Let's stop 'normalising' being overweight

Last updated 06:00 20/02/2014
WAY OF LIFE: Clare Scott and her children in their cycle trailer getting ready for a trip into town.

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New Zealand is fat - there's no arguing that.

We aren't alone. The United States, Canada, Great Britain, the Persian Gulf, Mexico, all fat. It's a problem that covers the globe and it's killing us.

The issue is complex, with multi-faceted causes and complications, but at the same time, it's really simple. 

Our modern lifestyle and diet is appalling. Health and wellbeing have fallen by the wayside, while convenience and speed have taken over.

Most people these days actually have to try to get some exercise, which is not how it used to be.

Back in the day (and still in many areas of the world) your life was movement - carrying heavy things and walking long distances was normal.

Now, the most exercise most people get 'naturally' is hanging up the washing.

If you think about it, it's not hard to put the pieces together. We get up, sit down to eat our sugary (yes, that includes Weetbix) breakfast, sit in the car, sit at our desks, sit in our car, sit for a quick dinner, then sit and watch TV.

Now combine that with eating a diet that far exceeds the recommended amount of sugar we should be getting. It's not just the sugar in your coffee, but breakfast cereals, energy bars, curry paste, yoghurt, croissants and baked beans are all full of sugar.

Now add a few biscuits to your supposedly healthy diet of flavored yogurt and Raisin Bran, you've got a sugar explosion in your sedentary body.

It is no wonder that heart disease and diabetes are killing so many people.

Because our normal, accepted lifestyle and diet is so bad for us, we need to make a conscious daily effort to break the mold.

Cycle to work, don't drive. Walk to the shops, don't drive. Basically, ditch the car whenever humanly possible.

And ditch the sugar and refined grains. There is so much to say about the health risks associated with sugar, but research for it for yourself. This is a good place to start.

We can't have our cake and eat it too. This isn't about diets or joining the gym. This is about a major lifestyle overhaul for most people.

As a fitness instructor, I'm not going to mince words. We need to start educating ourselves and each other.

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We need to bring the message to schools and parents, to GPs who prescribe meds instead of looking at diet and activity, to preachers and teachers, to hospitals and corporations.

We need to wake up to the fact that we are doing ourselves, our families and our communities no good by continuing as if our dismal state of health is just normal.

Let's stop normalising being overweight and unhealthy and get off our butts and move. We've just got to do it.

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