To have come back from Lanzarote feeling geuinely shocked at how fat the British tourists were?

(655 Posts)
Illgetmycoat Thu 10-Jan-13 11:44:21

I'm not talking slightly plump, I mean seriously, morbidly obese. A whole different race to the German, French and Spanish tourists.

What is going on? When did our country become like this? Whenever you heard a british accent, it would be accompanied by a 3ft wide backside. And whole families, too, all swollen to gargantuan size, with the poor kids unable to put their feet together because of the rolls of fat on their legs.

How has this happened? What the heck are the Brits feeding their children to get them so large? How can you feed an eight year old you love so much food that they become morbidly obese?

It can't just be blamed on poverty, because it's not cheap going to Lanzarote.

I was shocked.

catsmother Thu 10-Jan-13 11:45:39

What, all the Brits you saw in Lanzarote were "morbidly obese" ?? hmm

Illgetmycoat Thu 10-Jan-13 11:46:24

About 70% at the hotel we stayed in. I'm not exaggerating.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 10-Jan-13 11:46:29

YABU, and sizeist.

It shocks me too how this country has gone, weight wise.
It's horrid to see.
I honestly believe that over feeding your children is child cruelty.
With the knowledge we have now, the health implications and continued obesity into adulthood are just overwhelming.
Why would you choose to put your child through this is absolutely beyond me.
Our nation now has 1 if 4 adults with obesity - and I'm sure a big % overweight.
Don't get me wrong. I was overweight too (not bad but a bit) but got to grips with it and haven't looked back since.
I do also realise that you can have good addictions just like people have alcohol and smoking addictions and as a nation we need to get to grips with it all.
I don't know what the answer is though!

WorraLiberty Thu 10-Jan-13 11:49:10

Weird considering Spanish children are something like the 3rd most obese in the world.

That's FOOD addiction - got GOOD!!

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 11:51:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trills Thu 10-Jan-13 11:52:10

Either you are massively exaggerating or you went to a very unusual resort.

Arthurfowlersallotment Thu 10-Jan-13 11:55:06

Maybe they were having a convention..

catsmother Thu 10-Jan-13 11:55:37

Of course obesity is a massive problem (pun not really intended) and yes, it upsets me to see very overweight young kids as in most cases that will be due to being fed too much and/or given fatty/sugary food too often but I'm still finding it hard to believe that so many obese people chose to congregate in Lanzarote all at the same time!

Illgetmycoat Thu 10-Jan-13 11:55:56

It was an all inclusive hotel, with limitless trips to the food bar, so maybe it attracted people who eat more.

Rhianna1980 Thu 10-Jan-13 11:58:05

Def agree with you. You aren't being unreasonable . It is something you can't help but notice on holiday. Few of other friends have said the same thing. Surely it is not a coincidence.
Don't be surprised if you get lots of angry replies btw.

redrobin Thu 10-Jan-13 11:58:30

sizeist! Wow. If the OP is sizeist, then the human race is in trouble. If we can't discuss obesity for fear of being branded sizeist, these problems are only going to increase.

landofsoapandglory Thu 10-Jan-13 11:59:18

I went to Lanzarote in the Summer and I never saw masses of fat British families TBH.

I think you must be exaggerating.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:01:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ethelb Thu 10-Jan-13 12:02:23

No yanbu. Whenever I go on holiday to southern or eastern europe I feel like a bit of a porker and I am a size 10/12. I think we need to remind ourselves what normal looks like. I you should be able to see a childs ribs and should be able to see the bottom two of an adults etc.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:03:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ethelb Thu 10-Jan-13 12:04:57

@lifeofpo grin the south of france is particuarly bad.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:06:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jins Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:10

When we were in Paris last year we were walking behind a very obese family with three teenage girls in very eye catching clothes. I didn't think anything of it until we heard the men in the bar we passed laughing about 'les anglaises'. They were too sad

Haven't spotted any significant trend otherwise though

ICBINEG Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:10

Hooooorray Another fat bashing thread...

I would be saddened and shocked too. But I wouldn't incite a hate/pearl gripping worry fest on MN about it. That serves no useful purpose except for making people with low self-esteem eat even more.

Kendodd Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:38

I went on an "all inclusive" ie. all you can eat, holiday once to Spain. Some people were very fat there, all British. the fat people always seemed to have the biggest helpings at mealtimes, plates piled up again and again, I did feel ashamed to be British.

Years before that I went to Ibiza and also felt ashamed to be British seeing all the young Brits drunk in the street, even in the middle of the day.

I'm ashamed (again) that I might be turning into Mary Whitehouse grin

ethelb Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:45

tbf I think its anorexia, misogyny and cigarettes that keeps them so thin.

**sweeping statement alert*

LucilleBluth Thu 10-Jan-13 12:09:54

We lived abroad for five years, we came home last year.

One of the first things that I noticed is how large people had become in the five years we were away. I used to be walking down the high street and it seemed like every other person was busting out of a pair of leggings or this is obviously just my personal observation and in no way intended to offend.

Trills Thu 10-Jan-13 12:10:44

I went to an all-inclusive resort in Lanzarote in September and most people were of "normal" size, with no particular distinction between people from different countries.

YANBU. I've noticed this when abroad too, that usually the really fat people are British. And the really tall and really fat, or sometimes just really big people (like an average person but scaled up a few percent), are usually American.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:13:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CelineMcBean Thu 10-Jan-13 12:13:35

All inclusive in Lanzarote? Sounds utterly grim.

Perhaps try self-catering camping on the continent if an ample bottom offends? They have culture and everything so you can skip the all day bar and go to a museum or gallery.

I went to Tenerife once. It was devoid of any kind of personality or culture. Horrible.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:14:47

We've totally forgotten as a national just how slim healthy actually is, and similarly how slim overweight is, iyswim. At between 5'3 and 5'7 any woman over about 10st 6 is overweight and at over 12st she's likely to be obese. Yes there are exceptions etc, etc, but you know what? As a nation there's now a higher chance that any individual is now at least overweight if not actually obese. And that's just shocking. Whjy are we doing this to ourselves?! And I say this as someone who is indeed overweight and I've been obese in the past too. But I'm trying and have made enormous progress in the last year that I'm now working on consolidating and then moving on again. We tend to think of obese as meaning 20st + or something, but it really, really isn't, it's much, much less than that.

Boomerwang Thu 10-Jan-13 12:14:48

ICBINEG don't be so daft! I'm a fatty and I'm not about to stuff doughnuts down my neck because of this thread.

I am concerned about the size of kids. I think eating habits should be taught from a young age. Who eats dessert after every meal because that's how they were brought up? Who provides a huge pot of food and allows everyone to take their own portion because that's how mum did it? Who clears their plate out of habit because they feel guilty about leaving some behind?

I'm determined to get it right for my child so she doesn't end up with the same issues I've had.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:14:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:16:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ethelb Thu 10-Jan-13 12:17:50

@sparkle I am 5'2'' and because I have a small frame my bmi is overweight at 9stone8.

NorhamGardens Thu 10-Jan-13 12:18:35

IME the more expensive/exclusive the resort the less likely the tourists are to be overweight. You don't find many obese families at the Four Seasons but not so at much cheaper resorts in Spain etc. That's one thing that's always bemused me why are the seriously rich usually thin? Trainers? Chefs? etc.

Nancy66 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:18:49

People are getting bigger, we know that but I be surprised if a whole resort was filled with them.

acceptableinthe80s Thu 10-Jan-13 12:20:19

If that's the worst you saw in Lanzarote then i'd say you got off lightly. I went once a long time ago and saw drug busts, prostitutes galore, tourists being drugged/robbed you name it! Needless to say i've never been back.

ICBINEG Thu 10-Jan-13 12:20:38

Boomer So what? Just because your fatness isn't self-esteem related you think no-one else's is?

There is research showing that the average response to being shamed over your weight is to gain.

BadLad Thu 10-Jan-13 12:21:21

There are a lot of overweight people in the UK. I noticed it the first time I came back after three years of living in the far east. Perhaps that had always been the case, and I just didn't notice it before.

3smellysocks Thu 10-Jan-13 12:22:24

People are getting bigger and it is really shocking and unhealthy.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:22:43

Exactly ethelb, I'm not much taller at 5'3 and should be somewhere between 8st and 9st 7 to be 'healthy'. I know there are flaws in the bmi concept, I know that some 'fat' people will be able to do a spin class better than an anorexic at 6st etc, etc, but we really need to wise up - most of us are overweight, and not just by 5lbs or so either. I'd hazard a guess that most women would benefit from losing at least a stone, if not closer to 20lbs. It's about health, not petty 'fashion', looks, etc. Nationally we are still in total denial.

ICBINEG Thu 10-Jan-13 12:24:13

"People are getting bigger and it is really shocking and unhealthy."

Indeed, but wouldn't you rather be part of the solution than the problem?

All you have to do is keep your shock and horror at others appearance to yourself...

Onezerozero Thu 10-Jan-13 12:24:25

I only know a few obese people. Thinking about it, they are all Latin American or African immigrants.
Why don't I know any obese people from Britain if there are so many about?

WorraLiberty Thu 10-Jan-13 12:28:33

ICBINEG you were trying to close this topic of conversation down on another thread the other day...claiming it will make some people eat more if they read it.

You can't expect people all over the internet to not discuss weight, smoking, alcohol or anything else just incase it makes people do more of it.

While this is still a free country, people can and will discuss their shock/dismay at how obese we have become as a nation.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:29:43

Probably becuase you don't even notice it Onezerozero - as I suggested upthread, do you think you've never seen anyone walking down the street who's not over 12st6? That's only about a size 14-16 in most retailers these days. You've really never seen anyone that size or greater? Because that's what obese is on a medical health basis...

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 10-Jan-13 12:29:59

That's one thing that's always bemused me why are the seriously rich usually thin? Trainers? Chefs? etc.

I think it's circular. Being thin is aspirational largely because it's associated with wealth, so rich people avoid being fat because they think it's an indication of being poor. Eating junk and being fat are less acceptable/ normalised in certain social circles.

fairylightsandtinsel Thu 10-Jan-13 12:30:07

I agree that we have become used to seeing overweight as normal. I lost a bit recently and and being told I look really "skinny". People are being nice but I should still lose at least 1 1/2 more stone if I was to be genuinely thin and not overweight by BMI. We have normalised it - worrying from a health perspective

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:30:37

When I felt shamed over my weight gain I lost 2 stone. I've got another stone to go but I'm not 'dieting', I'm just not making excuses for over-eating anymore.

I'm far more concerned about health than I am appearances.

I don't agree that anyone should be mocked for their size, but are you suggesting that keeping quiet about it will make the problem go away ICBINEG? Surely in order to find a solution, people first need to recognise and identify the problem.

NorhamGardens Thu 10-Jan-13 12:30:38

It is very tough to lose weight over 40 though. I am fitter than most and eat like a small bird, I am probably technically slightly overweight. I haven't eaten pasta, cake etc in years. I monitor my diet and eat very healthily. In my youth I could eat a vat of Mcdonalds without gaining a single pound.

I think being active is the key and food is a bit of a red herring although the truth is expect to eat far, far less than you did in your 20s if you want to be trim after 45.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 12:30:47

I have noticed that here in the uk we seem to have a lot more over weight people than in France, Spain, Germany or Italy.

not compared to the states but we are heading that way, it is not surprising when everywhere you go there is high calorie/fat/sugary food to be eaten while we are shopping, at the cinema, gone for a walk in the park. Every activity includes snacking on crappy but often delicious easy to eat food

ICBINEG Thu 10-Jan-13 12:33:40

folkgirl some people should be making noise about this issue. HCP should be trying to support people to make changes (as should the government). But some people should shut up because they are making the problem worse.

People indulging in "shock and horror" on internet forums are certainly in the second category.

NorhamGardens Thu 10-Jan-13 12:34:15

Richman that makes sense but what's odd is the richer they become the smaller they get? It's as if they come into a secret - all the designers too don't cater for anyone more than a small UK size 14. If you won the lottery and decided to dress exclusively in Chloe, Pucci and Gucci you'd likely have to lose a great deal of weight (if an average middle aged woman) to have a chance of fitting into the clothes.

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:34:44

It's true Freudian. The concept of snacking is a relatively recent phenomena (1960s onwards) so I think it's no surprise or coincidence that people have increased in size.

The diet of many people in this country is problematic. Some people might have health complications that exacerbate these problems, but in many cases people just don't understand the food they are eating.

NorhamGardens Thu 10-Jan-13 12:36:07

Isn't it about activity levels too FolkGirl? How many are truly active enough?

ICBINEG Thu 10-Jan-13 12:37:01

worra well duh! If I think something on one thread, chances are Ill think the same on another. At least Im consistent.

What exactly is this collective hand wringing supposed to achieve?

Is anyone going to read this thread and think "oh shit - I was in Lanzarotte maybe I'm obese! Oh god I am!!!! I will give up my life of cake and eat lettuce forever! Thank you sooo much....etc. etc."

Or is it more likely that someone who is already down on themselves and their weight will see YET ANOTHER thread expressing shock and horror at how terrible fat people are and will sink just a little bit further into the darkness?

HeadFairy Thu 10-Jan-13 12:37:36

Sorry to be flippant, but I don't know how people manage to feed their children enough so they're obese by the time they're 8 or 9. I cannot get either of mine to eat or sit still long enough to eat at all. DS is rake thin - definitely not genetic as dh and I are definitely not (rake thin)!

Fluffy1234 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:38:01

I went to a hotel in Majorca last year for a few days where there were a lot of guests from other countries including a lot from France. I'm a size 10 and was definitely in the bigger half of women. I then went from the hotel onto a cruise which had a lot of British passengers and I felt I was quite 'slim' compared with other women, particularly my age, middle aged women. I don't normally notice but was a size 18 the year before so it was of my first 'bikini holidays' as a Size 10.

AmberLeaf Thu 10-Jan-13 12:38:09

I think you should be able to see a childs ribs

shock really?

OP you had better not visit america then if you think brits are overweight.

<I am aware not every american is overweight, but you will see some very large people?

XiCi Thu 10-Jan-13 12:38:30

I think part of the problem, and I see this a lot on MN, is that its fine to harshly criticize people who smoke, drink, take recreational drugs, but people who poison their bodies with sugar are deemed to be suffering from an 'illness' and so feel free to carry on stuffing their face with sweets and cake. There is a lot of greed about and it shows in our weight. And people who feed their kids crap and make them obese are just vile. There is no excuse for that at all

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:38:32

Well perhaps some people would rather take a bit of personal responsibility or not let it get to the stage when HCPs are involved.

Perhaps indulging in a big of shock and horror does work for some people who think "do you know what, actually, I do need to lose weight".

All sorts of different people respond to all sorts of different motivations and input. If it doesn't work for you, don't read the threads.

Personally, I find it does motivate me because I don't ever want people to be talking about me like that.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 10-Jan-13 12:38:37

Folkgirl I live in HK where the vast majority of people are slim and I really think it is to do with not snacking because their meals aren't massively healthy. They really don't snack much at all, especially not on sweet stuff. They also dont drink much alcohol.

cantspel Thu 10-Jan-13 12:41:17

People have forgotten what is a healthy amount to eat and what a healthy size looks like. The was a thread on here only the other day from the mother of a 6 year old who was worried she could see the ribs on her 6 year old where people should worry if they cant.
Then others with thin children said how hard it is to get trousers to fit.
And it is only hard to get trousers for thin children as all clothing even childrens is being made bigger to try to fool us we are still a size 10.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 10-Jan-13 12:41:44

One of the problems in the UK is that being overweight is so commonplace now that it is completely normalised- i.e. people who are a normal/average weight are overweight.

The issue is how to solve it. For people who like eating, the odds are really stacked against them- most people now do a sedentary job, public transport is rubbish so we use cars a lot, there is food EVERYWHERE.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 12:42:30

but it is shocking and it is horrifying how much bigger as a nation we are getting
we can not ignore this it is happening

and the change has been very sudden. It needs to change for younger generations they need to understand the importance of eating a balanced diet and exercise, not well if you put on weight you can lose it prevention is better than cure and that is what we have to get across

the vast majority of those who are over weight is down to the food we eat and lifestyle

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:42:41

Norham It is down to activity levels too, of course. I think there are a number of reasons why people are less active nowadays too.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 12:44:02

I agree with the food being everywhere. Why do you need to have nachos with cheese or a hotdog when you go to the cinema topped off with a huge fizzy drink then a bag of sweets to follow

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:44:48

I also think there's probably a middle ground between eating cake and eating "lettuce forever"

Kendodd Thu 10-Jan-13 12:44:50

"I think part of the problem, and I see this a lot on MN, is that its fine to harshly criticize people who smoke, drink, take recreational drugs, but people who poison their bodies with sugar are deemed to be suffering from an 'illness' and so feel free to carry on stuffing their face with sweets and cake. There is a lot of greed about and it shows in our weight. And people who feed their kids crap and make them obese are just vile. There is no excuse for that at all "


NaicePig Thu 10-Jan-13 12:47:06

these problems are only going to increase

<stifles snigger>

How mad that we even think it could be poverty, poor people used to be stick-thin! Goes to show that if that's one of the factors that springs to mind we really do have a terrible problem with what we're selling for cheap in our supermarkets.

Selks Thu 10-Jan-13 12:47:53

FFS. Can people please quit with the attitude that fat people just stuff their and their children's faces, do no exercise and are not trying to lose weight! This thread is just perpetuating stereotypes.

I am fat but have spent a lifetime of dieting. I know what healthy eating is and do so most of the time. I also exercise. But I have a complex psychological relationship with is a work in progress. I know this thread is not about me but I get sick of hearing the stereotypes blindly peddled. angry

Mumsyblouse Thu 10-Jan-13 12:48:01

Fluffy1234 I have had exactly the same experience, when I went to visit my husband's country, here in the Uk I am a standard size person, certainly not the fattest at the school gates, in my husband's country (EU) I am huge and can't find clothes to fit.

