You are what you eat

Monday nights in Keynsham, Bristol are now firmly established as men’s health night. This month, a brilliant set of free talks and fundraisers on men’s health issues have become the meat between the sandwich of my popular Yoga For Men classes. On a food-related theme, the talks continued this week with us being joined by Alison from the Good Nutrition Guide, to talk about diet and wellbeing.

Alison’s talk gave me plenty of food for thought. I’ve spent most of the week repeating morsels of Alison’s reflections to YogaMum – reassuringly often when we preparing a healthy meal using fresh ingredients. Given the pressures we face as busy parents, raising YogaTwins with a ravenous appetite I wouldn’t say we ace eating healthily all the time. However, whenever we do, we celebrate our successes, and when we don’t, we look towards our next meal to prove that we can do it.

Gousto’s meal kit delivery service was the real game changer for us. Before then, we had got stuck in a rut with supermarket convenience foods on repeat. Gousto’s recipes and measured ingredients provided us with the tools to break the cycle and confidence in cooking fresh and nutritious meals. Over the past year, I’ve been loving using Joe Wicks’ Body Coach app, which combines two of my main passions in life – food and exercise, taking my confidence in the kitchen on both fronts to the next level!

There are of course plenty of free resources out there to get recipe ideas and build confidence in the kitchen, such as through BBC Good Food. Closer to home, The Good Nutrition Guide offers a six- week free cook along course at the Wellbeing College in High Littleton, Bristol. This is specifically for those who have attended any weight loss programme or are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Male obesity is a growing problem in the U.K. A staggering 67% of men are overweight or obese, compared with 62% of women. Coronary heart disease is the main cause of male death with a man dying prematurely from a heart-related disease every 14 minutes in the U.K. Diet and drinking are key lifestyle factors that increase the risk of death. What we eat and drink physically and mentally shapes us, with the power over what we put in our mouths most often being within our own hands.

A man dies prematurely from a heart-related disease every 14 minutes in the U.K.

As much as we have the power to decide, the statistics clearly demonstrate that we’re not making the most of it. Unless we start doing so, the situation is only going to get worse – not just for ourselves, but those we care most dearly about, especially those without the power – our children.

An interesting observation from Monday night was that Keynsham Baptist Church, where I held the talk, also host Weight Watchers sessions. These take place most days, often a few times per day. From a quick check of the national statistics, it may come as no surprise that the Weight Watchers’ customer base is heavily skewed towards women – about 90% of members are female, 10% are men.

Around 90% of members of organisations such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World are female

Diet is a complex area, with many contributing lifestyle, genetic and other factors at play. However, fundamental questions remain around whether men even recognise their weight as an issue. And, when they do, whether there is the credible information and support out there, through organisations such as the Good Nutrition Guide, to help men make more informed choices.