IT’S really well documented how our NHS hospitals need to clean up their act over the food and drink they provide to patients and staff. NHS Chief Exec Simon Stevens has issued directives to his managers to reduce sugar and focus on the health of the staff. Last year, with our help, Tameside hospital in Manchester did something radically different and started a programme to change the eating behaviour of the staff.
They had magical results and now Fairfield Hospital in Bury has become the second hospital to start the Slimpod programme.
I’m thrilled that 100 nurses and staff have joined the Slimpod family in the past week as part of my mission to make the nation healthier and happier! So a big welcome to everyone.
Here’s me meeting some of the lovely Fairfield hospital team
Many of you will know it’s long been my dream to put the Slimpod programme to work in the NHS, where its potential for helping people transform their lives is enormous.
Now, hospital by hospital, that dream is coming true.
What’s most exciting is that Fairfield is going to follow the lead set by Tameside and change the food served in its restaurant, cutting down (possibly cutting out one day) sugary snacks and desserts and providing super-healthy Slimpod Specials for lunch.
This is the real key to tackling the obesity crisis. Change the food environment and the behavioural change needed to make healthy eating a permanent habit becomes so much easier.
One thing that alarmed me when I met the lovely people at Fairfield was how many of them had been on more than one diet and had lost the same two stone over and over again. They were bigger than they’d ever been.
Coincidentally, weight loss and the NHS was also the subject of a fascinating debate in Slimpod Club last week which raised some crucial points.
It was prompted by a post from Stephen D, who’d watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV programme Britain’s Fat Fight and wrote: “It was great to see what he is doing to tackle obesity, but one thing stood out for me; it was when he was working with GPs and putting scales in the surgery to help initiate the discussions about weight.
“Firstly I’m not sure this is the answer as per the advice from Slimpod (ditch the scales), but the main thing I took issue with was GPs saying a commercial weight loss programme like Weightwatchers or Slimming World is proven to be the best way to lose weight.
“I totally disagree and don’t think this should have been stated as fact on TV. We all know these don’t work in the long term. Anyone else agree?”
Wow! The comments flooded in, almost all backing Stephen’s point of view. Here’s just a tiny selection:
Lana wrote: “Totally agree! I also think people need to recognise that being overweight is more complex then just ‘you are a stupid person who doesn’t know what to eat.’ This is where Slimpod is great, it tackles self-esteem and emphasises health rather than a number on a scale.”
Karen wrote: “The problem we have in the Western world is grazing … breakfast, snack, lunch, snack etc . Our insulin levels never have the chance to lower. I am not just doing Slimpod. I am combining it with intermittent fasting and low carb.”
Tony wrote: “My close friend has lost 2.5 stone with SW and kept it off for 3 years. She’s a success story. But for everyone like her, I know dozens more who (including myself in the past) lose, gain, return, lose, gain, return…for years.
“That’s not good, unless you work for SW or WW! So much money spent on these organisations, chasing a dream. The other objection I have to SW, is that the friend still talks about milk, for example, as healthy A and cereal as healthy B.
“For goodness sakes, they’re cereal and milk! Food!!! And as for syns…that makes me so angry. How can anyone actually have a normal healthy attitude towards food if they don’t call it by it’s real name!
“And worse, labelling stuff as full of syns. Who can fail to see negative connotations in that??? And the altered spelling is no excuse! Makes my blood boil!!”
Carol wrote: “Some doctor’s surgeries actually give free Slimming World to overweight patients. Unfortunately it doesn’t help people to change their lifestyle.”
That last point sums up the work I’m doing with the NHS. Losing weight and keeping it off is all about lifestyle change.
The lovely staff at Fairfield and Tameside are really lucky that their employers recognise the important role management has to play by creating a healthier food environment.
Do please leave a comment below as I’d love to know what everyone thinks about the great debate that Stephen has sparked off.