To the person who said how come I don't know any obese people- either you move in very exclusive circles in which no obese people are allowed or you are closing your eyes when you walk down the road. Obese IS quite normal now, for about 1/4 of the adult population. And over 50% of us are overweight. Thats why it looks normal, it's only when you go abroad and see other people of similar ages but not from the UK, you suddenly notice it. Countries like France and Spain have some overweight people but a much smaller minority, and in Eastern Europe, most of the 30-40 somethings are really much slimmer than in the UK.

It doesn't make me want to eat more knowing this, I feel fine about it, just have to brace myself when shopping for clothes abroad!

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:50:07

I agree with the normalising and dress sizes too.

When I was 18 I was 8st and wore size 10/12.

I'm now 20 years older, weigh 10st currently and still wear size 10/12 clothes!

Onezerozero Thu 10-Jan-13 12:50:44

That's probably true sparkle, that we don't recognise overweight as overweight so much now.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:52:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMelons Thu 10-Jan-13 12:52:09

I actually think YANBU. I don't think you sound 'fattist' at all. I think it is a well known fact that it is a huge problem in the UK.

We went to a Haven site with DS1 a few years back and I was shocked at how many teenager were extremely overweight.

I had an 8 mo baby and most of the young girls had much bigger hips/tummies than me at 12/13 years old. When I was at school most children that age were pretty thin, there were honestly only 1 or 2 overweight children in a whole year group (I went to a massive secondary school) - I am 33.

I think it is really sad and worrying as although people should be happy with their bodies and not feel the pressure to be a size zero etc they should also be healthy as well. At the pre-school I was involved in there was more than 1 child whose parents obviously thought a giant sausage roll, a grab bag of crisps, a choc mini roll and a fruit shoot was a normal packed lunch. Often coke and crisps when coming in the morning also.

We go on cruises for holidays and the older generation of passengers are in general much slimmer that the under 40's. It is very very obvious there is a major issue in this country.

CambridgeBlue Thu 10-Jan-13 12:53:44

I agree with a lot of what's been said about the general attitude in this country and how food is so easily available (and often of low nutritional value) but I'd be interested to know how things are different in other countries - do they snack less? Is unhealthy food less easily available? Are people more active?

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:54:32

Not just overweight Onezerozero - obese. We can't even recognise obese anymore, and that's sad.

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:55:30

That's true LifeofPo.

Cutting out processed crap and sugar was the big thing for me.

I'll tell you something else, I've had other people say that they couldn't do it because they can't cut out chocolate; they need it or they have a sweet tooth.

Do you know what? I've had no chocolate over Christmas because once you stop eating it and break the addiction, your sweet tooth somehow disappears too...

Onezerozero Thu 10-Jan-13 12:55:48

(I guess I meant morbidly obese originally.)

TroublesomeEx Thu 10-Jan-13 12:57:41

I agree with everything you said MrsMelons

Pinkerl Thu 10-Jan-13 12:57:48

The stats are what they are - according to the BBC, 60% of Brits are overweight, and nearly a quarter are obese (I take it that obesity is considered a subcategory of overweight, or we're really in trouble)

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 12:57:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BadLad Thu 10-Jan-13 12:58:34

CambridgeBlue, my experience is that here (in Japan) people eat much more sparingly than they do in the UK, despite the proliference of all-you-can-eat-and-drink restaurants. They also eat more healthily.

My Japanese friends will go to a buffest, fill their plate up once, and declare that they have had enough.

NaicePig Thu 10-Jan-13 12:58:47

You should be able to see a child's ribs. It's not like being able to see an adult's ribs, their fat distribution is all different.

Obviously you don't necessarily need to worry if you can't see your child's ribs, but if you can, it definitely doesn't mean they're starved.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:00:10

Really kids are as active

we used to be outside running about all day many children do not have that sort of freedom now. While I agree that the foods we eat have something to do with it I am not so sure children are as active. They may go to more clubs but just running about being outside ony eating at lunch because it is not there and you only when home when it was lunch time or you were very hungry. We had a few overweight children in our class you see many more overweight children now.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 13:00:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpringIsComing Thu 10-Jan-13 13:01:00

At between 5'3 and 5'7 any woman over about 10st 6 is overweight
sparkle12mar08 What is your measure of overweight there? 10st6 with a height of 5'7 is a BMI of 22.9 I usually weigh less than that (dress size 6/8), but I went to that at Christmas and was still wearing my size 8 clothes/jeans with people calling me 'tiny' (which I don't think I am, but still)

MrsMelons Thu 10-Jan-13 13:03:57

I started running a couple of years ago and was absolutely shocked at how few calories you burn, in comparison to how many calories you would eat in even a healthy meal.

My 10k training runs in 50-60 mins burn about 600/700 calories (the slower you are the more fat/calories you burn over the same distance). That is not actually that much when you compare like LifeofPo said to say a Mars bar.

If I run 5-10km 3 times a week I still couldn't eat anything/everything I wanted but I would be able to eat healthily then eat a takeaway/meals out or the odd treat knowing I wouldn't put on weight but unless I cut the treats out I would be unlikely to lose it as I am towards my lower end of normal right now.

I really think people underestimate how little you can eat without putting on weight (obviously it does vary) and then wonder why they are putting on weight all the time.

It is quite possible to put on 2lbs in a weekend going out for a 3 course meal and having a few drinks. The trouble is as a nation we also drink a lot so the lbs pile on pretty quickly!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 10-Jan-13 13:04:31

YANBU and I say that as an overweight Brit.

I left the UK 13 years ago and when I go back to visit my jaw hangs open at the sheer "state" of people.

An interesting point about wealth and size. I work in a firm where generally speaking the staff are very well remunerated for what we do. In my department of about 100 people there are around 4 people I would deem overweight. Of these 4, 3 are in low-paid admin jobs. The vast majority of the people I work with are slim.

This is not isolated to my department either. In our building it is really quite rare to see people who are significantly overweight, when walking down the street it is very commonplace. I don't believe my global employer discriminates based on size, so I can only assume there is a link.

I agree with OP's point about it being particularly noticeable on holiday. I was away a couple of years ago and remember noticing a group of boys ranging from about 7-10. Every single one of them had love-handles. Surely boys of that age should look like beanpoles due to activity?

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:08:09

That's partly why I gave a range of heights and said 'about'. At 5'7 a women wouldn't be overweight till she was 11st 7 or more, but 5' 7 is quite tall for a women I think? Anyway, as I say, I've been obese and am still overweight, I'm trying but it's not easy, but I'm not kidding myself - I'm fat. Easy as that really. And I've definitely noticed the change in sizes - the size 14 I wore a decade ago at the same weight mow matches precisely the size 12 I bought three months ago - vanity sizing is present in every high street store now, it's not just the wedding dress shops anymore.

Sailormercury Thu 10-Jan-13 13:08:27

I read once that the Japanese only eat until they are nearly full not completely full (probably like 80% full) and that it is considered very bad manners to eat anything while standing.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:08:45

i think there are many studies to show they are not

stats can always be manipulated, who is providing them what the reasons are etc. it has been reported over and over again that children are not as active as they used to be. From my experience children I know are not even with all the clubs they go do I think that is down to being driven around more and not having the freedom to play out as I had when I was young. Thankfully ds is happy to walk miles but some of his little firends moan when I make them walk to the park that is about a 20 minute walk

Blu Thu 10-Jan-13 13:09:12

I have no comment to make over obesity generally or in particular, but there is something I have noticed on the very few times I have been in an all inclusive hotel.

Most guests seemed to regard the buffet as a lovely way to offer a choice, so that you can pick the thing you would most like. Many Brits seemed to feel they would be being cheated if they didn't have a good go at most of the things on offer, and would have something of absolutely everything unless they didn't like it. I did hear peple joking about repeat visits to the buffet with 'might as well get our money's worth'. I feel like that faced with a buffet, too - I don't want to miss something if I might enjoy it, even if I have already had one nice thing.

Calling waiters to the sun loungers for non-stop cocktails started very early in the day, and each order, when it came, would be met with 'well, might as well, we've paid for it' to each other. NONE of the Germans or French or Italians were ordering the extremely sweet sticky cocktails that were available on the free tariff at 10.30 in the morning. Or on the beach at all.

RedToothbrush Thu 10-Jan-13 13:09:24

Obesity tends to be more common in certain areas of the UK.
Obesity tends to reflect certain lifestyle choices.

Two things you can't argue with. The NHS recognises this.

There are definite and very clear patterns about obesity to the point that they are now starting to believe that if you are given certain information about a child and its parents at birth, you'll be able to predict whether they will become obese or not. This are social as well as to do with genetics.

So, actually the idea that obese people might tend to take a certain type of holiday in a certain place rather than another type of holiday in another place, might not actually be so ridiculous or sizeist in anyway. It might merely be more of this and a reflection of lifestyle choices.

For example, if you ask the question: "Would you expect to see more thin people than fat people on a climbing holiday?" What would your honest answer be?

Is the OP exaggerating? Yes probably. But I'm not convinced that isn't some truth to what they have said.

Why Lanzarote might attract a certain type of British tourist and the same isn't true of other nationalities though, I have no idea. Are we that much worse than other countries?

Not necessarily. It could be as simple as how Lanzarote is marketed and promoted in different countries by tour operators rather than the fact that Britain is markedly worse than other countries in Europe when it comes to obesity.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 13:10:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:11:01

Agree MrsMelons!! People vastly under estimate calories in food, and vastly over estimate calories burned in exercise. And someone upthread mentioned age - it's a real bummer but over about 40 your necessary calorie intake for weight maintenance plummets, so actually loosing weight becomes ever harder.

BelleoftheFall Thu 10-Jan-13 13:12:06

I think there's a huge lack of knowledge when it comes to nutrition. I only began to learn properly about food when (ironically) I was diagnosed with a progressive disease and suddenly taking care of my health and body became a huge priority...I was shocked at how little I knew. I think other people are in the same boat: not a clue about what foods are good sources of vitamins/iron/calcium/etc and convinced that certain foods aren't as bad as they actually are. And portions are another thing. I think our idea of what a good portion is has become distorted and is they're now too large. Even something that seems to be healthy can be bad if you're having a big plate of it.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:12:12

I have often wondered why in south east Asia people are slim when they seem to eat constantly, street food is very popular. but then meals tend t be smaller so maybe it is down to smaller portions (and healthier food)

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 13:13:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Interestingly, childhood obesity in America has now stalled and is expected to fall this year. People are starting to notice and make changes.

MrsWolowitz Thu 10-Jan-13 13:14:51


Unhealthy food is generally thought to be cheaper than healthy fresh food but that's not necessarily so. Soups, simple curries and ragus made from scratch, stuffed peppers etc are all cheap and very healthy.

I think a lot of it is down to a lack of education about nutrition. Obviously that's a general statement and not true of everyone.

I do feel very sad when I see chubby children not being able to keep up with their thinner peers during playtime. It's so unnecessary and damaging to their self esteem and physical health.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:22:19

but it is lifestyle food is just constantly there and the snack food is what really makes us put onweight. The hidden sugar and salt in food that seems healthy is often really high

we would have gone out and been to busy to think about food but if we are around it all the time when just a little hungry we will eat, then want more as we they need the sugar and so on

ds is very slim. Because he is (and I was too) when he does not eat I feel I at times I try too hard to encourage him because i am in this mindset we have to each so much a day when really there is nothing wrong in not eating much for a few days

BadRoly Thu 10-Jan-13 13:30:52

I think portion size plays a huge role - we have a plate rack made by fil 20 years ago and we couldn't fit our 'standard' sized dinner plates on. Likewise, I now weigh my cereal each morning and it barely covers the bottom of the bowl. So we are almost being tricked into eating bigger and bigger meals.

I agree about the learning to cook things too - I cook and bake so know what goes into the things I make, however I have no real idea what Mr Kipling puts into his slices. If I do ever read the label I am generally horrified and renew my home baking... Likewise, I know what I've put in my bolognese sauce or chicken curry but no what Pataks or Dolmio have.

I am delighted our local schools include cooking in their curriculums as children should learn the basics skills. Mine have all made quiches, buns, pasta sauces and similar in primary school and the secondary does "proper" home economics (sewing and cooking) and dd1 starts cooking this term. I know this doesn't mean everyone has too cook or enjoy cooking but at least it starts to give them an idea of what is in the food they eat.

WorraLiberty Thu 10-Jan-13 13:35:23

I don't believe kids are even half as active today as they were when I was a kid during the 70's.

We had 3 TV channels
1 TV per house
No Satellite TV
No Xbox
No computers
No mobile phones to sit and play with
Most families had only 1 car (if any at all)

And we played out every single day...unlike lots of kids today.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 13:36:08

It's indulgence without awareness of the calorie intake I think, to me that's the cause of the UK gaining weight. In Switzerland you don't tend to find two whole aisles in the supermarket dedicated to multipack choc snacks in hundreds of varieties, and another aisle just of crisps. I used to look forward to the treats when I came home, but a trip around Asda made me feel slightly nauseous the last time I came home, and I ended up only buying some Marmite. And when things are 3 for 2 - well you just don't see that here, apart from offers on bulk pasta. How can that not encourage you to eat more crap?

Also when a takeaway is £60 for two adults (and that's just one main each and rice) you tend to cook from scratch. I stomached one takeaway in the UK, of fish and chips, and it felt so greasy, I felt a bit sad. Had been looking forward to it for months!

Here, it's seen as very crass to be overweight, it shows a lack of self control, and is perceived as slightly irresponsible. And I say this as a size 16, which has been normalized in the UK. Think of M&S celebrating that the average size of the UK woman was 16. Average, not normal. But how many of us let our stomachs out in relief.

I have to pay for my own healthcare, and had to pay extra as I was over my BMI. But I was also given vouchers and discounts to use the gym, so encourage activity. Living here has made me feel like a blob and I'm sorry but coming home does shock me. I've lost 2 stone since I've been here.

There was a thread recently that had the theme that it was cheaper and easier to buy junk food than healthy food. I was quite surprised at how little people knew about healthy food prep and good meal planning.

We went to Florida last year and when we were in the parks and supermarkets we did see a lot of morbidly obese families. However, a good proportion of these were English, not from the US. And even if there are more morbidly obese people in the US, how does that excuse our eating habits and strain on our healthcare? Are we just saying, Oh it's ok, there's always someone fatter than us in the US?

Boomerwang Thu 10-Jan-13 13:36:37

ICBINEG Being obese is not healthy. Of course, nasty comments directed at fat people is not on, but nobody on this thread is doing that. The average size of Brits is up for discussion and there's no reason it should be taboo. If things weren't out in the open, it's too easy to pretend it doesn't exist. That is why I encourage discussion about other supposedly taboo subjects, such as child abuse, drug abuse and the like. The more informed people are, the better equipped we are to integrate further and provide sympathy, support and care to individuals and society as a whole.

It'd be silly to downplay the importance of healthy eating in order to spare the feelings of those with low self esteem and body issues. It will not tackle the problem nor serve to alleviate a person's low opinion of themselves when ignorance on the matter remains high.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:39:30

I agree. I know quite a few young children who moan if they have to walk anywhere. We never had a car when I was young and ds has got used to walking so does not moan about it.

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 13:44:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 13:45:06

Oh another difference here is that families exercise together. It's traditional that the whole family goes out for walks and treks each weekend and quite a few evenings.

And kids safely play outside for hours here. It's looked on as quite odd to still be in your pajamas in the house on a Sunday morning. blush

nellyjelly Thu 10-Jan-13 13:45:25

When buying school uniform for DD was very depressed to see M and S do plus size school uniform.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 13:50:18

i am sjre i did but still had to.can not skip and jump in a car which most of use more than we need to and I include myself

I live in France, and while I know there's a huge stereotype about how thin French people are, it's pretty amazing when you go out into the deepest countryside and see how many very overweight people there are.

Even where we live, you can see a huge difference if you go to the park in the centre of town, and the park in the suburbs -- you will definitely see plenty of overweight people in the latter.

In the US as well, I think there's a huge difference between urban/non-urban populations. People in cities tend to be skinnier.

So I think it's slightly unreasonable to make generalisations based purely on nationality, when there is huge variation within countries. That's what we should be looking at more closely. Why do people within the same macro-culture have such different outcomes?

Agent64 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:53:28


I thought the "obesity epidemic" was a myth until we went on holiday in Spain last year. We were astounded by the size of many of the British holiday makers. Seeing kids who can barely walk because of their size, never mind run, was awful. They weren't chubby, they were grossly overweight.

Agree with the posters who say that our perception of "normal" has been distorted. This applies not only to the size of people but also to portion sizes.

Also agree with the poster who commented on the size of contemporary dinner plates. They are at least 1/3 larger than plates from the 1970s (I know because we use 1970s plates grin)

I visited an old music hall a couple of years ago and saw a poster for the World's Fattest Woman. It was from the early part of C20. She was a good deal smaller than many of the Brits we saw in Spain.

MooncupGoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 13:59:11

Having a BMI in the 'slightly overweight' category doesn't actually seem to affect people's long-term health, but being obese very much does. There's no point blaming/finger-pointing at individuals as they're just responding to the incentives and culture around them. The key question is, what should we as a society be doing about it?

goldiehorn Thu 10-Jan-13 14:04:44

A few years ago I was the thinnest I have ever been (an easy size 10) and we went on a camping holiday in the pyrenees, ending up in Biarritz. There were hardly any English people there and I felt like a massive 'chief' (loving that new term!) compared to all the beautiful, tanned and skinny european girls. There were no overweight people there at all.

ubik Thu 10-Jan-13 14:09:32


just walking down the high street today, so many people are ridiculously fat. what's really sad is that so many teens are fat too - i often see girls who are not 'a bit chubby but healthy looking,' but who look like they have never done any exercise their entire lives.

it's so incredibly easy to overeat these days - i was at Ikea and the portion of meatballs and mash i received was colossal - and i ate most of it (and felt rather sick)

goldiehorn Thu 10-Jan-13 14:15:52

Also, I dont agree that excercise is a red herring, as excercise is not just about the calories you burn in a session.

