Hospital vending machines have come under fire this week for making high-calorie junk foods too readily available.
I read an article on the BBC website in which a survey by the World Cancer Research Fund found that 73% of English hospital trusts have no policy when it comes to the food sold in their vending machines, yet Welsh and Scottish trusts do. Considering it is the NHS – I guess you would assume that they have a moral responsibility to send out the right messages regarding healthy eating?
This reminded me of the ‘guilt lanes’ that I mentioned in a recent blog post – those tempting snacks that supermarkets place next to the checkout. It can make life difficult to have that sort of food placed within such easy reach.
But what happened to freedom of choice? Why should people who have no issues when it comes to health or weight be restricted? Those questions probably form the basis of arguments from critics to any form of restraint on the availability of food and drink products.
For me though, the fact that our weight as a nation is growing so rapidly, is more important than the availability of a chocolate bar. If you want a chocolate bar badly enough, you can walk to a shop or a specific aisle in a supermarket for it…you might burn some of the calories off in it too!
If you want junk food, you can have it. But to place it in locations such as hospitals seems a little ironic. Whilst the majority of patients and visitors will have no health problems that link to junk food, the potential for many that do have these issues, and the fact that we give easy access to such food seems strange to me. The NHS have launched a new healthy eating and weight loss campaign and, for me, I think they need to capitalise upon every opportunity to get the message across…at the moment I actually have visions of a vending machine full of crisps and chocolate being located next to a poster for this new campaign!
I don’t bang the drum as much as I used to about McDonalds and the like. These companies serve a purpose and they are never going to go away. I think that us losers need to take responsibility for own our destiny, and so part of that means avoiding places like McDonalds perhaps – it definitely means avoiding them for me…one burger is never enough! Yet guilt lanes and vending machines are located in such a way that you can’t avoid them unless you shop online. You might be able to resist, but it doesn’t seem fair to have to queue up right next to temptation.
You wouldn’t be likely to see alcohol or cigarettes next to you whilst you queue up…and you certainly wouldn’t find little wraps of cocaine! But for the likes of me, some of the items you do find can be just as damaging.
Will power is always touted as the cure all for weight loss – just eat less, move more and use that will power! And to a great extent this is true – you have to want the weight loss more than you want the chocolate. Yet if something is dangled in front of your nose, or the only item available in a late night trip trip to A&E is a chocolate bar from the vending machine, what do you do?
I don’t know what the solution is really. I think that a balance of options would be good – a guilt lane with 50% junk and 50% healthy options…the same with vending machines. I would not want a total ban as I worry that this could lead to further ‘fat-bashing’…’the fatties can’t control themselves so we have to suffer’ kind of backlash!
For me, I just plan to avoid temptation. If I am going somewhere then I take a healthy option in my bag. I generally have a healthy option – such as a decent cereal bar or piece of fruit – in my glovebox. If I am going out for the day then I will select somewhere that I know I can buy a healthy meal. It might sound anal…but it seems to work.
Anyway, enough talk of junk food – it is tempting me too much!
Breakfast: Blueberry and banana porridge (6.5 syns).
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx