If you missed the BBC Radio Solent broadcast on Southampton’s Obesity Epidemic, here’s what Katie Martin discussed with the help of a local personal trainer…

I was honoured once again to be invited back to BBC Radio Solent by the lovely Katie Martin, to discuss a decade long recent research study on obesity and returning to what is considered a ‘normal’ weight.

The findings claimed only one in every 210 obese men and one in 124 obese women ever return to a normal weight once they have passed that point on the scales. Now everyone knows I’m not a fan of the scales, nor do I weigh myself or any of my personal training or boot camp clients – but unfortunately, this is how obesity and what makes a healthy BMI are both measured.

In case you missed the broadcast (no worries, you can listen to it here while still available!) the issue I believed that needed to be addressed first and foremost, was what exactly was being done to prevent this occurring in the first place, and why these preventative measures don’t actually seem to be working.

We were also joined by Health Psycologist Dr Wendy Lawrence, who raised the point of what peoples’ priorities were. Sadly health isn’t always the first. I believe it is this, combined with a huge amount of out-dated information (the government eat-well plate, anyone…?) and the idea that you can quite easily buy a product or even pay a professional to do the work for you, are all contributing factors. 

More often than not, it takes some sort of crisis, such as the diagnosis of an obesity-related illness, or even loss of a loved one, for people to start taking real action. Real action meaning actually doing something, rather than just planning to. I’ve been there myself and would start my ‘new diet’ every Monday morning, often abandoning it by Monday lunchtime.

We were all in agreement that those in a position to support and encourage positive behaviour changes, such as those working in the health industry and even GPs themselves, could help change things greatly with the correct skills. I do believe it shouldn’t all be in the hands of personal trainers!

By looking at what people are currently doing in their day to day lives, unhelpful behaviours can be identified. A great example of this is keeping a food diary, something all my personal training clients do, which helps them identify unhealthy habits such as mindless eating. 

This is what getting out of your comfort zone truly is about! Hard work is taking a good honest look at yourself and your behaviours. It’s not just about exercising and pushing yourself as hard as you can. My earlier article on goals also stressed this. Rather than focusing on the ‘what’ aspect of what it is you want to achieve, think about the ‘how’ of how you are going to do it. When there is no sense of ‘how’ it is going to happen, it is all too easy to lose sight of even believing it can happen. 

As a personal trainer, I believe in treating the cause rather than the symptoms. This applies to both physical ailments like injuries or pain, and psychological behaviours such as emotional eating. Identifying where this behaviour is coming from, rather than treating secondary symptoms such as depression is a huge step towards stopping it happening.

One very helpful means of doing this is to surround yourself with positive people that make you feel fantastic, not bring you down. Living a happy, healthy life with a body that reflects this is not just about eating correctly and exercising. If I’d have known the full extent of how negative people can impact stress levels, thus effecting happiness, peace and wellbeing I’d have eliminated them from my life a lot sooner – or probably never have given them the chance to be in it.

Think about anyone in your life who makes you feel unhappy. Do they deserve to be in it? Are they worthy of your time? Are they aware the effects of their behaviour have on your health (and therefore body?!)

Life is short, precious and every moment there to be enjoyed and cherished. The only person who can ensure this happens is you.