If someone excercises then ok, they may not burn tonnes of calories while they are excercising. But does happen is:
They build up more muscle which is much more quick and efficient at calorie burning, even when resting.
They raise their overall metabolism, again meaning faster calorie burning even when not excercising.
They feel better about themselves (endorphins!) and perhaps start to see a bit of tone to their body which means that they are much more likely to choose healthier choices in their food.

If someone doesnt up their activity, but just tries to lose weight just by significantly cutting calories, then all that is likely to happen is that they will start feeling deprived and fall off the wagon pretty quickly. Plus, not eating properly does your metabolism no favours and means disaster when you do actually fall off the wagon.

So often you see Weightwatchers/Slimmingworld going on and on about 'points' etc with hardly any emphasis on excercise (after all that is not what they are selling), whereas I think it is much easier to lose weight with a combination of both.

If I think I am getting a bit porky, the first thing I do is up my activity at the gym. If I just try and cut calories, I will just get pissed off with the whole thing and stuff my face with cake!

badguider Thu 10-Jan-13 14:20:37

I haven't been to Lanzarote but as far as I understand it the point of an 'all inclusive' in a beach resort is to eat lots of food and lie around doing not much - I am not surprised in that case it attracts people who may be overweight.

Our last holiday was a mountain bike trip in the French Alps, I was second fatest on that holiday and I'm only just on the borderline of overweight, the others were all super-skinny.

cgdoha Thu 10-Jan-13 14:21:11

I haven't read the whole thread and apologise if this has been posted before, but according to this BBC article "we" seem to be less able to recognise when our children are overweight. Interestingly the article states that a healthy 10 year olds ribs should be clearly visible.

ubik Thu 10-Jan-13 14:24:41

i remeber staying at an all inclusive resort in Italy and amusing myself by watching the behaviour of various nationalities; the French spent all their time on the tennis court, the Germans seemed to like cycling and swimming and the Brits, Italians and Americans slobbed about on the sunloungers grin

I was on the ferry last week returning to Dover, and there was a couple next to us. Both very fat. No idea of country of origin (she spoke poor English and looked as though she was from Asia / North Africa). They had a toddler who was playing up - needed to be taken for a walk imo. She poured 7up into the cap and kept feeding it to him. He howled when she stopped.

It is not just a UK problem - and it is amazing how quickly it is changing. 20 years ago I went to Australia, and most people seemed to have the body beautiful. From what I read, they have got fatter than the Brits. And someone has commented on the French being fatter - definitely agree that some French people are a lot fatter than they were 10 / 20 years ago. In the early 90s I remember trying to buy a 34E bra in France...the humiliation!!! I was made to feel like an elephant!

axure Thu 10-Jan-13 14:29:00

We were AI in Tenerife in November, a few Brits gave a loud commentary every day at the pool of what they ate at each meal, and were counting down the minutes until it was time to go and stuff themselves again. They were all visibly overweight, the men were proud of their big bellies. Food seemed to be the main focus of their holiday.
On MN there is a lot of talk about rewarding yourself with bottles of wine, chocolate etc. I think our relationship with food is all wrong. We've got used to cheap plentiful food and don't pay enough attention to what and when we eat.

stubbornstains Thu 10-Jan-13 14:31:59

I have to pay for my own healthcare, and had to pay extra as I was over my BMI.

Cor blimey. I pity the first politician to propose such a thing here.

But I think our Christmas is a good example of why we're so fat. Not only do we have a big traditional dinner, it's also the norm to snack and snack and snack "got your Quality Street in? Kettle chips? Mince pies?" etc.etc.etc. And the expectation is that you spend days slobbed out in front of the TV (maybe with one little walk on Boxing Day). That is the classic British Christmas.

I remember spending Christmas Day in Switzerland once, and the trains were full of families going skiing. Of course, we wouldn't be able to do that here- not only because of the lack of snow, but because of the lack of public transport....

There seems to be a culture of excess in food over here- is it to compensate for our miserable lives, with the longest working hours in Europe, shittest weather etc?

Is it, perhaps, that we have been led by intensive advertising to believe that a culture of snacking and overconsumption is the norm? There's a lot of money to be made in junk food, after all....

FreudiansSlipper Thu 10-Jan-13 14:36:40

I think our binge culture has something to do with it too

We binge on food and drink. I think we would binge on drugs too if they were legal

jungletoes Thu 10-Jan-13 14:42:43

Our portions have got too big, we don't cook from scratch enough and it's become the norm to snack between meals. When I was a kid NO-ONE ate sweets/crisps whilst watching tv in the evenings and you didn't eat between meals.

Consume too many calories/don't burn enough you will get fat.

I also feel(ducks for cover)that being large shouldn't be celebrated and should make people feel ashamed, you're having more of your share.

TheSecondComing Thu 10-Jan-13 14:42:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stubbornstains Thu 10-Jan-13 14:44:10

Why, why do we feel the urge to binge so much though? Is it because everybody else does it? Do we need more lessons when young (from parents or even from school) to reinforce that little voice in our head that tells us "enough is enough"?

FWIW it took me years to learn how to drink in moderation- until my mid 30s. Prior to that I just could not make myself stop in time to not get a hangover in the morning (as well as frequently getting quite messy).

But things are changing in Europe, too, in that respect- last time I went to Paris- about 3/4 years ago- I noticed there were loads of French teens congregated around Sacre Coeur getting wasted on bottles of wine- something I'd never seen before.

I was about to make that point dreamingbohemian about city dwellers - New Yorkers are generally slimmer than the average, even though in general the US has more of an obesity problem than the UK. There are far fewer obese people in London (where I live) and when I go and visit my parents in the Midlands or my DH's family in Wales I notice a big difference. A member of my family moved down to London to live with us recently and she's lost nearly a stone in the past 6 months - she said she 'felt big' amongst her London friends, which she didn't amongst her peers outside of London - she's a healthy weight now.

I think it's partly exercise (we can't afford to own a car - most Londoners can't). But as the saying goes 'you can't outrun your fork'. My London colleagues and friends just eat smaller portions and less often.

Mumsyblouse Thu 10-Jan-13 14:47:17

One big difference is that the food in the Uk is very poor quality, did anyone see that programme about the fat content of a typical British chicken. Cheap meat is full of water, sugar and hormones, and the vegetables we eat would get thrown back by a French housewife. The snacks and crap aisles are much smaller abroad. In my husband's country, the basic food is much better quality and so cooking from scratch actually results in nice nutritionally valuable food whereas cooking from scratch here often doesn't. I am amazed that people think that cooking from scratch is some type of salvation and then see the things list as their dinners- if you eat lasagne, toad in the hole and lots of pasta here made with cheap meat and lots of white carbs, you will be overweight even if you made it all yourself. Good quality not fatty hormone laden meat, plus lots and lots of veggies is best but it is not cheap.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 14:48:29


I cannot believe some posters are calling you 'sizeist' or 'fattist' – the problems have to be addressed.

I wsa inching towards obesity when I was a teenager and, at the time, thought it was just puppy fat. I was utterly blind to what I really looked like. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles etc would point out that this was not normal and that I was the dreaded F-word. Frankly, I am so glad they did.

I used to weigh 82kgs and now I weigh 56. I am 5'7".

Stop with the BMI rubbish. If you can pinch more than an inch on your stomach, you're on the express route to all kinds of problems.

Unless you have a genuine thyroid problem or cannot exercise for a physical/developmental etc reason, you should be shamed into losing weight. I managed to do it and I have the sweetest tooth you can imagine. I realised the excuse of 'Western genetics…I'm just big-boned' was a fallacy.

The only way to solve an addiction to food (which is really what this is) is to realise you have a problem – which is NOT done by brushing things under the carpet.

<applauds OP>

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 14:50:35

stubborn watching it from the outside in, I would agree. Yet when I lived in the UK it was the norm. I never thought about it, and I liked the choice. Coming back there was too much choice for me. And I shop in some large supermarkets in Germany, but you just don't get all of these offers of BOGOF and 3 packs of fatty mince for £10 etc. I've never seen a box of crisps for sale.

The Olympics was a perfect example of this to us. We watch British TV here, and the lead up to the Olympics was just full of adverts about sitting at home, on the sofa, guzzling pork pies and pizzas on 3 for 2 at Morrisons, watching other people perform sports on the tv. Ad after ad about stuffing your face whilst watching the Olympics.

I'm sure here the ads would have been related to emulating the sport, or Olympians plugging sports brands or gyms and equipment so that you could be like them or perform like them.

I remember as a kid, Wimbledon would come on tv and we'd all get our old rackets out and play tennis all day. Not sit there with a jug of squash and strawberries and cream, or a celebratory Wimbledon pizza from Morrison's. confused

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 14:55:35

Eating healthily is cheaper than eating crap. Not only is the food itself, at face value, cheaper but healthy things will fill you up for longer.

I've recently started a paleo lifestyle and protein with some steamed veg or something is immensely filling and nutritious. I don't get blood sugar peaks and troughs.

Whacking some fish in a pan with some veg hardly takes culinary prowess either.

It's all too easy to make excuses these days.

I feel for those 'addicted' to bad foods - sugar is addictive and it's in everything. I try not to eat processed foods at all and avoid salt at all costs. When I was in the States, I realised they added salt to their milk! Even in London the other week, I ordered a caprese salad...they added sea salt to the mozzarella...

In Yorkshire I know maybe three obese people that I could definitely put a name to.
Now I'm in Surrey and I can't think of any.
Don't see English people as being fat at all!

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 15:01:06

Yes I once saw a documentary with a food scientist explaining that pure white flour, which before mass processing we would not really have been able to access freely, was more addictive than cocaine.

WorraLiberty Thu 10-Jan-13 15:01:11

I think also with all this fast food around, people tend to eat the minute they feel hungry.

Hunger is not the enemy and if you're out shopping, it's quite likely you won't die before you get home...yet walk through the town center and you'll see so many people snacking as they walk around.

whois Thu 10-Jan-13 15:02:10


When I've been on holiday recently it's pretty disgusting to see how many of the British tourists are a wobbling mass of fat.

But equally when walking down high streets in the UK it's like an attack of the blobs. Far too many people are too fat.

I do think there is a class/education divide with people in better jobs tending to be thinner.

IsabelleRinging Thu 10-Jan-13 15:03:16

Agree Jungletoes, celebrating being "curvy" is not something we should be doing to help people become healthier. Fair enough, ridiculing someone for their size is wrong, but it isn't something to be proud of.

Also agree about the snacking, when I was a child crisps came in single packets only and were something we had as a treat on a friday night. We watched family TV programmes without the need for a big bowl of crisps/dips/ etc on the coffee table. I am sooo guilty of indulging in this habit and intend to stop it.

I think the way we cook has changed though. My mum cooked balanced meals of meat and two veg with potatoes. Things like shepherds pie and veg, stew and dumplings, fish cips and peas, Meat pies and vegetables, etc. Although I still cook many of these some days, a lot of out meals are more carbohydrate based such as risottos, pasta dishes, curries with naan and rice, pizza etc. We also eat a lot more carb based snacks like breadsticks, crisps, crackers, cereal bars, ceareals, and toast between meals. As a child we were not allowed to snack like many kids do these days, we had to wait until meal time.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 15:03:54

Freudian Slipper - I have family who are Chinese (my mother being the closest link). I recently visited aunts and uncles etc in Singapore. Usually, I like to exercise strenuously 6 times a week. I did no exercise there (2 week holiday) and lost 2kgs. They eat carbs and red meat etc etc. A very varied diet, but, crucially, no processed foods. I think that's the trick. Also, they obviously do have smaller frames.

As Western foods have become more and more popular there, you do see fatter people. It's really sad.

Binfull - I agree with the 'lack of self-control' thing. I feel there's too much entitlement - 'ohhh, I've been so good. I walked for 10 mins, I must reward myself.' No! A reward to your body for carry you for 10 mins is to give it nutrients. Society seems to have no self control when it comes to indulgence - shopping, clothes, alcohol, food, parking your arse and watching TV.

I think the sooner people stop getting offended and instead realising they are worth so much more than stuffing food into their mouths, the better.

Mumsyblouse Thu 10-Jan-13 15:04:11

Thunder-I'm sorry, I disagree, I also follow a high protein diet but won't eat cheap mass-produced meat a lot, and buying nice fish for four people, enough for them not to get hungary, costs a heck of a lot more than a cheap brand pasta plus ready-made sauce. Vegetables are cheap at markets and Lidl, but not in the regular supermarkets, my husband goes in and laughs at the prices, like £1.99 for four runner beans, stuff that is dirt cheap in his supposedly poor country. If we all ate paleo, as a family of four, using normal meal of the type my granny served up in the war (not full of hormones, water or sugar) we would be paying out a lot per week.

The nutritional value of food itself has changed, it's not just snacking (although I agree that's a big part of it).

FirstTimeForEverything Thu 10-Jan-13 15:12:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddening Thu 10-Jan-13 15:20:48

"I think part of the problem, and I see this a lot on MN, is that its fine to harshly criticize people who smoke, drink, take recreational drugs, but people who poison their bodies with sugar are deemed to be suffering from an 'illness' and so feel free to carry on stuffing their face with sweets and cake. There is a lot of greed about and it shows in our weight"

I disagree - I find that people accept alcoholism and drug addiction as an illness - they'll also accept gambling addiction and anorexia as illnesses - and refuse to see food addiction in the same way.

Except for a drug user or alcoholic you can stay away from your poison with food - well a person can't stop eating for good can they - it's like telling an alcoholic that they can have 1 vodka with each meal!

acceptableinthe80s Thu 10-Jan-13 15:21:58

Has no one mentioned fast food 'restaurants' yet? I do think they have a part to play along with the obvious sedentary lifestyles/over indulgence and lack of education as far as nutrition is concerned, not to mention binge drinking.

I take ds to mcdonalds maybe once every 2 months (he's slim, fit and active and eats 3 healthy meals a day), last time we went a couple of weeks ago i had my usual small cheeseburger and a coffee whilst the very obese couple at the next table had massive triple whatever they are, huge fizzy drinks etc.
It's not rocket science is it.

I'm a big believer in eating healthily during the week and having a little of what you fancy at the weekend. I used to be overweight (emotional eater), I then studied nutrition as part of my job, changed my eating habits, got rid of my car and have stayed a steady/healthy weight for the last 10 years.

I really do feel for very overweight children, they have no choice in what they're eating and even if they are taught about healthy eating at school it's not going to stop their parents giving them crap.

nellyjelly Thu 10-Jan-13 15:23:30

Yes when I was at school in the 1970s the poor fat kid was singled out, precisely because she was the only one ina school of 900 kids! Nowadays overweight kids are ten a penny.

I agree activity is one issue but also processed food being full of fat and salt.

BJunction Thu 10-Jan-13 15:28:18

YES!! Fat bashing thread. Awesome.

Fat people are so fat.

Where are all these fat people?! I can't see them. Yes, I might see unhealthy people (bad skin, hair, unfit etc, which might be caused by bad diet/laziness) but fat- not really.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 15:28:56

Mumsy - I've taken to bulk-buying (£2 for 4kgs of red onions!!!), batches and freezing. I admit, fish is pricey. Chicken has proven to be my friend, however. Also, eggs can be lifesavers. I often buy produce from market stalls.

I do buy quite a bit of frozen and try to avoid unethical meat as much as possible. However, I would still rather spend £3 on two salmon fillets from Tesco than £3 on some Dairy Milk that'll render me starving in an hour anyway.

If you're interested, buy some kale or lightly cook any other kind of dark leafy green. The extra chomping that that kind of food requires should add to the sensation of being full.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 15:30:45

BJunction - can I ask you to reconsider what you wrote?

"Fat bashing thread" - have you ever considered that fat people are bashing themselves? They aren't respecting their bodies enough to be healthy and take care of themselves.

The sooner the world wakes up, stops making excuses and playing the 'oooh, you bastard! How un-PC of you. I'm offended!' card, the better.

Cruel to be kind.

BJunction Thu 10-Jan-13 15:34:28

reconsidered, Maybe my opening line was harsh, but my second line was correct fat people are fat.

But completely agree with the rest of your post

Mumsyblouse Thu 10-Jan-13 15:41:11

Thnder I know what you are saying, the trouble is our local shop has 5 bars of branded Cadburys chocolate for £1! Crap snacks are dirt cheap which makes them all the more tempting.

maddening Thu 10-Jan-13 15:41:16

Ps it's fine to discuss what is actually a problem but there are some offensive terms thrown around - eg british tourists are a wobbling mass of fat. Botn this thread and others - just some nasty imagery really that shows such a lack of respect.

Ps I am fat - size 18 - I have pcos - my hormones do work against me. I have to do a vast amount of excercise to lose any weight. I have a hard time excercising at the moment due to a hernia (from ds' birth) so I have 4 stone to get to pre pg weight (which wasn't thin ) a toddler and a hernia which pops out when I excercise (they've only just agreed to fix my hernia after 2 years) and I know that when I go past most people they are thinking such horrible things about me - it is painful enough without that.

Oh and I don't snack and I don't drink alcohol. I genuinely have a health problem that makes putting weight on v easy eating v little and needing to excercise to an extent that I can't at present ( I swim and walk but even walking can aggravate the hernia ) but you would only see a wobbling mass of fat and assume I stuff my face.

