Not buffed, but buffered

Cedric PorterCedric Porter, LEAF Trustee and Supply Chain expert, embarked on a weight  loss challenge to support LEAF’s 25th anniversary theme ‘delivering healthy food and farming fit for the future’.  Cedric updates us on progress to-date…

I’ve hit a bit of a buffer in my quest to lose 25lbs in LEAF’s 25 years. I’ve held my weight at around the 15 stone or 210lb mark that I last reported but haven’t made much progress in losing the next 15lbs I need to lose to reach my target.

I’m still walking my 10,000 steps a day and adding in an occasional run too, but I fear that I’ve got to a stage that I’m still eating too much and what I’m doing is not burning off enough of the calories that I’m consuming. To me there seem to be two options, one is to cut out the naughties in all meals, but I’m one of those people who does enjoy my food and the prospect of cutting out the sugar, cream and occasional fried potato product from my diet does not fill me with any joy.

PeasSo the I think I’ll try the other option – the 5 2 Fast diet where for 70% of the week I can eat almost what I want, leaving me to consume a Monastic 600 calories on the remaining two days of the week. On those two days I can still have the odd portion of yoghurt, plenty of fruit and veg and I’m quite looking forward to a lunch of crushed peas, shoots and new potatoes (minus the butter, of course, but with eggs). The picture is taken from http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/ my version will not be quite so impressive, I’m sure, but I’ll take a photo of it and it will contain lots of LEAF ingredients.

A diet conundrum

chart 1My new-found interest in weighty matters, has led me to look at food intake in the UK. Given the headlines and concerns over obesity, you would think that we are eating more food than ever. But figures from Defra tell a different story. For the last 70 years Defra and its Min of Ag predecessor have been monitoring food consumption through a large scale survey of ‘typical’ consumers. This shows that in the last 20 years the average calorie intake per person has dropped by a whopping 14%.

But other figures from Public Health England show at the same time, the levels of obesity have continued to rise. So 20 years ago around 14% of the male population were obese, now the figure is 25%, a rise of 79%. Similarly the level of female obesity has increased from 17% to 25%, an increase of 47%

chart2So what is behind this apparent conundrum, that while we have reduced our calorie intake as a nation we have got fatter?

There has to be an element of physical activity in the equation. The last 20 years has seen a continuation of a long-term trend away from manual work. From mining to engineering to much of farm work, automation has replaced hard physical labour. That means fewer calories are burnt. Figures from the www.thefastdiet.co.uk website show that a 40 year old 14 and a half stone man burns off 3550 calories a day doing heavy exercise or a physical job, but the same person who does a non-physical job with little or no exercise burns off just 2250 calories.

The type of food that we are eating may also play a factor. As well as eating more sugar, we are eating more processed food. One theory is that what this processing does is part digest food allowing energy to be taken in more readily by the body and converted into fat if not burnt. As one who is struggling to get the pounds off, it is a theory that should be looked into a little more closely.

If you would like to support my cause for LEAF’s 25th anniversary, please donate to my JustGiving page or you can text the amount you wish to give and ‘LEAF16’ to 70071.

Continuing LEAF’s 25th anniversary theme ‘delivering healthy food and farming fit for the future’, LEAF is organising a sponsored bike ride – click here to sign up and keep up to date with all our 25th anniversary news and events here.

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One response to “Not buffed, but buffered

  1. With you all the way Cedric. I am in exactly the same boat. Stuck on 15 stone when I should be a 12 stone racing snake after a daily 4+ mile walk/run- mostly UPHILL. The dogs are looking in great nick but my worship of sugar and MSG is holding me back. 5:2 it has to be. We are in a race to the finish! Good luck. Patrick Wrixon

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