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Do we even know we are overweight?

Obesity kills 82 people a day….and Coronavirus killed 9 people out of 66.6m on 28th September, (according to fullfact.org).

Obesity is actually listed as the direct cause in these deaths, but there are even more deaths where obesity was the driving force which led to another condition. We know obesity is a common cause of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A logical conclusion is that there are undoubtedly even more deaths as a result of obesity. 

But – here’s the thing, 

Overweight and obesity have become so normalised that when people are stopped in the streets to look at a photo of a person and asked if they are obese or overweight, 9 times out of 10 they say they are normal. Take a look at the photo at the top of this page to see how subtle the change of weight actually looks. 

A staggeringly tiny 10% of Brits who are clinically obese realise they are obese. They prefer to describe themselves as ‘average’ or a bit overweight’. Women are slightly better with 12% recognising obesity compared to 7% of men. 

The problem is it’s so easy to let it creep up on you

This is especially true if you’re going through a very stressful time like divorce. Everything we do as humans is centred around doing things to make us feel better, or not feel so bad. The stress that surrounds divorce, massive upheavals in dealing with legalities, finances, feelings of blame, unfairness, anger and betrayal can all be real triggers to eating unhealthily and drinking too much alcohol. Unfortunately, well-meaning friends want to help and may try to cheer us up with a bottle of wine on a week-day night or we are so tired we order take away and drink every night. It’s so easy to fall into bad habits.

Maybe the reason overweight people don’t recognise themselves is because of denial…

…or because of shame. Shame is an emotion that really hurts and goes deep. I know when I was three stone heavier, I absolutely hated looking in the mirror and seeing a fat tummy when all my friends were slim and having more fun than me. It really hurt, and went deep. I was ashamed I couldn’t just get on with doing what my Mother told me to do which was to eat a bowl of green leaves (and very little else).

She had an appetite like a bird, and just couldn’t understand or empathise with me. I remember her famous words, ‘your eyes are bigger than your tummy’. My Father used to poke fun at me and when I read a book called ‘Fit for Life’ which was quite popular at the time, he said ‘more like Fit for death!”. I don’t blame him for it. He was probably trying to help. At the time he was running marathons and training for events, which kept the momentum going – for him. 

Buried feelings

I know so well and have experienced those feelings that cut to the quick when it comes to being overweight and not feeling good enough. It is an important part of my coaching programmes because people’s deep feelings about themselves are often so buried they don’t even realise why they are doing what they are doing or if they are in denial, or plain hoping everything will be ok without actually making any changes.  

If you’re interested in your own health, a really easy thing to do and what I recommend is a simple blood test to establish your baseline biomarkers. This will see if you have high cholesterol or are deficient in vitamin D, B12 and folate, and whether you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. (Type 1 diabetes is where the body destroys its own cells which produce insulin.) Type 2 Diabetes covers 90% of the cases of diabetes and can be prevented or delayed with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to amputation, blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.

Take responsibility

I write this – (IF it applies to you – and there is no judgement – YOU will know if you want to change) – so you are not only highly motivated and can see the damage that being overweight is doing to you, but it gives you a baseline from which you can work towards improving upon. You can request a blood test from your NHS GP or pay privately if you prefer. I believe our health service would be much better off if people actively took responsibility for their health and wellbeing before waiting until a critical stage was reached.

There are so many health resources available online. If you google it, there are lots to choose from. However, there is also a lot of confusion. Humans procrastinate. We put things off. We let work, responsibilities, the day to day living, paying the bills, taking care of our loved ones and watching TV after dinner take up the mainstay of our time. But if we leave things until they get too bad, it is much harder to change. We need to be motivated to take inspired action. We also NEED to be under pressure to get things done. 

Do we even know that we are obese?

We’re all amazing!

I believe every person has it in them to achieve greatness. I believe it is possible to do whatever you set your mind to. We sent a spaceship to the moon nearly fifty years ago, plus we found cures for illnesses that used to kill and disable. We’ve built skyscrapers and ships and aircraft. We are all miraculous!

I don’t think it means you need to have a tremendous amount of willpower to achieve greatness either. Or that it has to be hard. It just needs to be strategic and it needs accountability. Otherwise what once seemed so important gets forgotten about and things go back to the status quo. 

The year of change

2020 might not have been quite the year we were expecting (now there’s an understatement!) But some people retrained. Some people took a course. Others decided to set up a new business. Many people have had to 

delay retirement – as an article in the newspaper has mentioned the other day, partly due to their pensions and investments going down. Some people tidied their houses. Some people learned how to play the piano or learned how to get by in a language. There is so much out there in this big wide world of ours, and we want to enjoy it for as long as we can! But unless we are a healthy weight, our time on this earth will be severely shortened. And I don’t want that for my friends and people my work has reached.


Eating healthily and losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating less and exercising more.

Don’t worry, if you thought this was fact. Most people do. Maybe you don’t have time to read, or this is too long. If you’re still here – thank you I really appreciate it. If I can help just one person realise that being overweight is not their fault and a hormone imbalance, I will be grateful!

And here’s the clever part….

My clients are really surprised at all the food that is on the menu when they make a few subtle and strategic changes. They are astounded that when they ate less before, (probably thinking it was healthy) they gained weight and maybe went up a size. And after working on a plan focused on how the brain and human body’s biology work the FAT melts away. It is still so motivating to me, even though I KNOW it works! 

Olivia Parry is a Weightloss Coach and she features in The Hug Directory.

So, I encourage you to take inspired action, even if you are experiencing the biggest challenges you have ever faced. Click here for your  Free hormone guide or go  www.eatslim.co.uk/hormones to learn how to balance your hormones.

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