LucyGoose Thu 10-Jan-13 15:44:31

Why is it being "sizeist" if you comment on people's unhealthy weight?? I am no Miss Universe, and I know I could lose some pounds and look/feel better for it. So could lots of other people, its just the facts.

bigbluebus Thu 10-Jan-13 15:44:36

becstar we had observed that there were hardly any fat/obese people in central London when we went on holiday last year. We live in a rural county and everyone goes everywhere in their cars. Consequently there are a lot of unfit and overweight people around here. In London, we used the tube to get around, but still walked miles. Everyone walks at a brisk pace in London as opposed to the dawdle/waddle they do here. Around here they will move heaven and earth to park within 2 feet of their destination - a far cry from those who own cars in cities who may be parked streets away from their houses or destination. It is a lifestyle problem

MaureenShit Thu 10-Jan-13 15:49:22

lol at convention

EldritchCleavage Thu 10-Jan-13 15:52:33

We are getting fatter. I notice it particularly when outside London, e.g. in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and especially among the young. When I think back to my schooldays (v large secondary school, other schools in our town) I can think of maybe one or two chubby children and no one really overweight. That isn't what I see when I walk past groups of schoolchildren now. We have normalised this increase in size, most of all in the 'overweight but not obese' category. Trouble is, if you are like that at say 17 you are in real danger of being very much more overweight by the time you are in your 30s and for women, after having children.

I do think 'healthy' food is far more expensive than junk, especially when you factor in the energy costs of cooking. I also think increased alcohol consumption has been a factor in Britons getting fatter, not just because of the calories in the alcohol itself but also because people often eat a lot with or after alcohol-bar snacks, kebab on the way home etc.

There are so many situations in Britain in which utter rubbish is the only food available to you, especially on the go-motorway service stations, railway station kiosks, football grounds, etc. You will still get tea and coffee (the latter with loads of milk, cream and sugar syrup, if you want) but otherwise it is sweets and crisps all the way. We didn't used to eat like that, I think.

littletingoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 15:54:44

I agree that, on the whole, people have lost track of what a healthy weight should look like. I am very overweight/obese. However, I do not eat a lot and what I do eat is not processed (wholemeal oat toast for breakfast and lunch, which I sometimes do not have, followed by steamed fresh veggies and dry-fried fresh meat). No added salt, seasoning, oil, breading, nothing. I HATE chips, crisps and soda and we keep no chocolate/sweets/sugary snacks in the house. Our diet is bland and boring. However most people will probably assume I eat rubbish. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 and have always struggled to lose weight. However, not all of us with weight problems can simply cut down on what they eat. I can think of no ways to cut my calorie intake!

TheBrideofMucky Thu 10-Jan-13 16:00:00

My brother moved to London a year ago and has put on a lot of weight but I put this down to being out socialising with work most nights and the food/alcohol that entails. grin

I definitely think there is a skewed sense of "normal" here though. I think the national average is about a size 14 isn't it but unless you are very tall, you generally need to lose weight as a size 14. I'm 5"5 and would be very big at a size 14. I'm not intending to offend anyone, I know this is very sensitive.

Abra1d Thu 10-Jan-13 16:00:34

I think it's getting to be time to call as it as it is re. obesity and over-eating.

Young man of about 17 I sat next to on a plane just before Christmas--your obesity made it very hard for me to drink my own cup of coffee and read my paper. You were well into my seat space because you were so large.

For lunch, you ate: a large cheese wrap. A pack of extra large mayonnaise-y sandwiches of some kind. A large packet of crisps. And drank a large bottle of coke. You probably ate the entire calorie intake for someone your age in one hour-long flight.

That is why you are so large.

And your being so fat actually did negatively impact on my journey. It was uncomfortable for me to sit squashed up into what was left of my seat. You were very nice and polite and I wouldn't have dreamed of saying anything to you, but really I felt very sad that a boy of your age was so large.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 16:02:02

It is fact. I am overweight and bashing myself. Denial is the biggest issue to losing weight. I know, because I spent years giving myself excuses.

I had PCOS, but in a lot of people it occurs because you are overweight. I lost 10% of my bodyweight and it definitely improved. I've had an IUD fitted now. End of excuses.

I had abdominal separation during pregnancy, as my DS was 10 lbs. I used to use it as an excuse not to exercise. My women's doctor here told me frankly it was just that, an excuse. She said even the least healthy of us can get out and walk slowly for 20 minutes a day with Nordic sticks. So I did. End of excuses.

I used to eat healthily, no junk food, or alcohol i thought. But keeping a diary showed me that we were using far too much olive oil, eating huge portions of food, and snacking on olives, cheese, dips, homous and pittas, lattes etc. All very "middle class" acceptable food. Not typical junk food. All laden with calories. So now I update the Fitness Pal Ap everyday to honestly measure my intake. End of excuses.

My health insurance company don't want to hear the how's and whys of why I am over my BMI frankly. They just know there is a risk there because I am over it.

I know as a society things are going wrong, and we must be supportive. But in the end it only comes down to an individual thinking about their actions that will change that. And it is bloody hard, but no one can do it for you.

Lafaminute Thu 10-Jan-13 16:02:27

I was in the south west of France last year, there were Brits there but also (possibly predominately) Spanish, French, Dutch and German people. I saw a LOT of fat children. We were surprised-not so much the parents but the vast majority of children had rolls of fat. We reckoned it must be down to lack of activity and too much screen time.

DoctorAnge Thu 10-Jan-13 16:08:41

I agree with OP.
The British are bigger generally than any other nationality Where I have been on holiday.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 10-Jan-13 16:14:16

A list of fattest countries, as you see, UK are 28th out of 50 listed:

Nr 1: Nauru; 94.5%
Nr 2: Federated States of Micronesia; 91.1%
Nr 3: Cook Islands; 90.9%
Nr 4: Tonga; 90.8%
Nr 5: Niue; 81.7%
Nr 6: Samoa; 80.4%
Nr 7: Palau; 78.4%
Nr 8: Kuwait; 74.2%
Nr 9: United States; 74.1%
Nr 10: Kiribati; 73.6%
Nr 11: Dominica; 71.0%
Nr 12: Barbados; 69.7%
Nr 13: Argentina; 69.4%
Nr 14: Egypt; 69.4%
Nr 15: Malta; 68.7%
Nr 16: Greece; 68.5%
Nr 17: New Zealand; 68.4%
Nr 18: United Arab Erimates; 68.3%
Nr 19: Mexico; 68.1%
Nr 20: Trinidad And Tobago; 67.9%
Nr 21: Australia; 67.4%
Nr 22: Belarus; 66.8%
Nr 23: Chile; 65.3%
Nr 24: Venezuela; 65.2%
Nr 25: Seychelles; 64.6%
Nr 26: Bahain; 64.1%
Nr 27: Andorra; 63.8%
Nr 28: United Kingdom; 63.8%

ChuffMuffin Thu 10-Jan-13 16:14:58

The sad fact is here, it is much cheaper to go to a takeaway for your tea than it is to go to Tesco or Asda, buy your ingredients and cook it instead. £4.20 for 500g of mince is shocking.

TheSecondComing Thu 10-Jan-13 16:15:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Abra1d Thu 10-Jan-13 16:16:57

But that is a good four portions, isn't it? Just over a pound a portion. Possibly less if you used vegetables, tomatoes, etc, and bulked it out in a pasta sauce for five or six. More 80p a serving, plus pasta/rice.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 10-Jan-13 16:17:20

Thats average clothes size though.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 10-Jan-13 16:24:09

Did anyone see "Weightloss ward " last night on ITV ...a ward in Sunderland where obese people go before gastric band/balloon ops.
One guy was 29 and weighed 47 stones.
He was sent there for 4 weeks to lose weight before a blloon was fitted...he managed to put ON weight, as the trolley lady came round every morning with crisps/sweets and he was buying loads.
Why on earth would the hospital allow that to happen?

The man had been in care, lots of back history..but I lost any empathy for him when the surgeon told him how much his bed was costing a day..£250. His attitude was "so what, that's what the NHS was for". He just didn't see that he had to take responsibility.
Sadly his daughter was overweight..they lived on kebabs, pizza and takeaways.

maddening Thu 10-Jan-13 16:28:27

Binful - mine is more than just separated tummy muscles - my dr helped push my intestine in though my abdominal wall today - I take it you are inferring that I am using excuses - I do exercise but it is limited due to the hernia.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 16:30:51

Sorry, possibly playing Devil's advocate here, but maddening, perhaps some fat people get treated with no respect because they themselves have no respect? How can you respect yourself if you think you're only good enough to eat crap?

Further, in this vein, mumsy, I completely agree with the tempting £1 chocolate bars. I truly believe beating a sugar addiction is far, far harder than quitting smoking or drinking. After all, smoking and not smoking are so blatantly different, but sugar is everywhere and impossible to cut out really (it's in fruit, obviously) so the cold turkey approach is already off the method list. I've managed 2 weeks with utterly no sugar and when I did have a muffin, Jesus H Christ. I thought I was on speed! First three days were hard, bu as I think another poster said, once you've gotten over the initial withdrawal symptoms, the addiction and temptation fades.

I still believe that those cheap snacks will still be more expensive. The sugar plunge they cause triggers hunger, so you're kind of 'buying cheap, buying twice'. On one hand I blame the manufacturers.

BJunction - huge love for you right now! You're right with your 'fat people are fat'. It's ok to realise and admit that some people in society are fat. 'Fat' in and of itself is not a dirty word. It's the lack of responsibility people take for it that's the huge and perpetual problem. The moment they realise that 'curvy' isn't an excuse or euphemism to get away with having rolls of fat, the better for them. Their quality of life will massively improve.

Further, what with sugar being addictive and Nature vs Nurture, I reckon (I don't have kids though, so please correct me) that a child would eat healthier foods (maybe not lentils - that's an odd texture to a lot of people) and not be begging for chicken nuggets etc because they simply wouldn't be addicted/know the flavour if they had never been exposed to it before. <insert caveat about busy mums and screaming hungry child. I have sympathy!)

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 10-Jan-13 16:32:00

Im overweight, and im now trying to be healthy so my DD doesnt go the same way, so far shes tall and a skinny minnie.

TheSecondComing Thu 10-Jan-13 16:33:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thebody Thu 10-Jan-13 16:34:34

I work in a school reception class and only one of the children could be described as a bit chubby.

In Cyprus I saw some obese people, some British, some German and many many Greeks...

Think you may be exaggerating.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 16:36:23

MrsRobertDuvall - completely agree. It's the lack of responsibility that I think pisses a lot of people off when it comes to overweight/obese people. I've had friends/colleagues etc remark 'ugh, look at that fat person' or 'look at that fatty sweating on the treadmill' - Christ, at least they're doing something about it.

That said, there are plenty of unhealthy skinny people. It always amazes me on that Supersize vs. Superskinny programme how many of the 'skinny' ones feast solely on junk food and soft drinks. Way to kill your body. There was one episode where the 'supersize' one was a chef or something - cooked the most delicious looking meals. In that scenario, I think I may have preferred to have been her over the junk-eating skinny. At least the former was getting nutrients (her portion sizes were just too large).

littletingoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 16:43:12

I also agree with Thunder about children. I have a DD who is 14 months old. I do not add salt or sugar to her diet, as I want her to get a healthy start and not end up with my weight issues. I want to scream whenever I am told 'oh a little salt/sugar/fried food won't hurt!' It hurt me as a child and made me what I am now, which is eating very little (and no junk) and still struggling to shed the weight.

Loquace Thu 10-Jan-13 16:46:47

Italian kids are getting fatter, I saw a programme where more and more eat from school vending machines rather than at home, its a big concern over there apparently.

This is true. As "easycook"/junk food has expanded in range and fallen in price people, especially kids, are getting bigger.

I'd say a good 20% of my son's friends/main gang are overweight, a couple of them seriously so.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 16:49:37

its shocking! what would once have been the largest size in the country is now not uncommon in every town.

and the "fattest man in britian" types used to have a lifetime of eating behind them, whereas now it's people in their late teens and 20s that weight! sad

ubik Thu 10-Jan-13 16:51:01

Alot of my colleagues are obese. i do shift work and i put on half a stone before i realised and cut back on junk/portion sizes. Shift work is notorious for causing weight gain as you eat at odd times and snack on sugary foods as you are tired.

Most obese people I know are not poor - they are in relatively well paid work, but they have sedentary lives, health problems and see getting a £2 'munchy box' consisting of kebab, chips, pizza slice and chicken wings, as a normal meal. They will have a macdonalds at 4am, they will eat a pile of cheese sandwiches and a packet of crisps at lunch time, they will give their kids money to go to the chippy at lunchtime.

I don't know what the answer is.

Lovecat Thu 10-Jan-13 16:57:06

Lots of overweight children where I live.

We have lost sight of what 'overweight' and 'obese' look like. People assume that obese is that guy on the telly last night who couldn't walk through his doorway at home. It's actually far closer to what passes for 'normal' in some parts of the UK. I was obese. I was 12st 3 at 5'4" - it didn't look what we think obese to be (I carry weight quite well, unfortunately as it doesn't give me a massive incentive to lose it) and I was quite shocked to hear it, but it was the kick I required to get me to lose weight.

One thing that became very apparent to me when I did Lighterlife a few years ago (I would NOT recommend this diet at all, I only did it as I had to lose at least 2 stone quickly in order to have an operation) is how dependent we are as a culture on food, both as social life and sheer habit. As you don't actually eat anything on LL except the creosote food packs, you become very aware of how much social activity revolves around food - the popcorn at the cinema, the coffee & cake while shopping, the crisps at the pub, eating out for a date or just snacking for something to do... and the option to 'go large', buy a large bar of chocolate for "only a pound!" or have an (unnecessary) side order is pushed at every opportunity. Food is everywhere and most of it is stuff we don't need.

I find when I cook from scratch I eat far more healthily, but getting into that frame of mind and sticking to it is hard to do, especially when as a society we have such a skewed relationship with food.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 16:58:21

IMO the biggest stumbling block is that people think that normal/average = okay!

it used to be! it used to be that if you were around the middle weight in your peer group you were probably a healthy weight, but now you can be the slimmest of your peer group and still very over weight.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 16:59:15

x post with lovecat! agree with everything you say!

littletingoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 16:59:17

ubik if I ate that much I would be very, very sick. Yet I probably look like your colleagues. sad I don't remember the last time I had fast food. I think it was when I was pregnant and craved a fish sandwich (no chips).

littletingoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 17:02:09

Lovecat my DH and I do none of that. It helps that I detest popcorn, crisps and chips. Oh and count soft drinks with the list of things I dislike.

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 17:02:31

Lovecat - 100% agree. I often say to DH 'why must we always do 'date night' to a restaurant? Why is everything about food?' (he is a very healthy weight).

I often order a starter as my main and couldn't give a monkey's if someone thought it odd. We're all obsessed with food and I find the more you think about something, the more you want it.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:05:12

If I take "normal" healthy food to work people say "oh are you on a diet" :-S
- it's just normal wholefood! nuts, fruit, some protein.. basically anything but a ready meal to go in the staff microwave or crisps etc

goldiehorn Thu 10-Jan-13 17:05:55

There was a programme on a few months ago where they took overweight families who were firmly in denial about why they were so fat. They insisted that they ate healthily, didnt eat much etc., but when they hid cameras in their house it told a different story.

Now I accept that that programme was probably heavily edited and not totally true, but it struck me that it probably isnt a million miles away from the attitudes of many overweight people all over the country. Denial.

Lovecat Thu 10-Jan-13 17:07:17

Oh, and I'm currently doing Slimming World because I need to lose a stone (currently just over 11st) and want to eat more healthily long-term. The number of people who have said to me 'oh, you don't need to lose weight!' or 'you're not fat!' - erm, yes, I am. I could actually stand to lose 2 stone but am aiming for one as a first goal.

I have size 10 clothes from 20 years ago (I do a lot of amdram so never throw anything away in case it's needed as a costume!) and they are a current size 6 in measurements. Overweight has become normalised.

It makes me die that at the SW meetings so many people there talk about how they're going to the chippy for a blow-out now that they've had their weight logged for the week.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 17:07:51

No maddening it wasn't an attack at you personally - it was at me!

In th UK my doc would sympathize and say to me how much she understood how difficult it is to lose weight.

My doc here just said I must at least get out for a stroll each day for 15 minutes, and basically I must be eating more than I expend to be gaining weight regardless of hormones. So when I analyzed my "healthy" diet with the Fitness app (thinking I was doing the right thing by olive oil rather than lard on my Sunday lunch for example) there were so many stealth calories it was unbelievable.

And the only cure to PCOS symptoms with obesity, is to lose weight. A vicious circle but you have to do it. The only way to do that is to use up more calories than you consume. There isn't really any other way.

squeakytoy Thu 10-Jan-13 17:11:13

I go to Lanzarote usually twice a year and the OP is not being unreasonable at all. It is one of the cheapest holiday destinations, and the majority of british and irish are overweight, and eat as if food was about to be rationed while they are there.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:11:56

goldiehorn I think that was called secret eaters??

I think it was probably pretty spot on, so many people say they eat healthily but IMO don't at all

their actual main meals may be low cal, but there's the drinks and the snacks and the extras!

my mum is pretty typical of this, she eats miserable meagre main meals and says here genes are fat hmm but if you stop for a coffee she has a large late and a large snack every time, I don't think she counts that stuff at all, I don't think she even tastes/notices it!

Lovecat Thu 10-Jan-13 17:13:12

YY Oldebaglady, the first week I shopped for SW I looked at the supermarket conveyor belt, all lean meat, fruit & veg and thought 'ooh, that looks so healthy!' - yet people give me commiserations because I can't have don't want a slice of cream cake. There is a definite mindset that you're somehow depriving yourself by not eating choc, cake & crisps. I know, because I've been there too, and am now trying to retrain myself to think I'm 'treating' myself by feeding my body nutritious food that's good for it. Hard when the cheese n' onion crisps come around, but it's early days! smile

ubik Thu 10-Jan-13 17:13:51

i was ill with whooping cough in the summer and watched some daytime TV and it was ALL cookery programmes, you couldn't get away from it.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:13:51

peoples idea of what healthy food is is warped too!
a low protein high aspartaime diet is not healthy!!

