10 ways to beat obesity, the demon within

TEMPTING FATE: There is a consequence to every indulgence.
TEMPTING FATE: There is a consequence to every indulgence.

What sinister forces are at play when - in spite of everything you've read and heard about healthy eating guidelines, obesity and diabetes - you still choose the burger over the salad, sugary soft drink over water, fried chicken over salmon?

According to the 2013 Ministry of Health annual report, more than a million New Zealanders are obese. It's not just us, either; our children will have a shorter life expectancy. It will all cost hundreds of billions of dollars in the years to come.

We are gradually killing ourselves with food. Days off work. Certain cancers. Diabetes. Strokes. Heart attacks. All caused by the chemicals in food and drinks we digest each day, year after year. How many billions of dollars in productivity are lost to sickness, hangovers and gastro? It's time to make a change.

Here are 10 ways to silence the demon inside you:

1. Be honest

Admit you've got a problem and get help. Women tend to talk about their feelings and seek help. Men? You need to man up and tell your partner you want to make a change, or find a mate that can become your partner in health and fitness. It's all part of the process.

2. Stop waiting

Doctors receive little to no training on nutrition and fitness - they dish out pills, not healthy diet plans. Major pharmaceutical companies love this. Stop waiting for the cure ... we all know what preventative measures we can take in the gym and kitchen. They are the only cures we've got.

3. Build strength

A man (and woman) should have a certain level of strength. Build some strength with push-ups. All of us should able to do 20 push-ups, because more muscle means less fat.

4. Get cardio fit

Run, because you shouldn't struggle to reach the top of the stairs. If there's trouble, we should all be able to run for safety, and for weight loss. Running still works.

5. Invest in your health

Organic meats, leafy greens and fresh fruits may be a bit more pricey, but we must think of food as an investment in health and preventing sickness. Same goes for an investment in fitness.

6. Think about the benefits ... like sex

Being fit for sex is fun; going to bed with a food coma and an unsatisfied partner is not. Choose a naughty cuddle over cake. Beyond sex, making a healthy change has endless benefits ... looking better and feeling better is living better. A healthier mother and father are better parents, and those parents can pass along healthy habits to their children so we can stop this cycle of obesity for good.

7. Be patient

Losing five kilograms in a month is achievable for all. How quickly does a year pass? No matter what your ideal weight is, just give yourself six months of healthier living, and you can change your life forever.

8. Think

Think about this: everything that goes from hand to mouth is either helping you, or it's helping kill you. Try thinking like this for one day, then two ... then one week.

9. Take the time, and make the time

Life won't stop if you're not in the office for an hour while exercising. Life does stop when you're in the hospital due to obesity-related disease. Five hours is 4 per cent of your week. Get moving.

10. Get serious

Joking at work on Monday morning about our beer guts and how many champagnes we consumed at the races is cliche. New Zealanders needs to start treating obesity like the internet is down. Like the car is broken. Like the television doesn't work. What do you do? You get angry, then you get serious and fix it.

What's holding you back from a healthy life, and what will you do to change it?

Sydney Morning Herald