There has been talk, for quite some time now, about introducing a tax on sugar.
The chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has said that sugar tax may have to be introduced to curb obesity rates, unless the government gets tougher with food and drink manufacturers. Speaking to the health select committee, she said: “We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that live less, and that is of great concern.”
No shit Sherlock…has this not been on the horizon for a hell of a long time? I am no expert when it comes to obesity rates – but I know that when I went to school I was one of three kids in my year at secondary school who were clearly overweight. Now, when I look at the kids who go to the same school, there seems to be a hell of a lot more who appear to be in same boat!
Is being overweight becoming the new norm?
Mr WLB and I discussed this earlier…he said that his perception of an overweight person has been skewed since being in a relationship with me. Most members of my family are overweight…he is so used to seeing us all now, that being overweight seems normal. My niece made me laugh recently when she described me as ‘skinny’ – I guess compared to my old size, I am skinny now…but there is a heck of a long way to go yet!
I wonder if we are becoming weight-blind and that this blindness is leading to a lack of action? I remember being told that my weight was ‘puppy fat’…and I was told that for years. I know that people were trying to be kind, but when you are still trying to grow out of puppy-fat at 32 years of age, something had gone a little awry I feel!
This proposed sugar tax is not news. The lack of serious action is news.
The Department of Health already has a ‘responsibility deal’ – a series of voluntary pledges by industry designed to tackle issues such as obesity. Fecking ‘voluntary’ though? Seriously…given how critical this situation is, and the bloody complaining that the government do when it comes to the cost of obesity…it’s all about politics I feel. Big businesses lead this country and we seem scared to take a stand!
Ministers are currently pushing through a food labelling scheme…but this is voluntary.
Food and drink manufacturers are targeted to reduce additives such as salt, sugar, and fat…but this is voluntary.
Where is the action?
Personally, I don’t feel that a tax on sugar would be helpful. If somebody really wants something, then they will get it. They will scrimp elsewhere to get their fix! It may help future generations, but I think it will do little to support those currently suffering from the effects of obesity. The problem is that some feel that sugar is addictive and that they ‘need’ it!
An article I read today quoted Prof Barry Everitt, Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, who said that pinning down whether sugar was actually addictive was a complex matter. He said sugar – and fats – did impact on the chemistry of the brain’s reward circuits – but in a much smaller way than drugs such as cocaine.
He said: “The important issue is that some individuals lose control over their food, especially sugar (and junk or fat-rich) food. This small sub-group might, then be viewed as ‘addicted’, but it may also be discovered that the loss of control in this sub-group might have a predisposing condition. The message that ‘we’d better watch out for this sugar stuff is misleading’, as far as I am concerned, because it suggests if you eat it you risk becoming addicted and the evidence does not support that.”
I thought about this for quite some time. At my worst I felt that I was addicted to food. I never thought it possible to give up the type of food I binged on. For me, in hindsight, the food was supporting my low self-esteem. I worked on that, and surprisingly enough, the need for that type of food seemed to dissipate. I genuinely no longer get those feelings of absolute ‘need’. I get the munchies…but that’s bloody normal…I just don’t get that panic-stricken feeling if I can’t have my fix. So perhaps this highly educated and knowledgable chap has a point!
For me, it’s a responsibility issue. We need to take personal responsibility for tackling our weight…and the government need to take responsibility and support with education and resources to tackle the obesogenic environment we live in…they also need to start busting some balls of those in charge of these big businesses who seem to dictate to them!
The paragraph in the article that I found most interesting (or telling perhaps) was this one – ‘The charity Sustain, which advises the government on the food and farming industry, says the UK consumes more than 5,727 million litres of sugary soft drinks a year. Adding a 20p tax for every litre sold would raise more than £1.1bn.’
Now…I may just be ignorant here…but why is there a figure relating to how much this tax would raise, if the point of taxation is to deter the sugar-munchers and therefore this figure would not be realised? I can see the numbers game and it makes sense to have a calculation like this, but I seriously hope that the taxation – if it is introduced – is genuinely designed to support the action against obesity…and not to line pockets because I would fecking bet that this £1.1bn would not be diverted to deal solely with obesity!
Anyway, I don’t know enough about this. I just now how awful and soul-destroying it was to deal with the consequences of obesity. I realise that my situation was extreme, but imagine that anyone falling under the banner of ‘obese’ shares some of the experiences that I faced.
My hope is that the government begins to take action that does not increase the stigma faced by my fellow obese bods. Taxation, banning, outlawing…all strike me as backlash fodder against the already marginalised…which does not seem a sensible option. There must be suitable, sensible solutions out there…I wish I knew the answer – I found mine via mindset work (and am helping others with this myself via my coaching) and Slimming World.
Anyway – enough of stuff that I imagine not many of us will ever understand. The complexities of government initiatives and relationships with big business and politics mean that any seemingly clear and simple solutions are rarely clear and never simple!
Today has been another good day. I woke early to get my car to the garage. It’s been making funny noises when I turn the wheel, and as I am needing to tow my horses soon, I wanted to be safe. Fecking thing decided not to make the noises though when the mechanic was in the car with me…so his response was that it’s obviously not too dangerous…ermm….okay then! Then I came home and made breakfast, headed to the gym, then to the shops, and then to my Mums. She headed to see the horses whilst I looked after the baby currently in her care – I am a support worker…she didn’t just leave the baby with me! So I dealt with a grizzly baby who seems to sleep when there is loads of noise in the house, but not when it’s quiet…I put music on and started unpacking boxes noisily, and she fell asleep! I am trying to help Mum settle into her new house and wanted to give her time to run errands and get some shopping in without having to take the baby. Then we were joined by my sister…here is a picture of the two of us…
…it was great to look through some old pictures and remember those pre-mortgage moments and responsibility free days! My niece and nephew were there too, as was my aunt and her foster placement mum and baby…so we had a good house full. Then I came home for some coaching client calls…and a night of TV and relaxation…and a catch up with a great friend of mine who I am going to be seeing next weekend for the first time in years and years!
Breakfast: Egg and spinach rolls (2 x HEB).
A lovely food day. Egg and spinach rolls for brekkie. Lunch was the leftover curry from yesterday – I ate it cold…I love cold curry! Then dinner was potato wedges with roasted veggies – red onion, courgette, and peppers – topped with cottage cheese and normal cheese…delicious!
Exercise: 20 minutes elliptical machine, 11.5 minutes on the hand bike (11.5 minutes is very precise…this is how long it took me to burn 80 calories on the machine from hell!), and 17 minutes on the treadmill.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx