Fast food brands & their healthy partnerships: Care or Con?

As more and more fast food brands partner with ‘healthy’ companies it seems that the only thing healthy to be got from the situation is the size of their bank balance.

It has been reported that many fast food chains did reasonably well in the recession as consumers opted to purchase cheaper items like bottles of soda over health food with higher price tags.

Now, after recession, there seems to be something else that is helping them out – and that’s selling on the back of a health brand. The consumer gets more health conscious by the day, and unfortunately, so do the marketing companies.

The Biggest Loser joined forces with Domino’s Pizza under the shade of wanting to promote the Domino’s ‘healthy range’ which is a small selection of reduced fat and sodium pizzas.

However the marketers spin it – which they do, and they do well – Dominoes is still a pizza company. It still sells extremely unhealthy food that does not sit with the Biggest Loser brand. Their ‘good choice range’ does of course, but if you look at the menu as a whole and the percentage of healthy offers compared to unhealthy, and possibly compare the increase in sales across both ranges, then you can safely see that on the back of the ‘healthy team up’ they have increased sales of unhealthy food.

And it is happening across the board, with McDonald’s and Weight Watchers making a partnership and Nestle buying Jenny Craig.

But you have to ask yourself, if they really cared so much about health, would they make such unhealthy partnerships?

The great weight loss plans

Quick fixes are devised as a way of drawing people in and are the easiest traps to fall into. Celebrity workout videos and promises that in two days time you’ll have the body of your lifetime are sometimes too tempting to pass on.

However, you have to ask yourself… how often does one of these ‘new regimes’ and new diet plans happen? It’s simply not possible that each week there’s a new scientific breakthrough or development.

In fact, after 13 years using the same system, Weight Watchers has completely overhauled its ‘points scheme’ saying that ‘more has become known about the science behind weight loss’… which isn’t exactly ideal for those who have been following the program for 13 years!

There were some unusual comparisons to be seen with the old Weight Watchers points program – a breakfast for example consisting of a croissant and butter had the same points value as a breakfast of toast, ham and eggs as long as it contained the same number of calories – however, now Weight Watchers has added a point to the croissant because of the difference in nutritional value. So, after 13 years, we’re now being told the old idea was wrong and this new idea is correct. It leaves a lot of people left wondering where all their time and energy went.

The important thing to remember, with all diets and regimes, is that they are asking you for a commitment – the results don’t simply come from doing nothing – and it’s this concept that should be taken away and worked on.

Good results don’t come from doing nothing whichever diet you choose to follow. However, if you applied this notion to your physical workout and showed the same kind of commitment there, then the results would probably be much greater and sooner. And remember… there are no fads with exercise, just time and commitment!

Reflection Time

With January now over and February well on its way to becoming a month of ‘making up for lost time’, half of us begin to become less motivated and half of us reflect on the year to come with a sense of hope…

Now is the time to really reflect on our behaviour. What happened in 2010? What went right? What went wrong? Did we manage to make any changes in January at all?

If you find that February has come around and you are still thinking about what you ‘should’ do without actually doing it, then now more than ever is the time to make that change. It’s still the start of the year and a real difference can be made.

If the idea of throwing yourself into the deep end scares you… or you can do this but you only tend to be able to do it for a few days, then just take a small step to begin with. Book a Pilates class or clean out your cupboards. You will be amazed how much of a difference this one small step can make. It will make you feel completely motivated and help lay some very important foundations when it comes to feeling like you can achieve your goals.

Behavioural changes are the most important aspect of becoming motivated – after all, as the famous saying goes… ‘People do not attract that which they want, but that which they are’.

It is only once you actually become the person you want to be… and not just try and ‘think’ or ‘will’ yourself into being a certain way, that you will be able to live the life you want.

So, if you’ve started off badly this year, make real behavioural changes and have the 2011 you deserve.

The psychology of working together

The first thing you want to do whenever anybody TELLS you to do something is not do it. There’s nothing motivational about being screamed at, yelled at and having demands made of you. It’s totally understandable that some fitness experts believe this to be the way forward, but really, when you think about it… does this motivate you? In any relationship, being told what to do is not constructive and instantly builds resistance. For both Personal Trainer and the person in training, it’s important to listen to what the other one is saying. A mutual understanding of what each person expects from the other one will get fantastic results. The most important thing here is for this to be reciprocal. As a Personal Trainer it’s important to know what really matters to the person you’re training and what will motivate them without the need of screaming at them. As the person training, you need to understand that your Trainer is there to help, not to badger you, and that they want the results just as much as you do. It’s this connection that will see the best results for both parties. What motivates one person may not motivate the other, so take time to listen to the needs of the person you are training. When working under the guidance of someone else, be clear about what your goals are and what your main point of inspiration is. The clearer the relationship between the trainer and the trainee, the quicker, easier and happier you’ll both reach your goals.

Who do you turn to for advice?

These days everyone is full of advice – your friends, your parents, your colleagues, the internet – it’s often hard to know who to listen to and who not to. Your doctor may advise that you listen to no one but them – including even your Personal Trainer. But how far should you take even this advice? And how do you know who is speaking with your sole interests at heart?

 There has been a lot of bureaucratic nonsense flying around of late, especially when it comes to advising about the health factors involved with diabetes. The medical councils and professionals are saying that fitness instructors shouldn’t be giving out advice, which seems a tad far-fetched considering many fitness professionals have the skill and the training to be able to speak on such matters.

It doesn’t help that these bodies are trying to tighten the reins on just who can give health advice yet aren’t pushing more people through the system. There is a distinctive lack of nurses, doctors and exercise physiologists at the moment and even less people who seem keen to take up the training.

It’s also your Personal Trainer who you’re more likely to see on a day-to-day basis, so to be able to get advice you can trust from them, will make more of an impact then a monthly appointment with the doc.

Of course it’s important to know who you can trust and who is giving the most valid advice. But when it comes to your Personal Trainer, they live and breathe health. They live and breathe YOUR health. There are no ulterior motives, no hidden reason for giving you any other advice apart from the correct advice. Personal Trainers want only one thing and that’s to make you fitter. This is how they make their living, so obviously you can trust that when they give you their opinion, it will be an honest, well-educated one.

Ignorance is bliss – but it’s not very healthy

In any area of your life, to be successful, you need motivation, a strong will and the sheer desire to see something through to the end. Be it in your working life or even just becoming good at a new hobby.

A massive amount of people are very unaware just exactly what is involved when it comes to their health and fitness, and often have no idea about the amount of work it takes to attain a healthy well-balanced lifestyle. It takes extreme dedication, hard work and a huge amount of personal motivation to attain the perfect shape.

 Just because the person next to you isn’t exercising or working out regularly doesn’t mean that you should do the same. Following the crowd and living in ignorance will never get you anywhere. Just because everyone else does it, doesn’t mean that you should too. When it comes to your personal well-being, this kind of ignorance is the first thing you need to get rid of. When you understand exactly how hard it is to get in shape then you’re taking the first step to do doing it. Ignorance may be bliss, but it certainly isn’t when your health is involved. It doesn’t pay to be ignorant about your health and it doesn’t pay to follow the crowd.

Even if the person you’re following is living a nice and healthy lifestyle (which of course, in comparison, is a far better role model), it is also important to get your personal health and exercise regime correct. What works for someone else may not work for you.

So, get wise to what’s involved, stop doing what others do, and work on a regime that suits YOU!

Diabetes – It’s Preventable!

An estimated 285 million people worldwide are living with diabetes – this corresponds to a shocking 6.4% of the world’s adult population.

About 90-95% of all people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes (the other being juvenile diabetes which cannot be prevented).

An incredible 80% of type 2 sufferers could have prevented this by changing diet, increasing physical activity and improving their general lifestyle.

It has been estimated that one person every seven minutes gets diagnosed with diabetes. The rate at which the condition is appearing in modern-day society is alarming – especially when you consider that type 2 can be prevented by the individual.

Almost a century ago diabetes wasn’t even a problem – and today it is one of the major killers. This is due to a dramatic change in modern day living, the fact that people eat foods high in carbohydrates, high in fat and do not exercise enough. The results of having a poor diet and fitness can go further than just the diabetes too – in extreme cases diabetes can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cataracts, nerve damage, hearing loss, and even blindness. 

Excess body weight is a very strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes and obviously diet plays a key role in the management of this and therefore the onset of the disease and its control. When it comes down to diet, this is all a matter of discipline and self control. It has never been more important than now to control what’s going into your body. Look at what’s happening on a global level, the rising statistics and the number of people who ‘suddenly’ discover that they have fallen into this bracket. So many people are living with diabetes without even knowing about it. Don’t be one of these people.

Look at your diet, adjust your lifestyle and live a healthy life. You are in control of what happens to your body.

The Silly Season is Approaching!

As summer approaches, so does our longing for the perfect summer body. At this time of year, everyone seems to be more concerned about the way they look. As the sun comes out and our clothes come off, hitting the beach with a new-look body becomes a great motivational tool.

However, with the sunshine also comes the BBQs, the beer gardens and the late-night drinking. Silly season is approaching and as we’re sat in the sun working on our tan, we’re also unconsciously working on our gut.

That ‘quick beer’ to parch your thirst in the summer heat is actually the equivalent of 100-200 calories, which is like a chocolate chip cookie or two slices of bread. A day spent drinking and you could unconsciously end up eating a whole loaf… or a whole box of cookies. The same goes for wine, which is also absolutely packed with sugar. If you want to watch your calorie intake then opt for white spirits with tonic.

However, whatever you’re drinking, it’s also wise to remember your limits – both for your body and your safety. Drink driving during the summer months, rises to astronomical levels. The legal limit for fully licensed car drivers is 0.05 g/100ml, which means 0.05g of alcohol in every 100ml of blood. Having one beer, then half a beer every hour can be enough to send some people over this limit. The morning after a heavy drinking session, it’s also likely that your alcohol level can be above this limit – so drink in moderation and never drive.

The Pay Off

Paying for a cleaner will get your house nice and clean. Paying for a gardener will mean your lawn is always neatly trimmed. However, paying for a gym membership doesn’t mean you’ll get in shape. In fact, paying an excellent personal trainer to make you run around for an hour a week doesn’t mean you’ll get in shape either. No way near.

Obviously, signing up to the gym is the first step, and assigning a personal trainer is another massive push towards achieving your goals. However, the real results will only come with daily, continued effort, both in the gym and at home. There’s no point trying to out-source your fitness. Many people believe that by paying a personal trainer for an hour a week, they will get results – if this is combined with personal exercise and self-discipline, then yes, absolutely. However, if you’re paying to be fit for an hour a week then forgetting about it for the other 167 hours, you won’t get anywhere – no matter how hard you train during that hour.

In today’s society, there are ways to pay and have virtually anything done for you – from your food shopping to your children’s welfare. However, your fitness is something that can’t be out-sourced. It takes a continued effort to make a change here. Paying the bill is only the first step…

Taking steps to self-awareness

Believe it or not, Australia is officially the fattest country on Earth. With 26% of the adult population certified obese, Australians have even managed to knock America from their rather large top-spot.

It seems shocking that Americans – who are globally-renowned for overeating and being under-active – can now sit back and relax as the Aussies show them exactly how it’s done.

And that they are.

Statistically speaking, Americans take fewer steps than Australians on a day-to-day basis. And no, this isn’t because they’re watching us stride ahead in the fat race – it has generally always been this way.

Then why, if Australians walk more than Americans, are we still fatter?

According to the University of Tennessee, Americans take 5,117 steps per day, far fewer than people in Australia (who take 9,695). The health implications of trying to walk 10,000 steps per day are enormous – those who do are 72% less likely to develop metabolic syndrome – often a precursor to diabetes.

However, as a nation, America is far more aware of their health problems than Australia. In fact West Virginia is proposing an added tax on food purchased at drive-throughs, to encourage more Americans to walk or even cook at home.

Australia, which for years has been deemed the ‘surfer’ country has always managed to carry healthy connotations, due to the sun and the outside lifestyle. However, it’s this rationale which leads to more problems. Australian’s are simply not as aware. It takes time, discipline and self awareness to get into shape. They all work together in unison. If you lose one, then you’ve lost the battle…

Time for Australia to lose weight and gain some self-awareness.