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:16:46

Lovecat I think the trick is to remember that when you are "allowed" that crap, you barely taste it and rarely enjoy it, you just eat it mindlessly!

we use language like "treating ourselves" and "ooo being a bit naughty" which makes crap food sound exciting and enjoyable, but it's really not! its not as nice as sitting down to a filling but not stuffing healthy meal that leaves you feeling good.
You can inhale a bag of crisps without even realising you're doing it, then it's empty and you're still hungry! its not a "treat"

WestCoastWinnie Thu 10-Jan-13 17:23:21

Agree with a lot of the posters - trouble is (of course) that food isn't always about fuel - it's wrapped up in a whole load of other emotions and history, especially for women (and, dare I say, mums). It's taken me years to sort through food "issues" - still getting there. In the words of the very great Caitlin Moran (from "How to be a Woman"):
“In a nutshell then, by choosing food as your drug ...the valium of the working classes - you can still make the packed lunches, do the school run, look after the baby, pop in on your mum and then stay up all night with an ill five-year-old - something that is not an option if you’re caning off a gigantic bag of skunk, or regularly climbing into the cupboard under the stairs and knocking back quarts of Scotch. Overeating is the addiction of choice of carers, and that’s why it’s come to be regarded as the lowest-ranking of all the addictions. It’s still a way of f***ing yourself up whilst still remaining fully functional, because you have to. Fat people aren’t indulging in the ‘luxury’ of their addiction making themselves useless, chaotic or a burden. Instead, they are slowly self-destructing in a way that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. And that’s why it’s so often a woman’s addiction of choice…
Perhaps it’s time for women to finally stop being secretive about their vices and start treating them like all other addicts treat their habits instead…Because at the moment, I can’t help but notice that in a society so obsessed with fat - so eager in the appellation, so vocal in its disapproval - the only people who aren’t talking about it are the only people whose business it really is.”

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 10-Jan-13 17:28:01

I beleive you OP. In local town I was standing at a bus stop, and many people walked by. I realised that not one of the younger girls did not have a spare tyre. I mean 18/20 yr olds with love handles and big bellies.
The boys don't seem as fat. It has become much more normalised to be overweight, and I think it is partly car culture, partly alchohol, and partly the fact that it is considered normal to fill your face on the go.
I don't think people eat meals like they used to-just snack all day. Also it used to be considered gross to eat on public transport, or walking down the street, not it is acceptable.
I don't care what people look like, but the health effects of having that much fat around your middle from such a young age are dire.
Also, parents have got to take responsibility for what their kids eat.
I don't think we should put too much store on weight though tbh. I weigh a lot more than I look like I weigh, but am very fit and active, and have a flat belly. I think I must have heavy knees or something!
It's health that matters, above all.

MrsMelons Thu 10-Jan-13 17:30:13

thebody I agree there are not that many overweight/obese infant school children but the problem gets worse as they get older.

I work hard to maintain my weight and slip up at times like most people, I never ever buy bigger clothes so as soon as they are too tight I know I haven't got any choice. My issues stem back to being bulimic and my weird control issues with eating.

Its strange though for the first time in 15 years I actually feel like I am cured, I have struggled all these years and spent time overeating and crash dieting on a constant loop.

In September I decided to stop dieting completely as it wasn't actually working at all as I was still bingeing as got so hungry. I ensured I was exercising at least twice a week and I just started eating normally without thinking I cannot have this or that. It turns out that because I had told myself I wasn't dieting I didn't actually want any extra crap and I lost a stone in about 10 weeks. I haven't felt deprived or had too many wobbles about my 'issues' other than knowing that xmas could potentially be difficult. Mentally I feel better than ever.

Being overweight/overeating is an awful thing but I think everything about weight issues in our society now is wrong. I feel there is lots of pressure to be thin but also people everywhere on tv/magazines telling you it is ok to be morbidly obese as long as you are happy ie Lisa Riley!

gazzalw Thu 10-Jan-13 17:33:20

We have two very slim children here who eat plenty but do not ever overeat. I am very aware that there are a lot of children out there who seem to be saying "I'm hungry" as soon as they've had one snack and are given another....Also DW has a friend who has a very chunky ten year old. She seems to eat healthily (not the crisp and coke type of diet which seems partly to blame for this obesity epidemic) but it's just gargantuan portion size which is the issue for her...

DW and I had this conversation the other evening. We were saying that even up to the 1990s it was rare to see lots of fat people in this Country, regardless of socio-economic background, whereas now they are wherever you go and I cannot believe how many puffy faced, fat (there is no other word for them), waddling children there are around who look as if they've been force-fed empty calories...Not their fault at all but not a pretty sight...

I do think that portion size is part of the problem....It's not without reason that apparently the Brits were at their healthiest during WW2 on rations....

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:34:16

"thebody I agree there are not that many overweight/obese infant school children but the problem gets worse as they get older"

oh I don't know about that, again I think it comes back to what we perceive as "normal" again, when I look back at photos of my preschool days we were all knees, now if there's a kid like that they stand out as unusually skinny. It makes it hard to judge as sometimes I wonder if my LO is unhealthily skinny (from standing beside his little peers), but then I remember that he wouldn't have looked skinny at all "in my day"

melika Thu 10-Jan-13 17:36:52

I blame our crappy weather, who wants to go for a walk or play out in freezing weather. Kids want to stay in the warm on their pcs and adults want to sit in front of corrie. We haven't got the village squares to walk around like the Spanish and the warm nights, etc. There are a lot of reasons why.

stopgap Thu 10-Jan-13 17:38:22

I've lived outside the UK for ten years, and I had a similar thought when I was mulling around Manchester airport a few years ago. There used to be a handful of kids with weight issues at my primary school, thirty years ago, but they were only a little chubby. Most of us were rail-thin, always on the go and ate like horses.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:38:37

even going by trouser length Vs waist sizes for pre-schoolers, it does seem that bigger = average these days. IMO the waist sizes in most kids shops are enourmous compaired to the lengths. And boys pants! they are IMO HUGE for the age they say they are for!

ThunderInMyHeart Thu 10-Jan-13 17:38:45

meilka - isn't that just another excuse an example of passing the buck?

What about Sacndinavians? Less daylight and far colder...but look at how they're generally lean.

gazzalw Thu 10-Jan-13 17:41:41

I can always remember a really discomforting occurrence which happened a couple of years ago. DD was about 4 and wanted to go on a bouncy castle (but the type you have to climb up - more of a slide effect really). Another little girl of about the same age but triple the weight also went on it at the same time. DD leaped up to the top in the blink of an eye whereas the other little girl was puffing and panting like an elderly person with chronic airways disease... Needless to say as it was a lovely, sunny day we kept bumping into them in the locality and every time we saw them, she was eating something....

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 17:41:48

the weather isn't that bad in the uK hmm a lot of countries have extremes of hot or cold or wind that makes going outside potentially fatal! but they still do most of the time (with proper equipement/cothing), 99% of the time what's the worst that's going to happen to you if you go outside in the uk in just an ordinary coat? you might get a bit damp! you're not likely to have a cow land on your head from extreme wind, or literally freeze to death or get fatally dehydrated from the heat!

Samnella Thu 10-Jan-13 17:43:36


I am overweight but in the process of losing it. DH is slim. My DCs are slim and I want them to stay that way. I have noticed very few overweight children at DCs primary school but see many overweight teens. I also see a lot of teens eating fried take away chicken - surely there is a link.

People are definitely bigger. I think it's partly we have made being overweight normal and snacking. I am sure we didn't snack so much when I was young. I couldn't agree more with Caitlin Moran's words in WestCoasts post.

TheBrideofMucky Thu 10-Jan-13 17:44:32

He weather definitely doesn't help. In the summer we are all outside and barely feel like eating whereas in the winter, comfort eating is something I have to consciously fight against when it's cold and grey and drizzly outside and my body is covered up in woolies so I don't necessarily have the motivation to look good.

MrsMelons Thu 10-Jan-13 17:45:08

I think maybe there are more than I originally thought as DSs infant school, now I am picturing the classes there are probably 1 or 2 in each of the 5 classes so probably 10 children out of 130 altogether which is definitely more than when I was at school. I definitely remember there being either just 1 fat person (and not actually that overweight like the kids now) or none.

Loads of the children are thin and look fine-skinny to me, I think I have a fairly good grip on what is thin as with my problems I probably see people as being slightly 'fatter' than maybe they are (especially me).

i always notice this when watching tv progrmmes from the 70s and 80s; there's rarely anyone overweight, not even in the background

Pigsmummy Thu 10-Jan-13 17:52:04

Icbeneg people will always talk weight issues and obesity. Always have, always will. You can't really do anything about that. If talking about it bothers people then the solution is to not put yourself in that category surely? Or read another thread?

cinnamonnut Thu 10-Jan-13 17:57:42

I think alcohol is relevant here too - we have a binge culture here and I don't think people realise the incredible number of calories in alcohol. Absolutely no nutritional value either - at least a calorie-heavy bowl of white pasta would fill you up. Alcohol does nothing.

BegoniaBampot Thu 10-Jan-13 17:59:19

Just back from an AI in the Caribean. The majority of folk Canadian, US and Brits were very fit and toned. At a size 12, I felt quite porky in comparison. I was surprised at how good the US folk looked but think it's more a folk who are maybe educated, fairly well off look after themselves more. Have lived overseas as well and agree at how big everyone looked when I'd come home.

DoctorAnge Thu 10-Jan-13 17:59:36

So true baglady a real treat for me is grilled veg with fish -yum!

You are the only country in Europe to consume so much Crisps. You are the 10th fattest nation on the planet.

You friggin Brits just dont get it. You are hell bent on clinging to your entitlement to eat a pack of crisps a day, saying "it is only potato cooked in oil and some salt, and everything else I eat is healthy, so neeerrrrr- No difference."

People advocate the rights and health value to giving the following items in their childrens packet lunches, setting them up for a life of obesity:

- Sandwich item (usually white pasty bread with jam, chocolate spread/cheese spread or ham)
- Fruit Juice (High in sugar)
- Cheese strings (processed fat with dairy)
- Packet of Crisps (potato cooked in oil)
- Cake bar (No comment)
- Piece of Fruit (only healthy element, and the one item which justifies the rest, and which most likely ends up in the bin as opposed to a little tummy)



< prepares for flaming and deletion>

LifeofPo Thu 10-Jan-13 18:07:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hopkinette Thu 10-Jan-13 18:09:37

Everyone keeps saying we've lost touch with what a healthy weight is - I think that's probably true but how do we find out what is a healthy weight for our height? What is a reliable source of information on this?

MooncupGoddess Thu 10-Jan-13 18:12:25

Well, I think the BMI guidelines are fairly reasonable, hopkinette, unless you're a serious athlete.

specialknickers Thu 10-Jan-13 18:15:55

I used to live in the Netherlands, and I'm sad to say that you could spot British tourists a mile off. They were always twice the size as everyone else.

I think heres's why: as a nation we do no exercise, we give ourselves too many "treats", we binge drink and obesity is contagious (seeing people fatter than you gives you licence to eat more).

Disclaimer: am a bit of a chubster myself.

Loquace Thu 10-Jan-13 18:16:41

I think misifnormation is a significant issue, or partial incomplete info.

Lots of Italy eats pasta, lives long time=pasta healthy=eat pasta.

Except the portions of pasta in the UK are HUGE. Even in people's homes, not just resturants. And it is drowing in sauce.

Somebody mentioned on another thread that the sensaltionalist media was an issue, and I agree.

They seem to be giving a lot of conflicting info like it was fact via the constant use of "scientists say"( as though there was a concensus and X was an undisputed fact). The food industy doesn't help by jumping on bandwagons and squeezing profit out of them as much as possible.

Maybe people pick and mix as suits in a state of confusion.

Ie I'll eat this (massive plate of ) pasta cos of the Italian thing, a large steak as a nod to the low carb thing, sweets and ice cream cos of the "all carbs are sugar so this is practically the same as a lentil" thing, that coke cos it is "sugar free", that tub of fake dairy stuff cos it is "fat and dairy free", that ready made dinner cos it has a green design and a "healthy choice" sticker on it, that pudding cos it has a green V on it and vegetarian is a healthy diet....and so on and so on and so on.

Maybe also the idea that you are picking a "healthy choices" cos the media/industry says so (sort of) leads to faux "virtue" which is then "cashed in" for something tasty and unhealthy cos despite having eaten far more than needed, much of it of dubious nutrional value, people feel they have been "good" and deprived themselves, so something "naughty" is called for ?

I think the above is a way maybe for people to sleep walk into a weight problem without realising what they are doing and why they are gaining weight.

RedToothbrush Thu 10-Jan-13 18:24:08

Its interesting that one of the most successful diets out has been shown to be the Nine Inch Plate Diet. Even more interesting when you compare it with the fact that the single most effective way to loose weight has been repeatedly been shown to be through diet clubs which offer mutual support.

All in all, it does seem to suggest a 'normalisation' process and a social acceptability that is fuelling obesity.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 10-Jan-13 18:24:13

The thing with Scandis is that their lifestyle is often much more outdoorsy than most Britts. In the summer they practically live outside. The often have a little boat and a hut in the mountains and spend time hunting and fishing and hiking.
In Denmark (the least rugged Scandi country) nursery children go nurseries ion the woods, and spend almost all thier time outdoors.
I think it's weird when people here wont go out in anything but sunshine.
If ds and I are out and about on a big walk/cycle, or at the playground, we only ever see dog walkers. Everyone else seems to look outside, and say "oh, it might rain" and goes back to the telly, or to the shopping centres.
I can appreciate that being poor does have something to do with lack of activity though. I have been poor for 6 years, and if I had more money we could find more interesting activities to do, but I can't stand being inside all day, even when its grim out.
I think all this "slobbing out" culture, with the slankets and people wearing pj's all day is quite pervasive. Ten years ago, if you never got properly dressed people would say you were depressed!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 10-Jan-13 18:29:58


And you cannot blame this country's obesity on the weather FFS! There are many reasons, but the main one, in my opinion are the types of food on offer and their advertising.

frillyflower Thu 10-Jan-13 18:33:36

I have noticed on MN that it is often the case that people can't be regarded as being responsible for their obesity or unclean house or whatever because of greed or laziness.

It's greedy to eat too much and it's lazy to never clean up.

hopkinette Thu 10-Jan-13 18:34:27

Well, I think the BMI guidelines are fairly reasonable, hopkinette, unless you're a serious athlete.

Ah ok. I was just wondering if maybe the "official" idea of a healthy weight had possibly crept up over the years in the same way as popular perceptions of healthy weight have done.

maddening Thu 10-Jan-13 18:35:32

Thunder - not I don't eat crap - I don't snack, I don't drink alcohol. I do have self respect - again this shows a complete lack of empathy and a load of assumptions.

Binful - it is 10 years since I was diagnosed - I was on metformin prior to ds and that helped to slow down weightgain - when hormones are involved it seriously impacts the ability to metabolise normally - in that 10 years the only way I have managed to lose weight is an hour of sweat inducing excercise a night - miss a couple of days and it goes back on. Since ds I have had this hernia and only moderate exercise does not cut it. I eat 3 meals a day and drink tea and water. I don't snack. My evening meal was a piece of veggie quiche and a load of boiled veg. I will next eat weetabix at breakfast.

But thanks for suggesting I'm lazy and stuffing my face.

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 18:40:07

"Ah ok. I was just wondering if maybe the "official" idea of a healthy weight had possibly crept up over the years in the same way as popular perceptions of healthy weight have done."

well dress sizes certainly have changed totally! I have the odd sentimental item of size 10/12 clothing that I kept from the 90s and they are teeny compaired to today's sizes!
So we can mindlessly creep it on and stay the same dress size and stay one of the slimmer ones of our peer group!
On here you often hear "size 12 is NOT fat!!".... well... yeah it's at least pushing that way, and in a lot of shops nowadays a 12 is rather big! a 12 even 10 years ago wasn't big but it was a different size then!

hackmum Thu 10-Jan-13 18:40:23

I agree with the OP - and I've really noticed it a lot in the past 5-10 years. When I was growing up (1970s) obesity was very rare. Now it's incredibly common, and even children and teenagers are getting fatter. I think it's mostly to do with junk food, and also the way that manufacturers are putting sugar into everything - wasn't there a programme a little while ago that talked about how manufacturers started to advertise stuff as "low-fat" and then compensated by filling the "low-fat" products with sugar? And I saw that Robert Lustig had a book out saying that eating sugar can inhibit the hormone that tells you you're full, so people just eat more and more of it.

I also think that bigger portions of everything are to blame - you no longer get little fairy cakes but these enormous cup cakes slathered in icing, or big chocolate muffins. People no longer have cups of tea when they go out but extra large coffees made with milk. Instead of an ordinary size bag of crisps you can buy a "grab bag" size or "bags for sharing" which presumably don't always get shared.

And then there's fizzy drinks, which are the biggest culprit of all. I have fond memories when I was a kid of drinking squash, which probably had all sorts of undesirable e-numbers, but on the other hand a glass of squash was mainly water, not sugar.

Loquace Thu 10-Jan-13 18:46:54

but on the other hand a glass of squash was mainly water, not sugar

Certainly it was in the 70s during the three day week and the constant power cuts (my memory of the 70s is one of sitting around with lit candles all the time) . My mum used to put in enough squash to (barely) colour the water and stop. I nearly fell over when I had a Ribena at a better off friend's house and found out what it was supposed to taste like.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 18:48:24

Ever excuse me, where did I directly accuse you of stuffing your face maddening?

I was referring to my own journey with PCOS and weightloss. I was diagnosed when I was 28, and I am 42 now. I tried Metformin, was told I would never conceive, that it was a vicious circle, my weight went up to 19 stone and I couldn't see and end to it.

