Give your system a well-earned break

Increasingly poor diet and a lack of exercise will bring about a sorry state affairs

Share

Every day, we are assailed with rather alarming statistics about the nation's health. The one which caught my eye recently was that, by the year 2030, three-quarters of British men will be overweight or obese. Blimey. By the time the 2030 World Cup comes along, we'll have difficulty finding 11 men fit enough to take the field, never mind have a chance of winning.

A perfect storm of lifestyle factors - increasingly poor diet and a lack of exercise - will bring about this sorry state affairs, according to a pan-European study by the World Health Organisation, which took in 53 countries and which revealed some scarcely believable regional variations. In stark comparison with Britain, only 15 per cent of men in Belgium will be obese by 2030. When we're lagging massively behind a country whose contribution to global cuisine is chips and mayonnaise, it's obvious things are pretty bad.

However grim the predictions, I have a very real statistic which concerns me: the daily reading on my weighing scales. With this is in mind - and obviously not wishing to add to Britain's future health crisis - I took myself off to a clinic in Austria where they don't mess about when it comes to inflicting denial on a person.

I am paying for the privilege of eating nothing more than a yogurt and a small bowl of broth every day, but here they believe that your system deserves a rest. It's all about the guts. And given that a week ago my lunch comprised asparagus with gulls' eggs, followed by roasted turbot in lemon and fennel sauce, and complemented by the finest wines from Bordeaux, they could probably hear my intestines screaming for mercy from miles away.

I am nothing if not generous in my dispensation of advice in this column, so I'll pass on what I've learned without your having the expense and trouble of going to Austria, not to mention the hardship. First, it's quite possible to survive quite cheerfully on relatively minuscule amounts of food. Try it. We tend to eat vastly too much, and two handfuls of food is as much as you need at any meal time. And if you eat slowly - here, they say you should chew each mouthful at least 20 times - it's possible to feel satiated with a hugely diminished intake.

We all attended a lecture the other night on the dos and don'ts of this particular regime, which is less the 5:2 diet than the 0:7 diet. For example, uncooked food is strictly verboten in the evenings: in fact, no raw after four is the mantra. When it came to questions, the British people in the gathering had only one area of interest. What about alcohol? It was a curious form of plea bargaining. If we have to drink, what should we choose? Alcohol is a poison, came the response. When pressed, the lecturer said that to have one or two glasses of wine a month (yes, I know) was acceptable. When pressed further, she said a bitter spirit is ok for an aperitif. Afterwards, I was left with one thought: salad bad, Campari good. That was almost certainly not the message I was meant to take back home to the land of the obese.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee