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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments