight loss hypnotherapy to achieve a healthy and sustainable weight loss.
So maybe the NHS needs to follow this path and address the cause of the problem and not just the symptom. Then and only then is a long term sustained weight loss going to be achieved. Are you listening NHS????