Mark Hopkins and David Watchorn of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of Rosemary Conley Food & Fitness Ltd on 3rd of Feb 2014. The Joint Administrators manage the affairs, business and property of the company as agents and act without personal liability.

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Rosemary Conley writes June edition

Turning the tide on obesity

Why is the nation getting fatter and what can we do to stop it? Rosemary reveals how she changed her lifestyle to avoid being a slave to food...

There is rarely a day goes past without some story appearing in the news that relates to obesity. Never before, in the history of the world, has there been so many folk who are so drastically overweight.

The statistics tell us that 66% of men and 61% of women are overweight or obese. But what does that mean?

We know we should aim to have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of between 18.5 and 25 to be considered in a healthy weight range. If your BMI is over 25 you are considered overweight, over 30 is described as obese and 40 or more is described as morbidly obese.

The BMI calculation isn’t ideal because it doesn’t take into account whether you are an athlete or an ordinary person, which means that if you did the BMI calculation on a rugby player like Johnny Wilkinson it would say he is obese. We all know he most definitely isn’t. He is just a finely tuned, super-fit, super-lean, super-strong athlete. Sadly, as none of we normal human beings fall into this category, we will ignore the inaccuracies of this otherwise worthy calculation.

So, only 34% of men and 39% of women in the UK have a healthy BMI and a shocking 24% of men and 26% of women – that’s around a quarter of the population - are classed as obese which means that their health is at real risk because they are overweight by at least three stone. In 1993 only 13% of men and 16% of women were obese.

So why is the nation getting fatter?

It has to be due to our changing lifestyle. Most of us have automatic washing machines, tumble dryers, dish washers, cars, mobile phones, DVD players, microwaves, laptops, PCs, iPads and lots more, which all make our lives easier. We can order our food online and get it delivered to our door. We can select a beautiful dress online for a party on Saturday and have it delivered by 9 the next morning. In fact, recently one of my colleagues ordered a new dress online and it was delivered to our offices within 90 minutes!

How different is all of this compared with 40 years ago? I was a relatively newly-wed then and I did my shopping at lunchtime in town, caught the bus home but had to walk a mile from the bus stop to our flat, laden and exhausted. I didn’t need to take up a sport or go to a fitness class to keep fit. Everyday living was enough to keep me healthy. So how did I become overweight? Very simply, I ate too much.

I loved cooking back then, and had taken a Cordon Bleu cookery course, which taught me how to prepare some pretty exotic but incredibly delicious menus. My husband and I would entertain our friends and I would clear up all the leftovers! It was no wonder I gained two and a half stone! But I was becoming addicted to food and my life revolved around every mealtime. It was an unhealthy place to be. I would binge then starve, binge and starve. It was a crazy time in my life and no one knew I was doing it and I was becoming a slave to food. I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

It all changed in 1986 when I had to follow a low fat diet to avoid surgery for gall stones. Suddenly I lost weight without even trying – just by cutting right down on my fat consumption. Over time I gained confidence in my eating and soon I was able to eat three good meals a day of low fat food and yet be slimmer than I had been for years. And then my attitude to food changed. I no longer was a slave to food and food gradually slipped into a totally different role in my life. It became just fuel to give me the energy to do what I wanted to do in my life which become filled with other interests – not food. That same feeling has been with me for 27 years now and whilst my weight might fluctuate by a couple of pounds, I manage to keep my weight down by following a healthy lifestyle of low fat eating, plenty of activity combined with lots of interests outside of food.

There is no quick fix to weight loss

So how do I feel when I see someone who is morbidly obese? Do I feel tempted to go up to them and say ‘why don’t you lose weight? You would feel so much better if you did’. No. I don’t because I know only too well that if you are going to lose weight you need to want to do it yourself – in your heart and with dedication. Losing weight takes time and willpower, determination and discipline, planning and patience. There is no quick fix but if we decide to do it the results are incredibly rewarding.

Usually something happens that makes you decide the time is right. Maybe your child is being bullied at school because you are a very overweight parent, (I know that sounds ridiculous but it happens). Perhaps it was because you couldn’t fit on a ride at Alton Towers or because you needed and extension seatbelt on the aircraft or you saw yourself in a video or photograph. Whatever it was, something hit home that you needed to take action and suddenly, deciding to lose weight wasn’t an option, it was a necessity. Then you take action. Nobody can make that decision for you. It has to be your decision and yours alone.

When you make that decision you may find that you can lose weight on your own with the help of information that you find in a magazine like this, or by watching our free internet TV channel but if you find you need more help and personal support consider joining one of our classes or our online club. All the details are on our website. It is all about finding the right support for you as an individual but one thing is certain. Whatever you decide to do it must become part of your lifestyle, not a quick fix, otherwise you will regain your weight.

"We only have one life. Let’s live it and love it!"

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