People are tiring of self-appointed experts telling them that this food is ‘poison’ and that one is as good as a ‘medicine’. I don’t blame them. There’s such a glut of crazy fad diets and a considerable amount of makey-up nonsensical nutrition in vogue that many are simply overwhelmed, disillusioned and end up feeling cynical about the connections between food and health.
Most of us are looking for practical wellness solutions. In other words, what are the little things we can do which we fundamentally know and believe are sustainable, affordable and add up to better health.
With the societal focus more on inches and pounds and not on improving overall health and fitness we really lose sight of the prize. The bottom line is that while fad diets may take the weight off, they are hard to adhere to and don’t teach us how to keep it off in the long term.
Repeated weight fluctuations have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, secondary diabetes and gall bladder disease. Yo-yo dieting may not permanently slow the metabolism as we once thought, but it’s bad for our psychological health. Every time we regain weight it lowers our confidence and self-esteem.
If you’re struggling to feel fit and well, you’re in good company. One in two Irish people are now classified as overweight or obese and suffering from the ‘sitting disease’. Many of us over the age of fifty have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Others have low iron, calcium or vitamin D intakes.
It’s on-going challenge to balance long working and commuting times with less time preparing family meals or in activity. Sometimes the price is poor nourishment, fatigue, a compromised immune system and an increased risk of disease.
Wellness, I believe, is not simply the absence of illness or disease. It’s not black or white. There are many complexities and it’s all about balance.
My interest in health promotion and nutrition education keeps me hungry for necessary change. We need agriculture and environmental change; food production and serving sizes changes; the cost of food and wastage change; health service changes and personal responsibility.
I believe people can and do change. I see the evidence weekly in my clinic and work. There’s an appetite for transformation now. Embrace life and be part of the revolution.