This week’s article is a little different from usual. There’s been so much in the news again about the obesity crisis that I wanted to share my views.

‘Sugar is “The New Tobacco”’, “Act now on junk food to save our children”, “Diabetes Risk in Daily Fizzy Drink”, Obesity UK: It’s Worse Than Feared”, “Diabetes Crisis to Cripple NHS”…….

Once again the media is full of shock-horror stories of the obesity crisis, the diabetes crisis, the sugar crisis, childhood obesity, and so on. Right now the talk is of a sugar-tax on fizzy drinks, of banning cartoon character advertising, of moving sweets away from the checkout and improving food and drink labelling. Yes, some of these things may well help, but for me instead of telling us what’s bad, tell us what is good for us to eat and drink. Let’s re-educate the nation, let’s teach people about healthy diet and exercise.

I’ve been involved in promoting healthy eating and fighting obesity since the early 1980s. I’ve helped hundreds of men and women change their diet and lose weight, and even more importantly I’ve helped them keep the weight off. These are ordinary people, with ordinary jobs. Many of them have families and, like most of us, are shopping on a budget. They can’t afford special foods or bought-in meal plans. They don’t want to be bothered with complicated programmes and don’t want to severely restrict or limit certain foods. They’re looking for tasty meals, that are readily available, easy to prepare and ideal for the whole family.

That’s what Slimtone is all about – a sensible and balanced healthy eating plan based on ‘real’ food. No fads, no fuss.

But it’s about more than that too. Members come along to class either in person or online and learn about healthy eating. By teaching the basics, we change the way they think about food. Sometimes it’s about being organised, planning ahead, checking portion size, choosing healthy alternatives, drinking water or taking exercise. At other times we share information about the “baddies” such as sugar, salt and fat and how to manage these in your diet. There are always demonstrations, hints and tips, recipes and meal plans – it’s informative and serious, but personal and fun.

Yes, improved labelling would certainly help in the fight against obesity and so would some of the other measures being suggested. But re-educating the nation is a must and is what will have the biggest impact. As Sammi Robinson says, “This became a way of life. It re-educated me on how to cook and prepare food.” – Sammi lost over 10 stone and has kept her weight off for over 15 years.

Let’s help more people like Sammi and start talking about food in the right way.