NANA AKUA: It’s YOUR fault if you get fat

Some time back, I was dining with my ex-boyfriend’s family and his friends. But, by the end of the meal, the only thing I could taste was my own embarrassment.

Across from me, one member of the group, who was on medication for type 2 diabetes, was insisting on guzzling the last piece of cake.

This person had made himself ill with a disease caused by his own gluttony – yet he was ploughing on nonetheless.

As he lifted the cake to enjoy yet another mouthful, our eyes locked for a moment – and I think, in that glance, both of us knew that his resolve was no stiffer than the sponge between his fingers.

This week, Henry Dimbleby – the former food tsar to No10 – highlighted a striking solution to Britain’s ever-expanding waistlines.

GB News presenter Nana Akua (pictured) says that the UK’s solution to ‘ever-expanding waistlines’ must be acceptance that it’s ‘our fault’ if we get fat

Look to Japan, he said. There, robust employment laws permit companies to wrap a tape measure around the bellies of their pudgiest workers and dispatch the tubbiest to weight-management courses.

You think I’m joking? No – this is a serious problem. Diabetes afflicts four million Brits and costs the NHS a full 10 per cent of its budget, thanks to hideous complications from heart attacks to strokes.

Hardly anyone is fat in Japan. Yet our streets are full of overweight people.

So, what are we doing about it here?

Well, this week the NHS announced the results of a landmark trial – that showed that going on a radical three-month ‘soup and shake’ meal plan can permanently reverse type 2 diabetes. Patients who ate only 800 calories for three months, then kept the weight off, remained free of symptoms five years later and no longer needed medication.

Who’d have thought it – eating less is good for you?

Both the Japanese and the NHS’s approaches point to a simple truth. It’s your own fault if you get fat – and within your power to do something about it.

This is hardly a revelation and it beggars belief that some people need to be told this.

The columnists says that the UK too often takes on a 'victimhood' and 'buck passing' approach to obesity. Stock image used

The columnists says that the UK too often takes on a ‘victimhood’ and ‘buck passing’ approach to obesity. Stock image used

But in recent years, we’ve constantly heard that it’s somehow other people’s fault when someone gorges themselves into obesity and diabetes.

We inhabit a culture in which victimhood is mixed with buck-passing, where adults are too often allowed to avoid the consequences of their own actions or face the need to change – even when the damage they are inflicting on themselves is obvious.

Some try to justify their intake of sugary, fatty rubbish by claiming that ‘healthy’ foods are too expensive, which is nonsense. A nutritious home-cooked meal is far cheaper than a calorific takeaway.

Others insist that they are the victims of medical circumstances – that they are suffering from an addiction beyond their control. The other classic get-out-of-jail-free card is one’s genes – blame it on the family!

In my work, running my own business for over ten years as a fitness trainer and wellness coach, I’ve heard every excuse going. A penny for them and I’d be on Gary Lineker’s stipend.

Nana says celebrities like Lizzo, pictured last year, who promote ' fat acceptance' are misguided

Nana says celebrities like Lizzo, pictured last year, who promote ‘ fat acceptance’ are misguided  

Here’s a simple fact: Diets require willpower – and too many people are unwilling to make the effort.

That’s the crux of the problem. While our society may enjoy a limitless supply of calories – Dimbleby called us a nation of ‘sausage-roll-eating fatties’ – there is a chronic shortage of self-control.

Yet the nonsense is encouraged by weight-loss bloggers such as Asher Larmie, also known as ‘The Fat Doctor’. They are a large person – but implies that many fat people are in that condition thanks to genetics and social inequality.

LBC radio’s Nick Ferrari laughed as hard as I did upon hearing this pseudo-scientific claptrap when he had Larmie on his show last week.

‘You are not fat because of what you eat and how much exercise you do,’ claimed this supposed medical professional. ‘That is the line that everybody is led to believe.’

Just as misguided is obese pop star Lizzo promoting what some call ‘fat acceptance’ under the guise of body positivity.

She’s wrong. Fat isn’t ‘fabulous’ – it’s a threat to health.

Covid showed us this: after the elderly, being obese was one of the biggest risk factors in dying from the disease. The hugely overweight are also at wildly disproportionate risk of developing all manner of health problems, from cancer to dementia.

The pandemic should have led more people to take back personal responsibility. Even with just minor changes in our lives, great results can be achieved and even type 2 diabetes can even be reversed. And if we’re not up to the task, don’t be surprised one day if your boss approaches you with a tape measure.