Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fat Fighters on the NHS

I know how easy it is to put on weight. You reach a certain age and you stop playing football. Then you stop playing cricket. You used to go out for a 60 mile bike ride, you now do a couple of miles to the shop or to church twice a week. You used to walk 20 miles in the Lake District on a Sunday morning, you now stroll down the canal towpath to the pub for lunch. You used top walk/bus/cycle to work,now you drive.

I don't care who you are as you get a little older, and the pace of your life slows slightly, you put on the pounds. Then you get worried about your health so you give up smoking. Bang! On go more pounds. You can't win.

But then we realise that excess weight puts pressure on various parts of your body and to be honest, you know you don't feel particularly healthy any more. Your knees ache in the mornings, you may have dodgy ankles and so it goes on. Well at least that's how it went for me.

Then you realise you have to act. It's time to accept that this isn't an inevitable consequence of ageing, you have to make some choices, some tough decisions. Your waist hasn't ballooned because of age, gravity or anything else. It ballooned because you are putting too many calories in and burning too few off. You need to think about what to do to help yourself. A couple of G&Ts in the evening to relax after work? Stop it. Takeaways two or three nights a week so you can relax without shopping, cooking and washing piles of pots, especially after a hard day at work? Cut them out. Park a little further away from the office and walk a little more. Like a fried breakfast on a Sunday? Then grill rather than fry.

I'm sounding like my mum now but I'm sure you get my drift. Deep down we know when we need to lose weight, how to lose weight and, most importantly, why we need to lose weight. We need to take control and responsibility for our lives. But no, nanny state should be doing it for us. Or should it?

There are people campaigning for weight loss surgery to be splashed out for on the NHS to save money on diabetes treatment, diabetes often being a consequence of being porky. But why do people allow themselves to get to 20, 25 stone or more? I'm tired of seeing seriously obese people on TV wailing about how tough a hand they've been dealt while detailing how they had 5 fried eggs 10 rashers of bacon, 5 sausages, 3 fried slices and a litre of coke for breakfast, a Big Mac with fries and a coke for elevenses, a 12" pizza with a litre of coke for lunch and so on. I think it might be gluttony rather than life dealing you a bum hand that got you to that weight actually.

The state paying for something means you and me. It's our taxes, the government actually has no money. It robs us or it borrows, hence the mess we are in now. Neither do I agree with NHS money being wasted on 'treatment' for people to give up smoking. Both are lifestyle choices and the NHS wasn't formed for that.

If people want gastric bands, if they want to go on some ridiculously expensive stop smoking course then pay for it. Why should the people on low wages, who look after themselves and pay taxes, pay for the irresponsible to overcome their weakness? And I speak as one who gave up smoking four years ago and am desperately trying to lose a least two stone. Yet again it's the irresponsible and feckless expecting the responsible to bail them out.

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