NEW POLL SHOWS DIET & EXERCISE FORSAKEN AS AUSTRALIAN WOMEN JUGGLE FAMILY AND WORK
Australian women have forsaken healthy eating and physical activity in the face of overwhelming time pressures and are now paying the price with their waistlines, according to the results of the ULTRAslim Barriers to Weight-Loss Index released today.
The ULTRAslim Barriers to Weight-Loss Index polled more than 1000 women* and found a lack of time to plan and prepare healthy food was the most common reason for being overweight, affecting one in three women polled.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2007-08 National Health Survey (released May 2009), 62% of Australians and 55% of adult women are now overweight or obese.
"Australian women often combine paid work with home and parenting duties and their time is stretched thin. Unfortunately healthy eating and being physically active often falls by the wayside," says accredited Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist, Kathleen Alleaume who coaches individuals through her consultancy, The Right Balance, and via the ULTRAslim website.
While the Government's National Preventative Health Taskforce calls for tax breaks to gym memberships, fitness equipment and sports club membership, Alleaume believes educating mum is central in combating the nation's weight problem.
"Mum's on the run can often grab something quick without realising the meal contains high levels of fat and calories and lacks nutritional value", says Alleaume
Worse, ULTRAslim Barriers to Weight-Loss Index showed the availability of unhealthy food at work or home makes eating healthy eating even harder for 22% of respondents, while 50% of women broke their healthy eating regime on weekends to "treat themselves".
"Without time to plan a healthy diet, it's very easy to snack on the food closest to hand. If that is high in fat or calories, then weight gain is likely. Furthermore, if you are not planning your meals, then you may be unconsciously eating a diet too high in calories," says Alleaume.
Despite almost half of Australian adult women being overweight, the ULTRAslim Barriers to Weight-Loss Index found that 97% of those surveyed had tried dieting. Fifty percent of women claimed to exercise when starting a new diet, but "can never keep going". Only 42% of respondents regularly exercised.
"Ineffectual dieting can be disastrous for women who experience fluctuating weight loss and gain. They lose faith in their ability to keep extra weight off," says Alleaume who believes women should steer clear of fad diet crazes such as 'low carb' or 'detox' diets.
"Meal replacements are a great solution for many busy women* who find it hard to prepare healthy meals. The ULTRAslim range includes nutritionally balanced shakes that are simple to prepare, delicious and assist healthy weight loss," she says of the program, which replaces two meals per day so individuals also follow a calorie-controlled eating plan.
"It's really important for people who wish to lose weight to experience early success as they embark on a weight-loss program. Losing as little as half a kilo per week in the first six weeks can enhance the likelihood of sticking to the program," says Alleaume.
"The beauty of the Ultraslim menu plan is that it combines filling meal replacements, for quicker success, with the need to eat a calorie-controlled meals. Individuals learn how to balance their calorie intake to lose weight and improve health."
Cooking for a family also played a role in scuttling healthy eating of 40% of women who stated it is "hard to stick to a diet" when preparing family meals. Furthermore, 64% of women actually found their families and friends encouraged them to eat bad things, despite their good intentions.
"The preference of family members for take-away or fast food can be hugely damaging to women's attempts to lose weight," says Alleaume. "But, with mum still more likely to put dinner on the table for the family, it is crucial women understand the importance of planning healthy meals for themselves and their families."
To help individuals incorporate meal replacements into their daily routine, Alleaume recommends trying an ULTRAslim milkshake and a serving of cereal and fruit for breakfast, a milkshake and salad for lunch and prepare a healthy stir-fry for dinner.
"Individuals trying to lose weight are often notorious for a history of skipping breakfast. Enjoying a quick-to-prepare ULTRAslim shake breaks this bad habit and starts the day off well. Plus the family can still enjoy sitting down together to eat a healthy dinner," says Alleaume.
"Of course, women need to make sure they include at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week," she adds.
ULTRAslim products are available from Woolworths, Coles, and independent supermarkets nationally. For further information on ULTRAslim products or healthy eating meal plans, visit www.ultraslim.com.au.
*ULTRAslim research conducted online with www.femail.com.au.