It was only when someone stopped hand patting me (yes me, didn't use the word you anywhere, and i had actually started to write my post before you had even posted, but had to stop and see to ds btw) and said really look at what you are eating and doing for exercise that I stopped and identified where I went wrong.

And when you (me) count all the calories of your (me again) intake and it adds up to more than 1200-1300 hundred in a sedentary job, you (me once again) are simply not going to shift the weight.

But hey presto here I am 5.5 stone lighter, still with a way to go, but the scales aren't lying to me. So what has changed in 14 years that I "battled" with it? What I put into my mouth.

I'm sorry that your weight and health is such a sensitive subject, but I wasn't really referring to you at all.

EuroShagmore Thu 10-Jan-13 18:49:28

There is definitely a normalisation of being bigger. When I was growing up in the 80s, you had to go to special shops to find clothes over a size 14 (and that was probably smaller than a size 14 is now). Now it is completely normal.

I think kids are less active because they don't play out as much as we used to.

Portion sizes are definitely larger than they used to be, and snacking (anywhere and everywhere) is more acceptable. People munch at their desks (guilty!), on the street, on the train, etc. And I rarely seem to walk past a pushchair lately without seeing the child in it cramming some sort of snack into his or her face!

And people are far too reliant on motorised transport. Walking is seen as the exception rather than the rule. I try to make walking my default rule day to day for any distance up to about a mile and a half. Over that I will consider a bus. In London, it's often quicker to walk that distance anyway. People are always surprised when I turn up on foot. It's just not normal anymore. And on that topic, wtf was the thinking behind giving all kids free bus passes? You now see plump teenagers taking the bus one or two stops all the time.

grimbletart Thu 10-Jan-13 19:04:28

I think people underestimate how important exercise is. My weight from when I was 18 until my late 30s was a pretty steady 8st 10lbs (I'm 5ft 6ins) and I was very active and sporty. I am an endomorph so aware that I could potentially put on weight very easily if I did not exercise. In my 30s I had a serious disc problem and could not exercise properly. My weight rose by 3 stone despite not eating any more - in fact watching my diet carefully.

When I was 50 I had curative back surgery and once recovered started exercising - walking mostly everywhere at first, then running up stairs instead of using lifts, then going to the gym to do aerobic exercise and weight training packing on muscle instead of fat.

Over the course of a year I was back to 8st 10lbs without ever changing my eating habits and despite hitting the menopause, a danger point for weight gain. My weight remained the same until my mid 60s, when because of arthritis, although I can walk and do walk a lot I had to cut back on the very vigorous exercise I did before because of pain and stiffness, cartilage problems etc. Sure enough the weight started coming back and this time I have had to cut about 500 calories off my diet to maintain my weight at around 9 stone.

I think the place of exercise in fitness and weight control is very underrated.

hillyhilly Thu 10-Jan-13 19:08:07

I was in Lanzarote last week and noticed the same. Lots of very overweight people, always British.
There were of course non overweight British tourists too but it was noticeable how many large British people there were.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 10-Jan-13 19:14:51

I think the posters saying that they never see overweight people or that the op must be exaggerating are just proof that being overweight has become normal.

They see them every day.

DialsMavis Thu 10-Jan-13 19:16:17

I went clubbing on New YearsEve. We ended up somewhere full of teenagers. I couldn't believe how fat a lot of them were.. especially as it was a drum n bass club, so they should have been all pilled up and skinny

eilonwy Thu 10-Jan-13 19:27:44

I think it's due to our culture of staying inside, watching tv, and the constant requirement to be with our kids during all activites (can't play outside anymore without adult supervision, limiting play). Diets also poorer because fattening foods are the cheapest....
Always had a problem with fat since school nurse told me I was too fat when I was 10 and I needed to lose weight. However, my Dad was seriously overweight when he was diagnosed with cancer. Over a period of 3 months he lost 5 stone in weight, and I now realise that he would have died if he hadn't been overweight because his body would have been too weak to take the stress of the treatment. I remind myself of this when I start to obsess about being fat/kids/husband being too big, etc.
I don't advocate being overweight but being a little bit "larger" can sometimes be a good thing.

eilonwy Thu 10-Jan-13 19:29:22

Exercise is the answer

TranceDaemon Thu 10-Jan-13 19:29:34

At the moment 1 in 4 people in the UK are overweight. If current trends continue by 2020 we're looking at 8/10 men and 7/10 women. Scary!

Especially as obesity costs the NHS £5 billion a year now!

tulipgrower Thu 10-Jan-13 19:55:37

Our local Christmas market was visited by schools groups from all over western Europe. The UK kids can easily be identified by their size.

Interestingly the UK OAP groups were usually slimmer than their other European equivalents.

trixymalixy Thu 10-Jan-13 19:58:04

I've been using myfitnesspal to track what I've been eating recently and it's been a real eye opener. Things like the correct portion size of pasta and cereal, are so much smaller than you would get in a restaurant or measure by eye. I think people have got used to seeing massive plates of food on TV or in restaurants.

Abra1d Thu 10-Jan-13 20:01:44

I don't think exercise makes as much difference as cutting back on food intake.

LessMissAbs Thu 10-Jan-13 20:11:21

I've noticed it on holiday as well, British tourists tend to be worse behaved and more super-sized (in a pseudo-American way) than other nations. Or when I come home from a European break, I notice it as well.

I think if you are surrounded by overweight people, it becomes difficult to conceive what slim and healthy is. Its not just their size, an unhealthy diet generally manifests itself in the skin, teeth and eyes. So many youngish men seem to have that rough, slightly thread veined skin that is just so physically off-putting - its easy to tell what kind of lifestyle they lead even if they are still young and slimmish. My SIL is so overweight, when she slipped on wet leaves, she snapped both wrists.

I think what you eat and drink is most important, but exercise also helps - but if you exercise, you generally don't want to eat too much, because it makes you feel too bloated and heavy to do exercise - a not so vicious circle. But so many people barely move during the day. ie their entire range of movement is confined to their house, out to their car, to the office, and back again. Sitting in an office all day then slumped in front of the tv isn't enough to avoid putting on weight. So many people seem almost terrified of walking anywhere in a little bit of rain!

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 20:13:07

Exactly trixy unless you count the calories of everything you put in your mouth, and try weighing food for a while until you get used to normal portions you will always unintentionally overeat.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 10-Jan-13 20:16:47

I blame Cadburys Creme Eggs.

tinkertitonk Thu 10-Jan-13 20:23:26

I don't know what the data are, or even whether there are any. But at an anecdotal level, what the OP writes fits my own observation.

40 years ago I was a teenager, and we were all thinner than the young of today. Boys and girls, our ribs showed, as they should.

MacDonald's didn't exist then, so we didn't customarily eat chips five times a week.

NickECave Thu 10-Jan-13 20:40:11

I remember that when I was at primary school in the 80s there was one or two visibly overweight children in the whole school. In my daughters primary there are a couple of overweight children in each class. I'm pretty sure I read something recently which made the point that its amazing we're not all enormously overweight given the huge amount of delicious food and drink which is constantly available to us and the fact that we are primed by evolution to want to stock up on food while its available.

Meglet Thu 10-Jan-13 20:45:51

I work in an office but seem to be the only person capable of moving their legs and walking anywhere. Everyone else gets the lift, I walk up 4 floors. No one else can be bothered to go for a 20 min walk at lunchtime unless it's a heatwave, I go out every lunch time rain or shine. And I swear I will scream if I hear another person say they 'can't be bothered to keep going to the printer', why not, you're not crossing the sahara FFS! Take a wild guess who the thinnest person in the office is even though they are usually first in the kitchen on cake days grin.

I have a 'thing' about teenage girls with bigger waists / stomachs. I'm pushing 40 and have 2 kids, teenagers should be mere whippets next to me, but I'm the thin one.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 10-Jan-13 20:57:16

We walk almost everywhere, partly because public transport is so rubbish where I live, (and expensive).
Once I walked home from school with ds and his friend. His friend was really struggling with the walk (about 35 mins). Ds doesn't notice it, because he has always walked, and I like the freedom it gives us to be able to go places and do things. I am guilty of striding to school when late every day and having him jog alongside, but he is rarely out of breath.
I would actually love a car, for the freedom and convenience of it, but I do worry that when I get one we will both be right porkers!
Where we live everyone drives. They drive to the park, they drive to the gym, they drive to the softplay centre and then they get MacDonalds afterwards.

Pixel Thu 10-Jan-13 21:20:19

Obviously you don't necessarily need to worry if you can't see your child's ribs, but if you can, it definitely doesn't mean they're starved.
Perhaps they should be like horses, if you can't feel their ribs they are too fat if you can see their ribs they are too thin. smile.
When I was a child I was known as the 'quiet one' in our road because I spent time indoors reading, drawing, knitting etc. Yet still I walked to and fro school, to the shops/library etc (mum didn't have a car), took the dog out, a long walk over the Downs every weekend. Did ballet, tap dancing, brownies, rode my bike everywhere, had roller skates, played out with neighbour kids until dark. School swimming lessons involved walking to another school at the top of a steep hill, a mini bus was unheard of. During breaks we had a climbing frame but otherwise would be playing skipping games, doing handstands/cartwheels, running down the sloping playing field as fast as we could to see if we could take off hmm.Honestly, I never stopped and I was the quiet one?! I really don't believe that many children nowadays have that level of activity (including mine, more's the pity, though I do nag try!).
Btw my sister was teased as the 'fat kid' at school and put on a diet by some expert or other. I look at old photos and think that nowadays she would be one of the average kids in class, no one would bat an eyelid.

Pixel Thu 10-Jan-13 21:24:59

Sorry took ages to post all that, got to catch up now smile. Agree with Ifnot. Dd walked to her school a mile away as soon as she started reception and after my mum saw us once she commented that I was mean making dd trot along beside me as I rushed along (how times change, she used to do that to me grin. The thing is there was very rarely anyone for us to walk with, even in summer. If dd had friends home for tea they were very shocked that they were expected to walk.

Meglet Thu 10-Jan-13 21:43:18

ifnotnowwhenthen the DC's have to jog a bit to keep up with me sometimes. I was told I was cruel on here a while ago grin. I made them walk up 8 floors in a huge multi story car park a while ago. Their legs didn't fall off.

Pixel Thu 10-Jan-13 22:02:15

And the only cure to PCOS symptoms with obesity, is to lose weight. A vicious circle but you have to do it

When I was diagnosed with PCOS I weighed 7.5 stone. My weight has fluctuated a lot since then, but even when I joined Slimming World and lost 2 stone to get to my target weight the PCOS didn't improve. It's a constant struggle to keep my weight down and now that I'm in my forties it feels like a losing battle sad.

janelikesjam Thu 10-Jan-13 22:02:55

I had a similar experience in Turkey last year - not in an all-inclusive hotel though.

Most of the guests were British couples in their 50s and 60s and many seemed very unhealthily overweight. I am an average British size i.e. not skinny, I love food, but like OP I was quite shocked.

But it was also the seeming complete lack of self-care or any interest they expressed in their appearance that was most puzzling to me. I remember one woman at breakfast. She was probably in her late 50s, was of average weight, her hair looked nice and she had a pretty print skirt on from Monsoon or something. Nothing amazing but here she might as well have been Elizabeth Taylor she stood out so much!

(These were normal, intelligent British people btw, not lager louts.)

meadow2 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:05:34

Pixel - thats what a lot of childrens livescare like now I dont think much has changed from when I was growing up

Chandon Thu 10-Jan-13 22:32:54

I think a combination of factors ontributes to this.

One is the prevalence of convenience food. There is no respect for proper food, it has to quick and cheap.

When I grew up, on the continent, my mum always cooked proper food, home made biscuits, and my dad cooked twice a week. They even made their own bread. Nothing was " forbidden" as lng as it was quality food. So no cheap and nasty chocolate, no fizzy drinks ( but 1 glass of juice a day was fine), crisps only at birthday parties. And lvely homemade cakes.

To offer the family good quality food requires dedication and time, whoch most couples do not have as both work.

I am grateful to have been raised with an appreciation for food, and therefore craving those same proper foods I had in my youth ( minestrone soup, home made lasagna, beef stroganoff, lots of wonderful salads, the big treat that is panfried piece of fish and fresh spinach). I am almost imune to junk food as a result, it does not hit my pleasure buttons.

This is not just some personal remeniscing. food companies know that people crave what they ate in their youth, and target kids.

Interestingly, McDonalds barely makes a profit on their happy meals, however, it teaches kids that mcD is a treat, and they will crave it when older! It is their long term strategy. It seems to work. I am not making this up.

It is like the, for foreigners, incomprehensible passion Brits have for Cadbury's, a very mediocre poor quality chocolate, that they like as that is what chocolate was like when they were kids.

Partly, we are being played by large corporations who have done thorough psycological research!

KoalaTale Thu 10-Jan-13 22:38:54

Yanbu. I think its really sad, I'm not sure why people are so fat but perhaps it's a cultural thing - more and more fast food and convenience food? Perhaps as its getting more common people feel its the norm to be big?

squeakytoy Thu 10-Jan-13 22:41:35

I grew up in the 70's and I only remember there being two overweight children in my entire primary school. I live near a primary school now and would say that easily 25% of the children who go there are overweight.

I would blame it on lack of exercise (more cars, more television, more neurotic parents who dont let their children play out) and a crap diet.. (takeaways were virtually unheard of in the 70s and the chip shop was an occasional treat for most.. very little processed food, pizza, ready meals etc.. we all ate a much healthier and basic diet).

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 22:48:43

I actually DON'T think its the chips, crisps and chocolate
I actually think its the things inbetween that that people think are "healthy" opions: fruit shoots, cereal bars etc

at least with chips, crips and chocolate people know it's not great, IMO the big problem is that so many people in the UK think they're being really healthy if they have a fat free (sugar/sweetner filled) yogurt, cereal bar and "sugar free" drink for lunch, or a processed "healthy"/"diet"/"fuller longer"/WW ready meal - it's all crap, but it's deceptive crap and I'm constantly amazed at how many otherwise intelligent people buy into it!

squeakytoy Thu 10-Jan-13 22:49:40

I agree.. its all the "healthy snacks".. you dont actually need to eat them in the first place...

oldebaglady Thu 10-Jan-13 22:51:22

and a phobia of perfectly healthy in moderation whole foods just because they're high calorie (but filling and "good value" nutrition wise), like full fat milk and nuts etc

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 10-Jan-13 23:01:20

grin@ pixel and meglet.
Oh yes, I have seen those threads too, where posters get flamed for making their children run. Humans are supposed to run! And when it's your mode of transport, you can't always dawdle.
Agree with oldebaglady about the "healthy" snacks.
Petit filous, cereal bars, cheese strings. It's all junk. Cake is fine if you make it yourself, especially because when you make it you know that you put shedloads of butter in it, and it makes you a bit more wary!

WillowFae Thu 10-Jan-13 23:22:06

I have lost 81.5lbs over the last 8 months. I still have just over 2st to go to get to the top of the healthy BMI range (I HATE being so short!). Now people are starting to tell me that I shouldn't lose any more because I'll be too thin. Yet I still register as obese (only 1lb to go to be 'overweight'). So I think people have over time adjusted in their mind what they consider to be 'normal'.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Thu 10-Jan-13 23:33:37

Congratulations Willow and of course you should keep going to a healthy BMI!

I agree will WillowFae, and super well done on losing so much weight.
I am small (5 feet) and was a size 8 and looked OK, but according to weight charts I was overweight, so with eating well and lots of exercise I lost a stone and now I'm in the top quarter of healthy range, I could do with losing a couple more pounds to get to the middle of healthy. Yet I keep being told don't lose more, you'll be too thin, the sense of what healthy weight looks like is warped beyond belief.
My Dd is tall and heavy, on the charts she is only a smidge off obese, and the doctor kept telling me she looked good confused She looks lovely to me too, but I know she's overweight. So all snacks are gone except fresh fruit and veg and juice once or less a day, lots of water and she's already very active. I just hope she'll grow height wise into the weight.

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Jan-13 00:12:13

SquinkiesRule I had exactly the same with my DS2

He was fairly slim but with a visibly large belly and when he took part in the National Weight and Measure Program in year 6, his BMI was within normal range.

But you'd have to be blind to see that he wasn't getting fat...therefore DH and I made sure he got a lot more exercise and we cut back on the unhealthy snacks.

We knew he was the least 'mobile' of our 3 DS's because he never wanted to play out with his brothers and he didn't like PE or any kind of sport... preferring to read and play his violin/guitar.

He's in year 9 now, very slim and healthy...but we could quite easily have hidden our heads in the sand and said "Oh well, we have proof his BMI is fine so not to worry".

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 11-Jan-13 01:02:40

As someone said above, a 5'7"" woman has to be 11st 7lbs to be in the overweight category for BMI. That's pretty generous. I am 5'7"" and was fat at 11st 5lbs, despite being pretty athletic. Not fat as in "not looking good in skinny jeans" but fat as in "spare tyre and that shelf of flab above my butt".

BMI normal range of 20-25 is basically the "being this weight wont have any negative effect on your health" not the "this is an ideal weight for you" category.

BMI above 25 may have negative health impact. BMI above 30 may have serious health impact.

However, how these categories are being perceived, plus the multiple excuses around them mean that people stay in denial - "Well Jonny Wilkinson would be obese according to BMI"- Yes but are you sculpted out of twisted steel? No? Right then.

So we as a nation need to lose weight. That's an undeniable fact. But, the other interesting thing is how, despite being fact, we demonise it so much, which is really unhelpful and can only perpetuate the problem of disordered eating. I am reading "How to be a Woman" and Caitlin Moran makes a really interesting point about women and overeating- how it is the "responsible person's addiction". If you're a crack addict or an alcoholic, you're going to struggle to get the kids to school on time, go to work, etc etc. But if you overeat, you get the same hit/comfort without the "can't help you with homework cos I'm passed out on the sofa" side effects.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 11-Jan-13 01:06:01

Also, I cant help but think that the number of people who no longer smoke has something to do with it- not that I'm advocating that he all get back on 20 Bensons a day, but perhaps we've just swapped one crutch for another, and one public health problem for another

ComposHat Fri 11-Jan-13 01:27:15

I think you tend to notice your own 'type' when abroad especially the fat/loutish/drunk/sunburnt Brits abroad. There were probably equally as many fat Dutch or German tourists who didn't feature on your radar.

piprabbit Fri 11-Jan-13 01:48:00

I am always amazed by how many parents on MN refuse to let their children have school dinners, because the portions are too small.

Now I'm not saying that school dinners are the be all and end all of healthy eating, but they are assessed for nutritional content. Perhaps that is exactly what a normal size portion (for a primary aged child) is meant to look like.

I'm not convinced that the contents of the lunch boxes are much healthier, because I think that the majority of packed lunches are full of processed foods.

MrsMushroom Fri 11-Jan-13 02:05:53

I agree it's got lot to do with people not walking much. Saying that....I'm in Oz atm and it's been 7 yeaars since I last came. There has been a massive growth in overweight people and here nobody has EVER walked anywhere....I notice though that the portion sizes are HUGE and that there are many fast food places....its a bit like the USA.

I went to get DD a packet of crisps and there were only family bags available...cans of coke are huge at 375mls and a bowl of chips in the pub that we ordered as a little snack came in a washing up bowl sized dish. Literally. 2 adults and 2 kids only made a hole in the pile.

Darkesteyes Fri 11-Jan-13 02:07:58

LucilleBluthThu 10-Jan-13 12:09:54

We lived abroad for five years, we came home last year.

One of the first things that I noticed is how large people had become in the five years we were away. I used to be walking down the high street and it seemed like every other person was busting out of a pair of leggings or this is obviously just my personal observation and in no way intended to offend

And what hit five years ago?!!! Oh yes ...the recession.

Darkesteyes Fri 11-Jan-13 02:09:57

tulipgrowerThu 10-Jan-13 19:55:37

Our local Christmas market was visited by schools groups from all over western Europe. The UK kids can easily be identified by their size.

Interestingly the UK OAP groups were usually slimmer than their other European equivalents

Ah yes the UK OAP groups. The group who has been most protected from the cuts. Coincidence??!!!

anonymosity Fri 11-Jan-13 02:41:28

what do you expect, you went to Lanzarote?
there was an article in the press recently stating that Britain had the most number of obese people in all of Europe.

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 11-Jan-13 02:57:49

Dont know why posters were accusing OP of fat bashing. Its true. When living abroad, i felt like a birrova porker at size 10, every time i came back here, felt like a sex godess. We moved back and were stunned. But our diet has changed massively subce we came home, eating far more stodge.

Its so much easier to eat properly in europe, fish and veg are far cheap and better quality there. And mcDonalds will set you back eight quid, no bad thing.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 11-Jan-13 06:04:51

I honestly don't think it's "recession".

I think it's probably more to do with the giant portions and crappy food outlets on every street corner. I believe Belgium has one, maybe two Gregg's ? NL has none as far as I know.

My nearest Starbucks is in another country - that's what? 800 calories on a drink & muffin?

I roll off the ferry in Dover and sometimes stop on the motorway for a coffee and de-stress - the donuts are the size of a plate!

Loveweekends10 Fri 11-Jan-13 06:17:00

Both my sister in laws are overweight. I recently spent Xmas with one and she kept saying 'oh I never touch chocolate' the next minute she had consumed a box full.
A lot of people just lie to themselves I think about how much they eat.
We went to Disneyland Paris last year and I'm afraid I won't be going back. The sheer gluttony of Brits at Buffett meals made me embarrassed. Obviously no regard for how foods taste together on your plate just sheer bloody quantity. It's euro camp for us this year and civilised mealtimes.

Chandon Fri 11-Jan-13 07:24:25

DOlomites, LOL at Belgium only having one Greggs...

That may be true, but one of the things I love about Belgum is the chips ( fried in beef dripping) with full fat mayo, and lots of is not exactly a healthy eating paradise ( we go there specifically as a treat because of all the food, beer and chocs! The chocs!)

There is no point having Greggs in Belgium as there are far better options grin

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 08:08:42

I had a depressing trawl through the shops yesterday for some school trousers for DD (12). She is slim and it is very difficult to find trousers long enough and slim enough for her. M & S tend to cater for the chunkier child. BHS has loads of "larger size" trousers, but no slim fit. Asda are always too big and Next don't keep school uniform at this time of year. They are obviously catering for the average sized child, who these days is a lot larger than DD is.

I will have to go to a specialist school clothes shop.

For jeans and casual trousers DD wears an adult size 6, but I can't find any adult size 6 trousers suitable for school. I also find that a size 6 is smaller than most trousers for 11/12 year olds and upwards.

I'm afraid that I agree with the OP that in general when we have been on holiday abroad the English visitors tend to be recognisable by the fact that they are larger than their European counterparts. And we tend to holiday away from the traditional tourist destinations and avoid AI holidays like the plague.

I see a lot of obese people in our local town, but not so much where we live, which is a fairly affluent area.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 11-Jan-13 08:29:40

I honestly don't think it's "recession".

I dont think it's a major factor- but it is a factor. When you want a treat, but you're skint, a chocolate bar is far more affordable than a pair of shoes or a mani/pedi. Takeaways and ready meals are cheaper than eating out, and often less healthy.

Mimishimi Fri 11-Jan-13 08:34:12

Whenever I see a large tourist in Australia, I automatically assume that they are either American or British. 98% of the time that is correct. Unfortunately, however, we seem to be going the same way shock.

LifeofPo Fri 11-Jan-13 08:35:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMelons Fri 11-Jan-13 08:39:51

I know this is not the done thing - but what happened to the thread about the OP who fed her daughter more food than the average 20st male?? I am very very nosey!

After this thread I felt it was in awfully poor taste to be a wind up but I was busy cooking dinner etc and when I went back it had gone with a very funny reason from MNHQ - something like - this has been deleted as it was hmm

AppleOgies Fri 11-Jan-13 08:40:47

I think it's portion sizes that have got out if control (especially with junk food prompting us to eat more). 1 can of coke can be as much as 75p but you can often by 12 cans of coke for £3.99. So you buy 12. Bogof is a pain because you buy more than you want or need so you eat it or throw it away. You can't buy a small bag of crisps in a supermarket anymore only multipacks or an enormous 'sharing' pack. Crisps and chocolate all come in 'big eat' portions now. Things that used to be a treat have become everyday eats and they're in bigger sizes. It's often cheaper in dominos to buy large pizzas when you don't want large pizzas because of the various deals they have.

This is junk food obviously. But even with healthy, home cooked dinners often people get portion sizes totally wrong!

MrsBucketxx Fri 11-Jan-13 08:42:56

I agree with op theres a marked difference in weight from the rest of europe to us.

You can see is most when you visit the easten places like budapest, prague, etc. Girls there are tiny

I do think the location you chose wasnt the classiest, hence you noticed it more.

I am 11 stone and 5, 11 not overweight I never have been I would have to seriously stuff my face everyday to get my self overweight, and stay that way so it baffles me how the super large stay that way.

shotofexpresso Fri 11-Jan-13 08:53:48

Not being funny but Lanzarote is pretty cheap and tacky as far as holiday resorts go, a lot of obese , low socio economic families will be there due to the all 'inclusives'

If you want classier people go somwhere classier, you sound like you're just having a pop at people who can't defend themselves tbh.

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 08:57:51

I think you are missing the point shotofexpresso. We tend to holiday in "classier" places and still find that most of the obese visitors are British. I am not fat bashing, just stating a fact.

ubik Fri 11-Jan-13 08:57:51

you sound lovely shotofexpress

there are fat people in all socioeconomic groups. I live near a top university and the students seem to get fatter and fatter every year. there are plenty of wealthy middle aged people who are obese due to a love of good wine and olive oil.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 11-Jan-13 08:58:24

Chandon It's true, Belgium is indeed home of trappist beers, pralines & the "inventor" of "French" fries. However, my 8 years living there tells me that pralines are a real "treat", not an every day consumption or something picked up in the newsagent. Fries would be a friday night takeaway type thing - and fries only, not fries and ... Beers - well I guess that's up to the consumer, but a whole lot less binge drinking.

Then there are of course the beautiful patisseries which sell works of art at the weekends. Each work of art being the size of a boiled egg and sold individually - not as one commentator pointed out - 16 for a pound in Tesco!

The Belgians I know do not snack between meals, they do not feel the need to purchase food "on the go" and are much more wary of processed crap. However, ready meals are starting to arrive on the shelves and the population will of course expand - or will the aisles expand to fill the population? :/

carabos Fri 11-Jan-13 09:03:02

I was in the supermarket yesterday at school chucking out time. The secondary school is next door to the shop and it was swarming with youngsters buying "snacks".

There was a shocking number of fatties among the kids -and no, I'm not going to apologise for calling them that, these kids were fat, not "big", "well made", "plump" or anything else. Most, not all, were overweight and some of those were obese. I saw about 30 kids and about a third of them were double-take fat. This is a very mc, expensive spa town, so it isn't, in this case, a class or economic issue.

In most cases they were buying coke, crisps and huge bars of choc. Not one of them had fruit or even a sandwich. This can only go one way.

shotofexpresso Fri 11-Jan-13 09:09:21

I'm not missing the point at all , but it is a fact that obesity is higher is more economically deprived families, I was just pointing out the OP seemed bitchy and judgmental.
I'm overweight myself, I'm not 'fat bashing'.

shotofexpresso Fri 11-Jan-13 09:10:20

Fair enough Bunbaker, but I'm still guessing the Benidorms of the world have more.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 09:11:10

I think the government can put as much advice out there and guidelines as possible and people will dig their heels in and insist on their rights. Once food like this is out there, it's out there. If they were dead serious about reducing this problem they would attempt the relevant legislation. But they won't because of business pressures and accusations of the nanny state.

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 09:14:14

Sadly you are right Ariel

LillianGish Fri 11-Jan-13 09:19:59

I think the part of the problem lies in our refusal to call a spade a spade. Noone wants to use the F word - we skirt around it with euphemisms like heavy-boned, big-built, larger ladies, curvy girls etc etc. When I was pregnant in Paris I was weighed at every ante-natal appointment and severely berated for putting on more than the minuscule (can't remember the exact figure) permitted amount of weight. Likewise when I took the dcs for check-ups when they were babies the paediatrician wouldn't shy away from calling the fat while in Britain (and I know this from now now morbidly obese niece) they skirt around the issue with words like plump, chubby, well-made etc etc. We are getting fatter because we eat too much - it doesn't matter what it is it is a question of calories. None of my French friends are fat because they never eat between meals and none of the women drink.

Bunbaker Fri 11-Jan-13 09:23:42

Interestingly, when I took (skinny) DD to the doctor recently and was discussing with her that she was too skinny for school clothes, the doctor said that DD was the right weight and that most kids were overweight.

You are supposed to see a child's ribs.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 11-Jan-13 09:30:12

Some Europeans do snack, but again it does tend to be formal eating. Also meal times tend to be adhered to, so there is more structure around eating. They do eat calorie dense food, but again the portion sizes are different.

I have to say though, portion sizes and food in Germany - getting huge. And I see a lot of obese Germans in the local area.

The Swiss colleagues in our office are amused by the Brits scoffing sandwiches and lunch infront of the monitor. Most if them wouldn't dream of eating in this way!

So a typical Swiss day according to my admin assistants would be:

Breakfast at 6.30-7.30 - usual cereal or muesli, bread, egg, ham etc
Most Swiss are in the office for 8am.
Znuni (literally means 9am snack - like our elevenses) 9am - coffee, croissant (gipfel), or fruit salad.
Lunch : midday. On the dot. Office empty. This is the main meal of the day. Children cone home, husbands come home if they can. You are entitled in your working hours to take 12-2 as lunch, as long as you work your full 8 hours each day. The staff restaurant usually serves a stroganoff, pasta, schnitzel. With side salad and bouillon to start. Some people then have a nap with the extra hour. grin office workers tend to take an hour. But they will always sit around a dining table to eat.
Znieri : (means 4pm snack) so could be coffee and cake (cafe mit kuchen), or fruit.
Dinner at 6-7pm typically would be quite light - bread, cheese, ham, salad etc.

If I take in a cake e.g. for birthday, they will take a slice and leave it for their allocated snack time. They don't snack at the desk, at these times they will go to the staff kitchen and sit for 15 minutes.

I think they generally view us as slightly gluttonous and wayward. grin

My hairdressers MIL eats one square of chocolate a week, and used to buy 3 pork chops to feed a family of five - two adults and three teens! shock

MrsBucketxx Fri 11-Jan-13 09:32:30

Thats loads of food every day.

I dont think I would move after eating all that.

ethelb Fri 11-Jan-13 09:37:34

@mrsbcuketxx i don't know about the swiss, but i imagine they have small portion sizes.

'side salad and bouillon to start.' is paractically zero calories and fills you up.

ethelb Fri 11-Jan-13 09:40:22

@dolomites My partners mother is Belgian and we go frequently. While they are certainly not 'fat' they are more sturdily built that the french or eastern europeans!

oldebaglady Fri 11-Jan-13 09:41:49

"but it is a fact that obesity is higher is more economically deprived families,"

if you visit the exact same chain of, say, Tescos, in a deprived area and an affluent area, the difference in stock is staggering! In the deprived area it's whole isles of fizzy drinks and massive freezer sections. In the affluent area there is more fresh food and less rubbish. Food wise there is a ghettoisation going on deliberately led by the chains.

Its not even about price because that would indicate a choice! The choice of stock itself is different. And people in the poorer areas are less likely to be in a position to vote with their feet (or 4x4s like the affluent areas, where they can "pop" here for their meat then "pop" there for their veg) and are confined to the shops in walking or one bus away distance.

Illgetmycoat Fri 11-Jan-13 09:42:19

There have been a few dismissive comments about Lanzarote.

Can I just stand up for it? It has an amazing creative history in Cesar Manrique, incredible sixties and sevenities architecture, unbelievable volcanic landscapes, unspoiled beaches down in the south and stunning caves in the north. All combined with sunshine in the winter.

It's not all 'cheap and tacky'. It's the best some of us can afford and it's pretty good.

oldebaglady Fri 11-Jan-13 09:44:02

"Thats loads of food every day"

it's less than what most brits eat. Yes their main meals might be smaller, but once you factor in the mindless eating that so many brits just don't count (or even notice/taste!) it's not a lot - its just not constant, it's condensed into meal times.

MrsBucketxx Fri 11-Jan-13 09:46:19

Incredible sixties and seventies architecture hmm

Whatever floats your boat,

You can hire a self catering national trust cottage in the uk for much less somewhere nice and a spray tan.

You can't buy class

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 09:48:51

You can't buy class

And you, presumably, are extremely classy?

Apparently class doesn't mean charm.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 11-Jan-13 09:51:34

I am always amazed by how many parents on MN refuse to let their children have school dinners, because the portions are too small.

Really!? That's ridiculous!

ubik Fri 11-Jan-13 09:51:55

yes, hire a 'nice' national trust cottage hmm

i've always fancied going to lanzarote - (well travelled) friends who have been say it's an interesting place to go for a sunny break, and it's affordable with three children.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 11-Jan-13 09:52:23

Illgetmycoat all of the Canary islands are fascinating, and in parts very beautiful. But I imagine most posters are referring to tourists who see the airport, view from the coach and then the swimming pool, bar and buffet of their hotel for the next fortnight. And that tends to be the majority of UK tourists attracted by the AI winter sun deals if they are cheap.

It's hard to deny when you visit places like Playa de las Americas in Tenerife. It took my friend and I a good few hours to find a traditional restaurant with fresh fish, and not one selling McEwans lager and a menu with laminated photos of egg/sausage/chips combinations.

We had to hire a car and get out of the town to really appreciate the island.

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Jan-13 09:52:40

Oh ffs is this going to turn into a holiday snobbery thread?

LillianGish I totally agree about not calling a spade a spade.

The sooner people start talking openly about weight issues...especially with their children the better imo.

It shouldn't be a taboo subject...weight gain/loss is a completely natural thing, not some dirty little secret.

And talking openly about it, doesn't necessarily mean your child will develop an eating disorder.

Anyway, obesity is the biggest eating disorder that's affecting over half the population.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 11-Jan-13 09:55:13

I'm not sure what the hell this thread is about but I'm booking a flight to Belgium. Mmmmmm.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 11-Jan-13 09:55:22

Mrsbucket. How incredibly ignorant! You clearly know nothing about architecture.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 11-Jan-13 09:55:23

I beleive there are many factors involved, our binge culture, it's ok to be slobby (not saying that evereyone who is overweight is but it's an attitude we have now, i very rarely see people of say 70+ not smartly dressed they seem to be more disciplined in their whole approach to life), our wanting everything
because we deserve it, and of course food being around all the time and it is easy food to eat prepared for us all we have t do is stuff it in our mouths

we have become spoilt and lazy. the I deserve culture, I have no time (but have time to tv be on the Internet and so on and yes guilty myself) manifests itself in so many ways binge eating, not feeding ourslelves healthy homecooked food and drinking is just one of them

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 11-Jan-13 09:55:54

Seriously what a stuck up twat! And stupid too! Amazing!

oldebaglady Fri 11-Jan-13 09:58:54

"You can't buy class"

you would know! since a classy person wouldn't have made your remarks about someone else's holiday

the canary islands are incredibly diverse and have a rich history, the resorts are pretty self contained. It's like saying that the whole of England is like black pool

you're just showing yourself to be rude (i.e. not classy) and a bit thick there!

