Imagine a knock on a Canberra door, and this being said: “Mr Prime Minister, there's no need to worry about the Budget and the deficit. Australians have decided to get fit and healthy, and the annual cost of obesity will go from $120 billion per year to zero.”
That would amount to $1.2 trillion saved (ignoring increases) over the next 10 years. Possible? Call me an optimist, because I fantasise about Australia being a cool, sunny, friendly, and healthy country. Three out of four ain't bad, but it ain't that good, either.
This winter there's a fork in the road, and we need to decide if we're going to be FIT or FAT. What's it going to be?
FIT because you exercise. Yes, your diet is important, but people who exercise are healthier in mind and body. Run, swim, or play sports. Perform push ups, squats, or head to Zumba. Your body was meant to be strong and to move with speed – so do it.
FAT because you don't eat fruit and vegetables. Last week, the Heart Foundation reported that “intake is dismal, with only 1 in 14 people (7 per cent) eating enough. One in four adults reported eating no vegetables, and more than 40 per cent had no fruit.” The report also states more Australians eat cake and biscuits on a daily basis than eat fruit. Shocking. And embarrassing.
FIT because you drink water. The earth and our bodies are made up of around 70 per cent water. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. A healthy body needs, wants, and begs for water … not 15 beers per day, energy drinks, or diet fizzy drinks.
FAT when you don't take responsibility. Obesity Australia released a superb yet staggering report in March on obesity with many alarming statistics, and its call to action was to follow the US approach by categorising obesity as a disease. Not sure I'm on board with that train of thought. Take responsibility for your body and health and this debate never even needs to take place.
FIT because you don't care what the temperature is this winter. Check out last winter's temperatures in places such as Chicago and Toronto, and understand that Australia does not get cold. Waking early, moving your body, and a morning workout (outdoors or indoors) will change your daily energy and life.
FAT because you lack patience. DVD, movies, information, and porn is at our fingertips. We want something? We get it NOW. Losing weight isn't like that. You must physically and mentally invest in the right lifestyle, then be patient. It takes months, maybe even a year – patience breeds healthiness.
FIT because sex is bloody fun. Too fat for some lovin'? No energy? Get fit for sex because sex is healthy, free, and it feels good – need I say more?
FAT when you don't plan a healthy week. Is winter Sunday time for curry delivery and eight episodes of HBO's latest and greatest? Sunday is a planning and shopping day. Planning healthy snacks, recipes, and clothes folded and ready for workouts takes a couple of hours and can change your whole week.
FIT because you sacrifice. Sometimes the couch beats a run, pizza beats chicken on quinoa, and a six-pack beats everything else. But you sacrifice and choose health because a healthy life is the most important thing you have going on.
FAT because of your snacks. What is the caloric and dollar cost of snacking at the convenience store? Huge. Snacks are fruit, carrot sticks, and green smoothies; not convenience store donuts, hot dogs, and chocolate milk.
The government's job is to keep Australia financially healthy. Our job is the same, with our bodies. Imagine the Australian economy if we had $120 billion to spend this year, and every year beyond?
When there's a fork in the road, sometimes putting down the fork is the only answer.
We can change the country's finances around - one workout and one salmon-and-veggies meal at a time.