Obesity is a massive global problem, but it is becoming more prevalent in the UK. 1 in 5 adults are clinically obese, as well as 1 in 4 children. The strain on our arteries is just as big as the strain on the economy.

The UK spends less than £638m a year on obesity prevention programmes – about 1% of the social cost. But the country spends about £6bn a year on the medical costs of conditions related to being overweight or obese and a further £10 billion on diabetes.

The total healthcare and social costs of an increasingly overweight population are now £47bn a year.

Nobody wants to be obese, but our lifestyles, budgets and priorities have starting dictating our body shapes. Here are 4 tips to return to a healthy weight:

Cut out obvious junk food

Losing 5 lbs when your 40% body fat requires less attention to detail than if you were 30%. You don’t need a detailed meal plan, specific carb intake and all the other fancy diet techniques, just cut out the junk food. You don’t need to be a nutritionals to know that a stuffed crust pizza, fudge cake and 5 beers is not a healthy meal. If it comes with fries and a drink or can be delivered to your house, don’t eat it.

Learn to cook

Cooking is seen as a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for some, a major inconvenience for others. It’s incredibly easy to get in the habit on not cooking, to the point where you can’t remember the last time you fired up the hob. Again, you don’t have to be Jamie Oliver to be able to cook something that tastes nice. And you don’t have to eat rabbit food for a month either. We’re not going for 6 pack abs here, we’re going for reduced medical and lifestyle complications as a result of excessive weight gain.

Meat/Fish with Rice/potatoes and salad/veg. Meat takes 5 minutes on a grill, rice and veg you can easily microwave. Salad doesn’t need cooking. Add seasoning kits to add flavour to the meat, and balsamic vinegar to the salad.

Organisation

This is crucial to controlling you cravings. Prep your meals. Prep your snacks. An unorganised person skips breakfast because they’re late for work; gets a sandwich from the canteen for lunch, then doesn’t eat anything for the next 8 hours. By which point you so hungry you cave and have junk food. Sunday night cook a big bulk of chicken fajita mix, portion it out and leave it in the fridge with some tortillas. Cook a big chilli, cook a big curry, I’ve even cooked 24 rashers of bacon and portioned them into 3’s, then I’ve got a weeks’ worth of snacks. Almonds and ham are also great snacks. Keep them at work, at home, even in the car so you always have instant access to a healthy option. “I don’t have time” often means “I’d rather do something else with my time” or “I’ve run out of time because I haven’t been organised”. Food should be as big a priority as work or family.

Walk more

Our lives are more sedentary than ever. 50 years ago you didn’t have to think about exercise as if was already part of everyday life. Walking more is the 1st step to becoming more active. Walk to the shops instead of drive. Take the stairs not the lift. Get up from your desk every hour and walk to the water cooler. We’re not going for Olympic gold performance; we’re going for the ability to perform everyday tasks without becoming breathless.

All of these tips have a positive cumulative effect. The more organised you are, the more you cook. The better you eat the more weight you lose. The more active you’re able to become the more calories you burn. The better you look and feel, the more you’re likely to stick with it. There’s never a perfect time to start. There will always be somebody’s birthday this weekend, or drinks with work, or weddings, or family days out. Implement these tips without delay and reap the rewards sooner.

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