MarmaladeSkies Fri 11-Jan-13 09:59:46

I was in PDLA last year and had no trouble at all finding seafood and traditional Canarian restaurants. Yes the British cafes were there,but there were plenty of good quality restaurants too.

curiousuze Fri 11-Jan-13 10:02:59

I had a flat mate from the south of France who was surprised about people's eating patterns when she moved to London. She said that where she is from, people at meals at set times of the day - she had never seen restaurants serving food all day like you get here - and you would never eat in the street. I think we have much more of a street food, eat on the go culture, which I suppose can affect how aware we are of how much we eat. I personally hate eating on the go!

WillowFae Fri 11-Jan-13 10:05:17

To the person that referred to food as an addiction - for some people it certainly is. It is only through tackling that addiction by seeking help that I have been able to lose the weight that I have.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 11-Jan-13 10:06:18

curious. So how does that work for those who work shifts and unusual hours etc? Wouldn't they miss the "meal slot" and then not be able to eat out all the time?

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Jan-13 10:06:33

Getting the thread back on track for a minute...

I think it was during the 90's that all the health/fitness gurus were advising people to throw away their scales and to stop weighing themselves.

I think that was very bad advice because where a lot of us wear leggings/tracksuit bottoms/other elasticated waists...and due to vanity sizing, it's easy to either not know how much weight we've gained, or to just live in denial.

Far easier to keep an eye on weight and then make small changes as it creeps on.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 11-Jan-13 10:07:02

It's not a lot of food each day at all. A portion size in Switzerland is usually half the size of a UK one. I have seen UK family members give their children more food on a plate than the Swiss engineers who come over to use our restaurant from their building across the road.

Most people would have one piece of bread for breakfast with an egg or slice of ham. A yogurt would also be a typical snack in the morning, not everyone eats a croissant daily, apart from one team member!!

In fact the biggest aisle in my local supermarket tends to be the yogurt one! I had never seen so much yogurt before moving here.

Factor in that the average Swiss do at least 30 mins walking a day strolling round the village as a family nosing into everyone's houses and a lot of sports.

Swiss women have the lowest BMI in Europe. It's a consistent average and most eat properly. Very rarely do you see overweight children. They must be getting something right. There are a lot of SAHM here though, with time to shop properly and prepare food from scratch, if that's a factor. <<ponders>>

WillowFae Fri 11-Jan-13 10:08:07

Can I move to Switzerland?

curiousuze Fri 11-Jan-13 10:11:41

Good question fuckadoodle, not sure how that would work for shift workers - maybe they just have to home cook?

I do remember that when she made me dinner it was always very filling and healthy and always had different courses with small helpings, starting with a salad. She would sip one glass of wine throughout (me being a Scot would have guzzled mine within five minutes and be sat there with an empty glass, too embarrassed to ask for more!)

WillowFae Fri 11-Jan-13 10:14:29

The biggest change I made which has led to my weightloss is to cut out the snacks. Second biggest differences was cutting out sugar.

So I eat at meal times and that is that. Three times a day, no snacks. I always thought I needed snacks. 8 months later I know that I most definitely don't.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 10:16:10

It's so hard though. From what I read on MN, and from the time I have spent with my nieces and nephews, I know they are constantly whinging for snacks. All the time. How can that be dealt with?

oldebaglady Fri 11-Jan-13 10:18:45

"How can that be dealt with?"
ummmm by saying "no" hmm
"no your dinner will be ready in 20 mins"
"no you just had lunch on front of you and you didn't eat it, so you're not getting a treat"

its mostly habit! when DS is in the car when I'm picked up he always asks for food because he knows there's usually something in my lunchbox I haven't eaten. On days when he doesn't pick me up he isn't hungry at that time of day

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 11-Jan-13 10:19:14

marmalade it was going back a few years, when I was young, free and single. I did notice on trip advisor last week that there were a lot more restaurants than I remember, and a lot of impressive hotels. However we were in an area that was cheap and the choices were awful.

Then on the last day of our holidays we found the nice beach and the lovely hotels (where all the Swiss, Germans and Italians were, incidentally). There were very few 4 or 5 star options for Brits at the time.

I imagine with the growth of AI and the tendency for the value tourist not to want to leave the "all you can eat" set up, a lot of these Cafes would have gone out of business now, leaving restaurants that trade on quality for the independent traveller?

squeakytoy Fri 11-Jan-13 10:20:43

The landscape and architecture of Lanzarote is quite amazing. There is also a lot of conversation and the island is also a world biosphere reserve too. There is a lot more to the island than finding the cheapest british bar that does a belly buster fry up, but sadly the majority of UK tourists are completely unaware of it.

I have been going to the island for many years, and love it there, but we explore, we go into the capital which does have some very amazing building if you wander around and actually look..

WillowFae Fri 11-Jan-13 10:24:27

I don't know to be honest. My two children (8 and 5) never ask for snacks but then we have never given them snacks. We did allow them to have some chocolate coins mid-morning on Xmas day and they were amazed!

Although I was morbidly obese (currently 1lb away from being 'overweight') with really bad eating habits (snacking, eating in secret, etc) I have always been strict with the children. For example, both of them still have their Halloween pumpkin buckets sitting on the butchers trolley in the kitchen. Both still have Halloween candy in them (plus some from Christmas). They NEVER ask for or take anything from them. We do let them eat some occasionally but it is as part of a meal - instead of pudding etc.

As a result DS (8) is very slender for his age (can see his ribs), and DD (5) although not as slender as him, still needs adjustable waist trousers and skirts to stop them falling down, and over the summer I had to buy her age 2-3 joggers from Asda. We are definitely NOT a typical family where mum and dad AND children are obese. DH has also lost weight recently and is not far off a healthy BMI now.

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Jan-13 10:29:29

I think kids need to know that they won't die if they don't eat the minute they're hungry.

Mine have asked for a snack before...claiming to be 'starving'. I've said yes, then something will happen to distract a friend knocking a the door or something and they'll forget all about the snack they asked for.

'Starving'? yeah right grin

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Fri 11-Jan-13 10:30:36

I will ask my admin asst about shift work, as her husband is a long distance lorry driver, which must be pretty hard to schedule life around.

Knowing Switzerland there's probably an efficient system in place!

tryingtoleave Fri 11-Jan-13 10:31:10

I moved back to Sydney, after seven years in another Australian city, and was struck by how many overweight children and adults of south east Asian background that I was seeing. It made me do a double take at first, because I didn't remember ever seeing that before. It seems that plenty and sugar are hard to say no to for everyone, unless there is a lot of social pressure not to put on weight. I have Asian friends who say that their relatives will make horrible comments about their weight when they go back to Asia and say that they can't get any clothes to fit in the shops there. Meanwhile, our local shopping centre has become filled with (very tempting) Asian desert and ice cream shops and Chinese bakeries, which produce very soft, sweet, cheap white bread and buns full of custard etc.

WillowFae Fri 11-Jan-13 10:31:23

I agree worra. A lot of it is habit. Or boredom.

ethelb Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:28

@binfull I think that sahp is a huge factor actually. So the swiss have more sahps and TWO HOURS for lunch. That is far more time to walk around, shop properly, prepare food properly etc.

I cook from scratch all the time. However, two evenings this week I have been over 90mins late home (my commute normally takes me 50mins) due to train screwups. I admit frozen garlic baguettes and pasta featured quite prominently on those evenings.

Last night I decided to catch up, made a very veg heavy meal from scratch (and one for the freezer) and by the time I had made, cooked, cleaned up and sorted out tomorrows lunches (hm salads and soups) I had been stood infront of the stove for over two hours. Not everyone has that as an option due to our long working hours, high living costs and commutes.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Fri 11-Jan-13 10:32:29

Yes, oldbaglady, I realise saying no is an option! But until more people find a way to deal with constant, constant wearing whining, it will remain a problem.

Thinking back, in the 80s my brother and sister and I used to come home and eat lots of rubbish while our mum was at work. Perhaps the difference is we all did loads of sport.

LillianGish Fri 11-Jan-13 10:41:51

I think it is about teaching our dcs to stop eating when they are full. My bil was practically in tears the other day when he saw ds tucking into some crisps - he said they couldn't even have crisps in the house (dns are both fat and have been since they were babies). My dcs are both stick thin. The difference (in my non-expert opinion) is that my dns have always been praised for being "good eaters" and encouraged to clear their plates (all "good" home cooked food, prepared from scratch) whereas I've never been fussed on that and let my dcs stop eating when they are full. As a result my dcs do eat some "rubbish" - sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks - but are perfectly capable of leaving a half-eaten bag of Maltesers (something I would be unable to do!) on the basis that they have eaten enough. I return my point that I don't think it is so much what we eat as how much. curiousuze I know exactly what you mean about one glass of wine - all my friends fall into this category and as a result I am starting to fall into it myself - it is because French women know how many calories there are in a glass of wine and a calorie is a calorie whether it comes from a cream bun, a glass or wine or a satsuma - they all count.

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 11-Jan-13 10:49:48

I also think it is about how you are brought up in terms of being able to cook, and knowing how to make cheap meals.
There are always threads on here about how you can eat properly if you meal plan, and make big stews etc, but if you haven't been brought up doing that it would be hard to know where to start, so it's not as simple as it sounds.
I grew up in a big family, both my parents could cook (especially my Dad) and they knew how to buy meat in a butchers or at the market, how to get big bags of dried pulses and soak them overnight, how to make chicken soup with the leftover bird, what quantities to cook. All that stuff is second nature to me, and I do it because I am skint.
I have an actual planner in my kitchen with the meals I am going to make, and how much it all costs.
This is not due to my amazing housekeeping. It is just the way I was raised, that's all.
If I hadn't had that education I wouldn't know where to start and might not bother.
I was also brought up with meal times, and there were no snack foods. I mean, we had bread and if hungry we made a jam sandwich.
No-one was waving "organix" or innocent smoothies under our noses all day long. Plus, I remember waiting for my dinner after my parents had got home from work and being really hungry until it was ready. It's OK to be hungry sometimes. In fact it's a good thing to actually know what real hunger feels like, rather than " I might as well eat something".
We also had a black and white telly shock and no computer, so boredom forced us outdoors.
My childhood sounds like summat out of the 1940's grin but this was the 80's!

ubik Fri 11-Jan-13 10:56:06

I find it hard to eat well on nightshift. You try not to eat during the night but by night number 3, you are usually very tired. Your body craves calories at about 4/5am. Many people get chips or macdonalds. I wi eat a ready meal with some protein - lasagne or soup.

I find the real weight gain comes in the days after nightshifts when you are forcing your body back into a normal routine: you crave carbs as you are so exhausted.

I have taken control and now restrict my calories and have lost a stone.

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 11-Jan-13 10:58:57

Oh, yes, and BOOZE! I reckon booze is a major culprit.
Until I had ds I NEVER drank at home on my own. I always loved wine, but it would be a social thing, not a "oh good, it's 8 pm, time to fill my bucket extra large wine glass with half a bottle of Rioja.
Everytime I have periods of not drinking I drop pounds without doing anything else. Especially around the middle. Booze makes you really flabby.
I still love wine though, and I am sorry, but one glass is just not acceptable. I would rather have 2 glasses or nothing. It's my only outlet.

MrsMushroom Fri 11-Jan-13 11:01:25

Lillian I totally agree.....I hate this "finish your dinner" shit that DC get. My DC have always been allowed to stop when they're full.

If they misjudge that and are hungry half an hour later well they can have a snack...not a problem. As a result they, like yours will stop at a point.

LillianGish Fri 11-Jan-13 11:02:11

and I am sorry, but one glass is just not acceptable wine wine Bottoms up!

curiousuze Fri 11-Jan-13 11:08:11

I think the booze thing is true - my parents never kept drink in the house really when we were growing up. It was much more expensive then and my folks would have a cup of tea instead! Now everyone seems to have a drink almost every night, including my dad who has got a wee bit portly!

I'd also never had a takeaway until I left home and went to uni - it just wasn't something you did in my family, so old fashioned to think about it now. We had three meals a day and one snack at about 4pm - kind of like the Swiss it seems!

tinkertitonk Fri 11-Jan-13 11:09:29

God yes, booze is a killer. A glass is a treat and a mega-glass a mega-treat at 6 pm the end of the day. Sometimes making some really expensive tea works as a way of fooling myself into feeling that there, I've had my treat. Another trick is to have something to do later in the evening that demands sobriety. DH plays poker for too much money; that brings its own problems, but it stops him from drinking, at least on poker nights.

ethelb Fri 11-Jan-13 11:09:48

"My childhood sounds like summat out of the 1940's but this was the 80's!"

It has changed very quickly. I grew up late 80s early 90s and my v middle class parents (and friends parents) didn't bat an eyelash over the occasional fish finger, frozen pizza, birds eye burger etc but the rest of the time it was food from scratch as you couldn't get a lot of the ready meals you can now. And we played 'out' in the evenings. Lots of pavement football and we grew up in central london. A couple fatties but not many.

Fast forward 10 years to when my younger sister was the same age, and it was all orgnaic butternut squash for dinner BUT also posh ready meals which had recently become available. (I remember that Tesco finest gratin dauphinous was quite a frequent addition to some fish on Friday night). And now one plays 'out' anymore either. There were quite a few fatties in her class.

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 11-Jan-13 11:12:36

Cheers Lillian grin roll on 8 pm...

Tinymrscollings Fri 11-Jan-13 11:14:33

We have such an odd attitude to food and eating in the UK, it's no wonder we have an obesity problem. All this talk of 'good' foods and 'naughty' foods and the peculiar diets that we are encouraged to undertake to lose weight quickly and easily (5:2 seems to be the current favourite) makes me so angry. We should be teaching our children to prepare and enjoy good food and to eat it in sensible amounts. Simple as that, I reckon. No fads, no diets, nothing demonised, no 'superfoods'.

LillianGish Fri 11-Jan-13 11:17:12

There's nothing wrong with fish fingers - as long as you don't eat the whole packet! In fact for some people ready meals could be the way to go - especially if you choose something calorie counted. At least that way you can see what a normal portion looks like. My sil is a great cook and always cooks from scratch, but portions are massive (much more than you'd get in a ready meal). It's like all you can eat buffets where people don't feel they are getting value for money unless they pile their plate as high as possible.

ubik Fri 11-Jan-13 11:21:37

I've been doing 5:2 and it's great. And the health benefits are great too. It costs nothing, there are no special foods, nothing is demonised - but it does regulate your appetite.

IfNotNowThenWhen Fri 11-Jan-13 11:24:53

ethelb- so do you think that somewhere in the mid 90's is when things started to change then?
That seems to exactly coincide with the advent of the internet and the sudden mass rise in mobile phones, and also cable TV.
There are definitely so many more ways for kids to entertain themselves without moving. And they HAVE so MUCH STUFF.
I would love ds to grow up really active, but his friends already, at 6/7, have nintendos and by ten they all have phones they can spend all day playing games on.
There is no boredom for kids anymore. All these gadgets make people inactive and insular. When I get on the bus, no-one looks out of the window, every single person under 50 is staring at their phone.
Soon we will all be just giant larvae shaped blobs with giant pointy fingers.
I sound like a right old fart, I know!

Abra1d Fri 11-Jan-13 11:28:06

Another vote for 5:2 from me. Easy to keep slim now. It also makes you eat healthily on these days at least, because you only have 500 calories so need to make the most of them: lots and lots of vegetables in a fish stir fry, for instance. A slice or two of very nutritious wholegrain bread, eaten slowly. Lots of glasses of water.

tinkertitonk Fri 11-Jan-13 11:30:39

LillianG, Birds Eye battered fish fingers are 14.5% fat by weight. That means that 50% of their calorific value comes from the fat in them. That is high; "The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake come from fats."

Abra1d Fri 11-Jan-13 11:34:40

The nineties was also when a lot of well-meaning but hysterical child safety precautions came in, meaning that children were discouraged from playing out by themselves in perfectly safe conditions, because their parents were subjected to social pressure. My children played out in our rural little village, surrounded by friendly neighbours. But I still had a lot of comments about the danger they were in.

JustAHolyFool Fri 11-Jan-13 11:35:17

People eat too much. That's the simple fact of it.

We used to eat these boxes of Cheesy Pasta at lunch (don't think you get it in England but basically pasta and sauce) when I was little. We would eat one box between the three of us. I went to my friend's house and they had a box each. She was obese then and as an adult still is.

And people are so inactive. Everyone's obsessed with their telly/iphone/laptop.

ethelb Fri 11-Jan-13 11:39:02

@IfNotNow I think food became more fetishised by the middle classes in the mid-90s. Jamie Oliver/Nigella Lawson et al.

Previously there was a lot less choice. I remember y dad making pesto from scratch for a dinner party once (about 1995/6), and it was the main event!

And despite my family having always been good cooks who generally cooked from scratch (or as much as two people working full time with three children can be expected to) I think yummier food just appeared from the mid-90s and people got more obsessed with it.

TBF I came from a gadgety household and always had access to computers due to my dad's work so I think that is a bit of a misnomer tbh. I think it was the fact that we were allowed to walk up to the corner shop, allowed to play out in the street and allowed to go to the park alone from a far younger age than people are today.

Though children may have access to gadgety things and enjoy them I would imagine they would far rather be romping with their mates out in the street than playing angry birds imo.

thesnootyfox Fri 11-Jan-13 11:42:26

I am a stone overweight and need to lose 2 stone to get back to a size 8-10 which I was before having children. Where I live most people are very slim and it encourages you
to maintain a healthy weight because you feel fat if you are just a few pounds overweight.

I went to a British seaside resort in the summer and I was shocked at how overweight the Brits have become. I felt slim for the first time in years!

I think we have become fat because we have lost the ability to cook, it is cheaper to eat unhealthy food, fruit can be very expensive. We lead stressful lives and turn to food for comfort, we don't exercise enough. We are influenced by those around us if you live in a "fat" area you don't feel the pressure to get slim.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 11-Jan-13 11:43:56